Looking Ahead to The Lack of Steve Jobs’ Influence on Apple’s Next CEO

2 minute read
| Columns & Opinions

Tim Cook, during his 2018 commencement speech at Duke:

No big challenge has ever been solved, and no lasting improvement has ever been achieved, unless people dare to try something different. Dare to think different.

I was lucky to learn from someone who believed this deeply. Someone who knew that changing the world starts with “following a vision, not a path.” He was my friend and mentor, Steve Jobs.

Steve’s vision was that great ideas come from a restless refusal to accept things as they are. And those principles still guide us at Apple today.

[…]

Because Steve taught us that’s how change happens. And from him I learned to never be content with things as they are.

I believe this mindset comes naturally to young people…and you should never let go of that restlessness.

Or, as we’ve heard from others:

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

While many have argued that Apple has lost its footing without Steve Jobs at the helm, and some will say Apple hasn’t released any revolutionary new products, Apple’s success since Steve left-then-passed is undeniable. Many of us remember times where any non-Steve Jobs CEO at Apple was a complete and utter failure. That’s most certainly not been the case with Tim Cook.

Why is Tim Cook different? I think we see it here: Cook looked to Steve Jobs as his mentor. Cook clearly took every opportunity he could to learn from Steve and, while he has professed to never ask, “what would Steve do?”, he certainly embraces the philosophy and path that Steve laid out for Apple.

I’m reminded of the family business whose chance of success diminishes a little bit when the founder passes it along to his or her children, but then diminishes greatly when passed down a second time. The grandchildren-of-the-founder didn’t experience any bit of the grit that it took to stand that company up on its own two legs and support itself. And they’ve often grown up knowing that the company simply exists without their efforts, coddled by the spoils that company provides. That makes it difficult to fuel the fire that would enable one of those people to drive it forward.

By all rights it’s fairely safe to assume that Apple’s next CEO will not have been mentored by Steve Jobs. I’m not sure what that means for this company, but it will almost certainly mean a remarkable change.

That said–and I open this can of worms knowing I’m not digging into it right now–Scott Forstall doesn’t currently have a job. Maybe he’ll be open for the position when the time comes. He’s one of the youngest Steve Jobs mentees to walk the planet. Sure, many at Apple complained that Forstall was a bit of an asshole, but…he wouldn’t be the first asshole to take charge of that company, would he?

[Listen to today’s TMO Daily Observations where Bryan, Jeff, and I take this discussion to the next level]

10
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
7 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
Old UNIX Guyxmattinglywab95JamieLee Dronick Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Old UNIX Guy
Member
Old UNIX Guy

No, xmattingly, I’m not using the “many people are saying shtick” … I’m talking about the personal experiences of myself and others I know. Please don’t ever, EVER, accuse me of doing anything like what that delusional egomaniac who sits in the White House right now does. You can say anything else you want about me, but not that. Thank you. I’d ask you to please keep in mind that whether or not the current MBP’s are a success in the market and whether or not they are truly worthy of the “Pro” name are two completely unrelated topics. Again,… Read more »

xmattingly
Member
xmattingly

Look for someone who won’t let Apple ever again release the crap laptops that they have in 2016 and 2017 … whole lotta nerve to attach the name “Pro” to those. That’s an oversimplification. I have a 2016 13” (without touchbar) that was a total replacement for a 2009 Mac Pro. It’s screaming fast by comparison, long battery life, one of the nicest keyboards I’ve ever used and with a couple of 4K monitors I connect it to at home, a damn near perfect dual purpose mobile/desktop computer. My only beef is it tops out at 16gb of RAM, and… Read more »

Old UNIX Guy
Member
Old UNIX Guy

I have an iPhone 5s that is screaming fast compared to the computer that landed the Eagle on the moon in 1969, too … 😉 And seriously, if you’re happy with your 2016 MBP, great, I truly am glad for you. By counterpoint, I have a colleague who has a 2015 MBP … he was able to but a 2016 15″ MBP for a little over $1,000 at an auction … and he used it for a week and turned around and sold it and kept his 2015 MBP. For me, the keyboard is a non-starter, even if it actually… Read more »

xmattingly
Member
xmattingly

We’re using the “many people are saying” shtick as a fallback that a product is a failure, now? I can say with confidence that if the current form factor were truly a dud on the market, Apple’s most popular Mac would have been revised a year ago. Understand why some people don’t like the newer keyboard. It’s so damn flat that I had serious reservations about how well I’d be able to type on it; turned out to not be a problem at all. I’m heavy fingered also — I don’t mind the loudness. I know a guy who is… Read more »

xmattingly
Member
xmattingly

Scott Forstall doesn’t currently have a job. Maybe he’ll be open for the position when the time comes I would argue against Forstall. First of all, he’s responsible for “software that looks like things” tacky aesthetic that hasn’t aged well, at all. Ives swept in and cleaned up that mess, and I think his subtle simplicity for MacOS and iOS have both aged well. Also, Forstall was fired. Yes, you can draw a parallel to Jobs, but Forstall is nowhere near the visionary, not a founder and wouldn’t take responsibility – not for a product that wasn’t any sort of… Read more »

wab95
Member
wab95

Sure, many at Apple complained that Forstall was a bit of an asshole, but…he wouldn’t be the first asshole to take charge of that company, would he? What? To whom could you possibly be referring, Dave? The next CEO will be the first true test case of SJ’s and Apple’s efforts to create a sustainable company, in that, as you’ve pointed out, this will be the first CEO not handpicked by SJ. Don’t forget, Apple have created a university for their staff, one objective of which is to socialise them, or mould them if you prefer, into Apple’s culture, including… Read more »

Jamie
Member
Jamie

‘That’s most certainly not been the case with Tim Cook.’ Maybe not in terms of profit, but meeehhh – that’s not the only metric that matters, or even the most important, IMHO. I’m with Old Unix Guy. Apple is in a creative desert, has been since they used the last of Steve and his team’s juice. That may have more to do with their newer engineers lacking anything resembling vision as is the case with so many Valley companies these days, but it is what it is. I’m really sorry, but today’s Apple, outside of said dubious metrics, is a… Read more »

Old UNIX Guy
Member
Old UNIX Guy

Look for someone who won’t let Apple ever again release the crap laptops that they have in 2016 and 2017 … whole lotta nerve to attach the name “Pro” to those. And – as an aside – I have a colleague who’s been using a 2015 15″ MBP for several years. He was able to pick up a 2016 15″ MBP for a little over $1,000 at a auction so he did … and now he’s selling it and keeping his 2015 model! But back to the subject at hand … look for someone who won’t ever let Apple release… Read more »

geoduck
Member
geoduck

It is a very good question. TC has been on the job what 8 years ? I’m sure he’s putting a succession plan in place and likely looking for someone at least a decade younger if not more. So who then? The smartest thing Microsoft did was to NOT so with another of Bill’s Boys for the third CEO. After Balmer they went with Sedila, someone a decade younger that spent his career working with the fruits of Gate’s and Co’s labour. So who will be the next Apple CEO? Likely someone not even on anyone’s radar right now. Someone… Read more »

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

So who will be the next Apple CEO? Likely someone not even on anyone’s radar right now. Someone who’s been in the trenches seeing the industry from the ground level. Someone who knows design but is strong enough to stand up to the designer and say no. Someone who has a vision for where the industry should go.

Don’t ask me I have no bloody idea who.

Look for someone standing confidently at the intersection of Technology and Liberal Arts