Losing the Visionary Does Not Mean Losing the Vision

Creative Commons - NC Licensed by Charis TsevisWe knew it had to happen some day but now its official -- “Steve Jobs has left the building.”  So now what? What does it mean for us (consumers) now that Apple, the innovation leader in consumer electronics, has lost their visionary and leader? Well, as you might guess, the responses to Job’s departure have run the gamut from -- "It will be business as usual at Apple" to "Apple is in trouble".  Regardless of what you hear from tech pundits, it's pretty simple to "do the math" on Apple's future if you think about it for a few minutes...

Lets face it, good leaders with a clear strong vision and business savvy are hard to find.  The loss of a visionary like Steve Jobs is huge for any company and is even more difficult  when the company’s corporate identify is so closely tied to the CEO. Think about it, its hard to think of Apple Computers without seeing a picture of Steve Jobs in your head (try it). There aren’t many companies like that and for those that are, it tends to be a *very* good thing...right up to the moment when the CEO departs.  After which, all hell breaks loose...stock prices plummet, tech pundits foretelling doom and gloom, people running in the streets! 

Well, its not exactly like that but you get the picture.  Why is this?  Perhaps it is because people fail to remember one important thing -- losing the Visionary does not mean losing the vision.

In all likelihood, for a company steeped in culture like Apple, Job’s near-term vision has probably already been firmly entrenched at Apple and the company now on a fixed/scripted golden path for the next two years, at least! 

So in terms of plans, products and services, I think we (consumers) are in good shape for at least the next couple of years...but the phrase that pays is "Execute, Execute, Execute." Having the roadmap is not the same thing as taking the journey, so it is vitally important for the remaining corporate leaders to embrace and execute the vision. If that happens, we’re in for several more years of Apple goodness!

So what happens after the first couple of years? Who knows? No one has a crystal ball but lets go back and do the math:

  1. Apple has *really* deep pockets (billion$)...seriously
  2. Apple has a balanced ecosystem (a desktop platform, a mobile platform and a set-top platform)
  3. Apple has a closed environment. They control the hardware/software supply and distribution channels.
  4. Apple has an extremely loyal customer base. 

Just doing the simple math 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10.  Apple is a 10!  Hmm, Ok I couldn’t resist that.  Seriously, even though the departure of a charismatic leader like Steve Jobs levels the playing field to some degree, it is important to remember that at the end of the day -- Apple is still at least as smart and capable as its competitors and is well positioned to continue their successful run on the industry.


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