There’s no denying that the most powerful force behind Apple is Steve Jobs. It’s his company. He’s built it and rescued it and made it the most influential company on the planet today.
I’m an Apple fan myself, from starting out on Macintosh computers in high school more than twenty years ago. And while it’s been fifteen years since my primary computer was a Mac, I still have my Classic II (black and white screen with a whopping 80MB hard drive!) at home, waiting for the time when I can display it in my office as a conversation starter.
It’s a shame that Steve is ill, and I sincerely hope he gets well again. But the world is wondering if Apple will be the same now that he’s not at the helm any longer.
The financial pundits are quick to tell us that Apple’s product pipeline is all about Steve for the next 18-24 months. Assuming that’s true, does that mean that Apple won’t start falling apart until then?
I hope not. Yet I wonder if Apple, the company Steve loves, has his DNA in it or not. In spite of all of his innovation, will Apple be the same company post-Steve?
I certainly hope both Steve and Apple survive. I know for sure that one day (a long time from now I hope) Steve won’t. The question is, how long will Apple survive without Steve?
There will always be superstar CEOs. Sometimes they just have what it takes to run a company while wooing the world. But is that the best business strategy?
Should CEOs be such a vital part of a company that their companies cannot exist without them? At what point is the line crossed?