Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Apple a Day

All the insane attention that Apple gets turns me off. This is especially true of Steve Jobs. No other technology executive gets the type of hype as Jobs, not even Larry Ellison of Oracle. Don’t get me wrong - I don’t hate Apple. I just feel that they are a company not a religion.
That said, the frenzy of angst that emanates from the business and technology press over Steve Jobs’ illness feels a bit hysterical to me. Mr. Jobs is a visionary and a masterful marketeer. He is also just one person in a very large company. All the Cassandras that are predicting the end of life as we know it, simply because Steve is in poor health, don’t understand Apple. Apple is not Jobs. It is a company which, by definition, is a collection of people. A company that just announced outstanding results. A company with depth in their bench.
Apple is successful for a lot of reasons, not just because of it’s present CEO. It did fine without him for awhile when he was sick a couple of times before. Instead, Apple excels at designing, packaging, and branding technology that mostly exists already. Touch screens, music players, smartphones, and graphics workstations all existed before Apple came out with their version. The difference was that their version has so much panache that it could be positioned as a luxury item and not simply gear. None of that will change if Steve Jobs leaves, even if it’s permanent.
The Cult of Jobs does help the company of course. It adds to an already fanatical brand loyalty that is the envy of every company on the planet. But it’s only the cherry on top of the sundae, not the ice cream. The Culture of Apple is much stronger.
I admit that I hate technology driven by little more than decent design and awesome marketing. It seems shallow to me. But then again, I’m a computer geek. I view technology differently, in an almost minimalist and functional way. For most people, Apple products are much more exciting, much more fun, much more memorable than the average geek gadget. This is the success of Apple.
No matter what happens, the Culture of Apple not the Cult of Jobs will be the driving force in the company’s success. Personally, if I were Steve Jobs, I would retire. I would harness my considerable talent and hoard of money to get well again. I’d spend time with my family and enjoy life. Steve, you’ve earned it. You have already passed on your business DNA to others at Apple. It will do fine.
So consider this a get well card to Steve Jobs. It doesn’t matter if he ever comes back to Apple. Getting well is what matters.

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