Schlagwort-Archive: Steve Jobs

What Apple has lost—and gained—since Steve Jobs died 10 years ago

By multiple standards, the company is doing better than even an optimist would have predicted in 2011. But it still has a Steve Jobs-shaped hole in it.

What Apple has lost—and gained—since Steve Jobs died 10 years ago
Fans use smartphones to photograph a makeshift shrine in London after Steve Jobs’s death from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56 on October 5, 2011. [

Ten years ago today, I happened to be attending a trade show in Tokyo when a tech journalist friend back in California phoned to ask if I’d heard Steve Jobs had died. I hadn’t: Apple had just made the sad announcement and it hadn’t yet overtaken Twitter, news sites, and—it would soon seem—every other form of media.

Rather than continuing with my trip as planned, I spent the rest of it writing multiple pieces about Apple’s cofounder and his impact on his company and the world. Throughout, I did my best to avoid coming to any snap judgments about what an Apple without Jobs would look like. Even a year after Jobs’s death, I marked its anniversary by arguing that it was too soon to judge how Apple was faring, in part because the company was still releasing products that he’d had a hand in shaping.

Nine years after that, I have no excuses. Tim Cook has been Apple’s CEO for more than a fifth of the company’s history. Comparing his Apple to Steve Jobs’s legacy remains tricky, since we’ll never know how Jobs would have handled the same decisions Cook has made. But since it’s no longer premature to ponder such matters, I’m going to give it a shot. And I’m going to divide my musings into four broad categories.

Apple as a business

This one’s easy.


When Jobs died, some who weighed in about Apple’s future—including Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a close Jobs friend—expected the worst. You didn’t have to think Jobs was irreplaceable to guess that Cook would have his hands full dealing with threats such as the growing popularity of phones based on Google’s Android operating system.

Still, many observers concluded that Apple stood a good chance of flourishing under Cook. Hedge fund manager James Altucher, who had already predicted that Apple would be the first $1 trillion company, doubled down on the prognostication after Jobs’s passing.

But even Altucher didn’t talk about Apple becoming the first company to reach a valuation of $2 trillion, a feat it achieved less than nine years after Jobs’s death. Apple is now worth more than six times what it was on October 5, 2011. As the smartphone market matured, Cook turned out to be one of the best CEOs in the history of business, adroitly keeping Apple growing through strategies such as bolstering its services portfolio.

From a Wall Street perspective, the unanswerable question that feels most pertinent is not “would Apple have been more successful if Steve Jobs was still CEO?” Instead, it’s more like “would an Apple run by Steve Jobs have matched Tim Cook’s history-making financial results?”

The next big thing(s)

For the first year or two of Tim Cook’s tenure as Apple CEO, some pundits helpfully explained that Jobs had unveiled an epoch-shifting gadget every couple of years—and that Cook would be a failure if he didn’t continue that pace. As I wrote back then, this was silly. For one thing, even Jobs didn’t change history with anything like the frequency that people thought he did. For another, Cook deserved more than two years to prove how much vision Apple would have under his leadership.

Enough time has passed that it’s now fair to compare Cook’s biggest products to Jobs landmarks such as the Apple II, Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad. Apples biggest all-new product since 2011 has unquestionably been the Apple Watch, which is now worn by 100 million people, including a third of iPhone users in the U.S. Judged purely as a revenue generator, the smartwatch deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Jobs’s signature products: It’s a bigger business than the iPod was at its height.

The other obvious megahit of the Cook years are AirPods, which defined the modern wireless-earbud category and still lead it; they’re as iconic as wired iPod earbuds once were—and vastly more profitable for Apple.

Any Apple rival would salivate at the prospect of creating a business as successful as the Apple Watch and AirPods have been. Still, neither is culturally transformative in the way that Jobs’s biggest successes were. Rather than changing everything about our relationship with technology in one or two fell swoops, the Apple Watch has done well because Apple has patiently took something that initially felt like a tiny computer for your wrist and refocused it on fitness and health. Meanwhile, AirPods, delightful though they are, are ultimately an accessory, at least for the time being. And there’s a limit to how much an accessory can reshape human life.

But if Apple hasn’t managed to shift any epochs lately, that’s understandable. Neither has anyone else in the consumer electronics business:

  • On the smartphone front, pricey folding phones from Samsung and Microsoft cater to a niche that doesn’t feel like it’s about to explode.
  • Amazon’s Alexa has done more than Apple’s Siri to propel AI-infused voice interfaces to prominence, but it hasn’t rendered smartphones any less important.
  • Thanks to Facebook’s Oculus, virtual reality has made great strides, but a heck of a lot of people still haven’t strapped on a headset even once.
  • On the consumer hardware front, augmented reality has inspired some notorious flops; its successes, such as Pokémon Go and Google Lens, have gained traction by leveraging smartphones rather than replacing them.
  • From Facebook and Twitter to TikTok, social media has changed the world over the past decade, but it feels less like an invention than a virus that got out of control.
  • You might make the case that Elon Musk’s Tesla has had an Apple-like impact on the automotive industry, but the electrification of passenger vehicles remains a story in progress.

It’s even clearer in retrospect than it was during Jobs’s life that it might be impossible to top the iPhone by coming up with an even more popular, profitable gizmo. Had Jobs gotten another decade as Apple CEO, he might have chosen to pour most of the company’s energy into the evolution and expansion of the iPhone and iPad—just as Cook’s Apple has done. Incremental improvements to existing products, after all, were just as key to Jobs’s success as the great leaps forward.

One other thing: All evidence suggests that Apple hasn’t given up on trying to reinvent additional product categories. It’s just tackling ones that are hyper-ambitious even by its own standards—such as VR/AR headsets and cars—and is happy to chip away in private rather than hype stuff that won’t appear for years. Which means that it’s still too early to declare that we’ve seen the last history-making new Apple product.

The little things

Steve Jobs was not an inventor so much as an editor. None of the products he’s remembered for were the first in their category, and every one of them bulged with work done by people who had skills that Jobs did not possess. But he had a near-superhuman ability to know what to put into a product and what to leave out. He could make the seams between hardware and software nearly vanish. He made hard decisions that were often questioned, but almost always prescient and—eventually—widely imitated.

No single person has taken on that responsibility in the Cook era, and it shows. Compared to earlier days, the company has released more than its share of half-baked products, such as 2013’s iOS 7, whose newly minimalist look felt like a rough draft. In 2014, it had to create a $10,000 Apple Watch to learn that such a device made no sense. Instead of making touch-screen Macs, it replaced the MacBook Pro’s function keys with a skinny touchscreen in 2016, seemingly making very few people happy. Right now, the odd changes which the company decided to make to its Safari browser—and has only partially unwound—seem like an instance of inadequate editing of its raw ideas.

In all these cases, I’m not going to say “Steve Jobs would never have allowed that,” because . . . well, he might have. His own mistakes were often doozies. But present-day Apple does feel like it’s lost the final polish that Jobs gave almost everything.

Still, even if Apple errs in public more than it once did, it usually gets to a good place eventually. In the post-Jobs era, the iPhone lineup has had some false starts—remember the proudly plasticky iPhone 5c?—and grew confusing as Apple added more and more variants. But the four new iPhone 13 models—and the still-available iPhone SE—make for the most comprehensible iPhone line since the days when it consisted of a grand total of one phone. And by making the new iPhones slightly thicker and heavier to allow for larger, longer-lasting batteries, Apple abandoned Jobs’s thinner-is-better instincts to achieve a sensible goal. That’s an infinitely smarter act of editing than asking “what would Steve do?”

Steve Jobs the industry presence

We didn’t just lose Steve Jobs the business executive, strategic thinker, and product polisher 10 years ago. We lost the guy who may have been the single most memorable personality the consumer-tech business ever produced:

When most of us envision Jobs, what we see is the man onstage at the product presentations so inextricably associated with him that they were known as “Stevenotes.” Even if you steadfastly refused to get sucked into his reality distortion field, these demos were remarkably compelling. It wasn’t just because he was one of the best explainers the tech industry has ever seen, or even because he occasionally did reveal stuff that blew your socks off. Up there on stage—often by himself—he came off as human, even vulnerable, in a way that few business executives would choose to make themselves. That was true all along, and even more so in his final years as each appearance was an opportunity for public speculation about his health.

For a few years after Jobs’s death, Apple product launches were overseen by Cook and other longtime Jobs associates, and felt like Stevenotes that had been stripped of their most important ingredient. As people noted with increasing frequency that the same handful of white guys represented Apple at every event, the company began to switch things up, calling on a larger, more diverse group of Apple employees to divvy up the presenting. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to virtual events, the company ventured even further away from the Stevenote approach. Even if it returns to live product launches in 2022, it seems likely that high-production-value canned videos will play a larger part than when almost everything that mattered was happening in front of a live audience.

Steve Jobs is in no danger of being forgotten. But more and more, when Apple does things that he wouldn’t have, it’s not a sign that the company has lost its way. Instead, it’s evidence that Apple is still restlessly looking forward rather than obsessing over its past. And what could be more Steve Jobs-like than that?


Apple will be around for a long time. But the next Apple just isn’t Apple.

Apple, the iPhone, and the Innovator’s Dilemma

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

If you re-read the first few chapters of The Innovator’s Dilemma and you insert “Apple” every time Clayton Christensen mentions “a company,” a certain picture emerges: Apple is a company on the verge of being disrupted, and the next great idea in tech and consumer electronics will not materialize from within the walls of its Cupertino spaceship.

The Innovator’s Dilemma, of course, is about the trap that successful companies fall into time and time again. They’re well managed, they’re responsive to their customers, and they’re market leaders. And yet, despite doing everything right, they fail to see the next wave of innovation coming, they get disrupted, and they ultimately fail.

In the case of Apple, the company is trapped by its success, and that success is spelled “iPhone.”

Take, for example, Christensen’s description of the principles of good management that inevitably lead to the downfall of successful companies: “that you should always listen to and respond to the needs of your best customers, and that you should focus investments on those innovations that promise the highest returns.”

Molly Wood (@mollywood) is an Ideas contributor at WIRED and the host and senior editor of Marketplace Tech, a daily national radio broadcast covering the business of technology. She has covered the tech industry at CNET, The New York Times, and in various print, television, digital and audio formats for nearly 20 years. (Ouch.)

Then think about the iPhone, which, despite some consumer-unfriendly advances like the lost headphone jack and ever-changing charging ports, has also been adjusted and tweaked and frozen by what customers want: bigger screens, great cameras, ease of use, and a consistent interface. And the bulk of Apple’s investment since 2007, when the iPhone came out, has been about maintaining, developing, and selling this one device.

In the last quarter of 2018, the iPhone accounted for $51 billion of Apple’s $84 billion in revenue. Its success, the economic halo around it, and its seeming invincibility since its launch have propelled Apple to heights few companies have ever imagined. But the device will also be its undoing.

Here’s what happens when you have a product that successful: You get comfortable. More accurately, you get protective. You don’t want to try anything new. The new things you do try have to be justified in the context of that precious jewel—the “core product.”

So even something like Apple’s Services segment—the brightest non-iPhone spot in its earnings lately—mostly consists of services that benefit the iPhone. It’s Apple Music, iTunes, iCloud—and although Apple doesn’t break out its numbers, the best estimate is that a third or more of its Services revenue is driven by the 30 percent cut it takes from … yep, apps downloaded from the App Store.

The other bright spot in the company’s latest earnings report is its Wearables, Home, and Accessories category. Here again, Apple doesn’t break out the numbers, but the wearables part of that segment is where all the growth is, and that means Apple Watches. And you know what’s still tied nice and tight to the iPhone? Apple Watches.

Even Apple’s best-selling accessories are most likely AirPods, which had a meme-tastic holiday season and are, safe to say, used mostly in conjunction with iPhones. (I’d bet the rest of the accessories dollars are coming from dongles and hubs, since there’s nary a port to be found on any of its new MacBooks.) As for stand-alones, its smart speakers are reportedly great, but they’re not putting a dent in Amazon or Google, by latest count. Apple TV, sure. Fine. But Roku shouldn’t have been embedded in a TV before Apple was.

And none of these efforts count as a serious attempt at diversification.

You may be tempted to argue that Apple is, in fact, working on other projects. The Apple acquisition rumors never cease; nor do the confident statements that the company definitely, absolutely, certainly has a magical innovation in the works that will spring full grown like Athena from the forehead of Zeus any day now. I’m here to say, I don’t think there’s a nascent warrior goddess hiding in there.

Witness Apple’s tottering half-steps into new markets that are unrelated to the iPhone: It was early with a voice assistant but has stalled behind Amazon and even Google Assistant. It wasn’t until last year that the company hired a bona fide machine-learning expert in John Giannandrea, former head of search and AI at Google—and he didn’t get put on the executive team until December 2018. That’s late.

There’s its half-hearted dabble in self-driving technology that was going to be a car, then became software, then became 200 people laid off. Its quailing decade-long attempt to build a streaming service would be sort of comical if there weren’t clearly so much money being thrown around, and so tentatively at that. Rumors of its launch go back as far as 2015, although now it’s supposed to launch in April—this time they mean it.

But even if the streaming service actually arrives, can it really compete against YouTube, PlayStation, Sling, DirecTV, Hulu, and just plain old Netflix? Apple’s original programming is also apparently “not coming as soon as you think.” Analysts are, at this point, outright begging Apple to buy a studio or other original content provider, just to have something to show against Netflix and Amazon originals.

Of course, lots of companies innovate through acquisition, and everyone loves to speculate about what companies Apple might buy. Rumors have ranged from GoPro to BlackBerry to Tesla to the chipmaker ARM. Maybe Netflix. Maybe Tesla. Maybe Disney. Maybe Wired. (Apple News is a hugely successful product … mostly on iPhones, of course.) But at every turn, Apple has declined to move, other than its $3 billion Beats buy in 2014 (which it appears to be abandoning, or cannibalizing, these days).

Now, let me be clear, once again. None of this is to suggest that Apple is doing anything wrong. Indeed, according to Christensen, one of the hallmarks of the innovator’s dilemma is the company’s success, smooth operations, great products, and happy customers. That’s one of the things that makes it a dilemma: A company doesn’t realize anything’s wrong, because, well, nothing is. Smartphone sales may be slowing, but Apple is still a beloved brand, its products are excellent, its history and cachet are unmatched. But that doesn’t mean it has a plan to survive the ongoing decline in global smartphones sales.

The Innovator’s Dilemma does say an entrenched company can sometimes pull out of the quicksand by setting up a small, autonomous spinoff that has the power to move fast, pursue markets that are too small to move the needle for a company making $84 billion a quarter, and innovate before someone else gets there first.

Well, Apple has no autonomous innovation divisions that I know of, and the guys in charge are the same guys who have been in charge for decades: Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, Jony Ive—all have been associated with Apple since the late ’80s or ’90s. (I mean, has there ever really been a time without Jony Ive?)

You see what I’m saying here: brilliant team with a long record of execution and unparalleled success. Possibly not a lot of fresh ideas.

And then there’s the final option for innovation, one that Apple has availed itself of many times in the past. As Steve Jobs often said, quoting Picasso: “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” The iPod was born of existing MP3 players; the iPhone improved on clunky, ugly smartphones already on the market. The MacOS and the computer mouse were developed to maturity (yes, with permission) after being invented at Xerox PARC.

So maybe Apple will find the hottest thing in tech that’s still slightly unknown and come out with a better version. But is there such a thing as a way-sexier cloud computing business?

I guess it’s possible that the rumored virtual- and augmented-reality headset that Apple is supposed to release in 2020 will take the world by storm and popularize VR in a way that no one imagined, and like AirPods, will take a look that’s painfully dorky on the surface and turn it into a not-quite-ironic must-have statement of affluence and cool. It’s happened before. But this time, I think the company will get beaten to that punch—or whatever punch is next. Apple will be around for a long time. But the next Apple just isn’t Apple.


Apple’s Shyness around Apple Watch

Apple Doesn’t Want You to Know How Many Watches It Sold

A display case containing the Apple Watch Sport at the company's flagship store in San Francisco, on June 17, 2015.

Top Dogs The Secret to become an ‚extreme success‘

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson


The Secret to become an extreme success?

Extreme success results from an extreme personality and comes at the cost of many other things. Extreme success is different from what I suppose you could just consider ’success‘, so know that you don’t have to be Richard or Elon to be affluent and accomplished and maintain a great lifestyle. Your odds of happiness are better that way. But if you’re extreme, you must be what you are, which means that happiness is more or less beside the point. These people tend to be freaks and misfits who were forced to experience the world in an unusually challenging way. They developed strategies to survive, and as they grow older they find ways to apply these strategies to other things, and create for themselves a distinct and powerful advantage. They don’t think the way other people think. They see things from angles that unlock new ideas and insights. Other people consider them to be somewhat insane.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

If you’re not obsessed, then stop what you’re doing and find whatever does obsess you. It helps to have an ego, but you must be in service to something bigger if you are to inspire the people you need to help you (and make no mistake, you will need them). That ’something bigger‘ prevents you from going off into the ether when people flock round you and tell you how fabulous you are when you aren’t and how great your stuff is when it isn’t.

Don’t pursue something because you „want to be great“. Pursue something because it fascinates you, because the pursuit itself engages and compels you. Extreme people combine brilliance and talent with an insane work ethic, so if the work itself doesn’t drive you, you will burn out or fall by the wayside or your extreme competitors will crush you and make you cry.

Follow your obsessions until a problem starts to emerge, a big meaty challenging problem that impacts as many people as possible, that you feel hellbent to solve or die trying. It might take years to find that problem, because you have to explore different bodies of knowledge, collect the dots and then connect and complete them.

It helps to have superhuman energy and stamina. If you are not blessed with godlike genetics, then make it a point to get into the best shape possible. There will be jet lag, mental fatigue, bouts of hard partying, loneliness, pointless meetings, major setbacks, family drama, issues with the Significant Other you rarely see, dark nights of the soul, people who bore and annoy you, little sleep, less sleep than that. Keep your body sharp to keep your mind sharp. It pays off.

Learn to handle a level of stress that would break most people.

Don’t follow a pre-existing path, and don’t look to imitate your role models. There is no „next step“. Extreme success is not like other kinds of success; what has worked for someone else, probably won’t work for you. They are individuals with bold points of view who exploit their very particular set of unique and particular strengths. They are unconventional, and one reason they become the entrepreneurs they become is because they can’t or don’t or won’t fit into the structures and routines of corporate life. They are dyslexic, they are autistic, they have ADD, they are square pegs in round holes, they piss people off, get into arguments, rock the boat, laugh in the face of paperwork. But they transform weaknesses in ways that create added advantage — the strategies I mentioned earlier — and seek partnerships with people who excel in the areas where they have no talent whatsoever.

They do not fear failure — or they do, but they move ahead anyway. They will experience heroic, spectacular, humiliating, very public failure but find a way to reframe until it isn’t failure at all. When they fail in ways that other people won’t, they learn things that other people don’t and never will. They have incredible grit and resilience.They are unlikely to be reading stuff like this. (This is *not* to slam or criticize people who do; I love to read this stuff myself.) They are more likely to go straight to a book: perhaps a biography of Alexander the Great or Catherine the Great or someone else they consider Great. Surfing the ‚Net is a deadly timesuck, and given what they know their time is worth — even back in the day when technically it was not worth that — they can’t afford it.

I could go on, it’s a fascinating subject, but you get the idea. I wish you luck and strength and perhaps a stiff drink should you need it.

Further Reading:



Doing Business the Steve Jobs Way


Steve Jobs started out as an asshole — but, a new book says, he got better.

That, in a nutshell, is the takeaway from Becoming Steve Jobs, a new biography of the late Apple CEO, which tries to provide nuance to the oft-told story of Jobs‘ professional rise at Apple, including the wilderness years that followed after being pushed out and his triumphant return.

The book’s authors, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzli, suggest that much of Jobs’s professional image as a mercurial manager was shaped by „stereotypes that had been created way back in the 1980s,“ before he and Apple retreated from the press. „Perhaps that’s why the posthumous coverage reflected those stereotypes,“ the authors speculate.

Between that initial wave of press coverage and his return to Apple, Jobs‘ personality and management style shifted in subtle and not so subtle ways as a result of the struggles of NeXT, his follow-up effort, as well as inspiration from the creatives at Pixar, which he acquired and later sold to Disney. Just as importantly, the book claims Jobs was changed by falling in love with his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, and starting a family.

Some elements of Jobs‘ management style stayed consistent, however.

He continued to push for „outrageous goals,“ as the authors put it, and he could still be severe and argumentative with colleagues. Yet the book suggests that his level of discipline, empathy and flexibility increased over the years to help compensate for his negative traits.

The book provides good lessons for all leaders, insofar as Jobs has become a widely observed case study for the archetype of the genius founder. The book highlights the sometimes contradictory leadership traits of a man who is quoted in the book as saying, „I didn’t want to be a businessman,“ and then went on to become arguably the most influential businessman of his generation. Here are the most revealing anecdotes.

Even visionaries need to hear realtalk

While Jobs often acted like someone who thought he knew best, the CEO nonetheless sought out mentors in the tech industry, including the founders of Intel, Hewlett Packard, Polaroid, National Semiconductor and others. Some, like Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, would remain lifelong advisors, sometimes to the exhaustion of the mentors:

Unable to sleep that night, Steve called his friend and confidant Andy Grove at 2 a.m. Steve told Grove that he was torn about whether or not to return as Apple’s CEO, and wound his way through his tortured deliberations. As the conversation dragged on, Grove, who wanted to get back to sleep, broke in and growled: „Steve, look. I don’t give a shit about Apple. Just make up your mind.“

Steve Jobs, the father figure

At NeXT, the computer company he launched after leaving Apple, Jobs was guilty of micromanaging, making impulsive bad hires and is described as an „equal-opportunity abuser“ who yelled at engineers as well as executives. But he also tried to be more of a „father figure,“ according to one former employee quoted in the book. His paternal instincts coincided with his own first attempt at being a father to the daughter he’d had out of wedlock and publicly rejected.

„Steve hosted annual ‚family picnics‘ for his employees in Menlo Park. They were kid-oriented Saturday affairs, featuring clowns, volleyball, burgers and hot dogs, and even hokey events like sack races,“ according to the book.

Later, at Pixar, Jobs gave a top filmmaker a small bonus and demanded he use it to buy a better car. „It has to be safe, and I have to approve it,“ Jobs is quoted as saying.

When he returned to Apple, Job is compelled to cut much of the staff and reorganize, but he expresses grief in a way that the brash young Jobs may not have.

„I still do it because that’s my job,“ Jobs is quoted as telling the authors. „But when I look at people when this happens, I also think of them as being five years old, kind of like I look at my kids. And I think that that could be me coming home to tell my wife and kids that I just got laid off. Or that it could be one of my kids in twenty years. I never took it so personally before.“

No reviews, little praise for direct reports

Those who worked for Jobs could expect an earful from the executive when dealing with him on any given day, but they rarely received formal reviews and feedback. „Steve didn’t believe in reviews,“ one former employee says. „He disliked all the formality. His feeling was, ‚I give you feedback all the time, so what do you need a review for?“

Likewise, he was less than generous in doling out praise to employees. Instead, he would show it by taking the best employees on walks. „Those walks mattered,“ recalled another employee. „You’d think to yourself, ‚Steve is a rock star,‘ so getting quaity time felt like an honor in some ways.“

Jobs‘ work/life balance

Early in his career, Jobs burned the midnight oil in the office along with much of his team, but by the time he returned to Apple, he was more focused on trying to balance his work with his new family.

Rather than hover over the shoulders of star engineers and programmers, he could do much of his work via email. So he would make it home for dinner almost every night, spend time with Laurene and the kids, and then work at his computer late into the night…

On many nights, Jobs would work alongside his wife, Laurene, at home. As his wife tells the authors, „Neither of us had much of a social life. It was never that important to us.“

Make time for spirituality and meditation

Some have wondered over the years how a man who famously went off to India and embraced Buddhism could reconcile that with running the largest corporation in the world. As it turns out, he continued to meditate until he and his wife had kids, which cut down what little free time he had left. In fact, according to the book, Jobs „arranged for a Buddhist monk by the name of Kobun Chino Otogawa to meet with him once a week at his office to counsel him on how to balance his spiritual sense with his business goals.“

Embrace life

After his first cancer surgery in 2004, Jobs‘ leadership style changed again. He had more sense of „urgency“ to pursue innovative products, and less time and energy to handle other business issues, ranging from human resources to manufacturing.

„When he came back from that surgery he was on a faster clock,“ Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO, tells the authors. „The company is always running on a fast-moving treadmill that doesn’t stop. But when he came back there was an urgency about him. I recognized it immediately.“

Perhaps that’s why he and his team at Apple went on to accomplish so much in the seven years he had left.

Apple Watch Event: Uhrsache (sic!) und Wirkung

Der Spiegel Online analysiert knallhart:

„Erst eingehende Tests werden zeigen, ob die Benutzung der neuen Uhren tatsächlich so intuitiv und angenehm ist, wie Cook und sein Team das bei der Vorstellung ein ums andere Mal betont haben. Sicher ist, dass Apple bis heute einen Vertrauensvorsprung hat, wenn es um die Einführung neuer Geräte geht. Steve Jobs versprach einst: Wenn wir etwas anfassen, dann machen wir es so, dass die Kunden es lieben werden. Löst die Apple Watch dieses Versprechen ein, dann kann sie einmal mehr einer Gerätekategorie zum Durchbruch verhelfen, bei denen andere die undankbare Vorreiterrolle übernommen haben. So wie das bei MP3-Playern, Touchscreen-Handys oder tragbaren Touch-Computern schon der Fall war.“

Und subsummiert, die Ängste, aller Beteiligten, Mitarbeiter, Fan-Boys, überzeugten Innovationsliebhabern, und Aktionären:

„Erweist sich die Apple Watch aber als überflüssiger Schnickschnack, als allzu klobiges Anhängsel mit zu wenig echtem Mehrwert für seinen Preis, dann kann die Uhr das Gegenteil bewirken: Wenn der Konzern nur einmal unter Beweis stellt, dass nicht jedes seiner Produkte automatisch zum unverzichtbaren Alltagsgegenstand wird, könnte das der Beginn eines rapiden Abstiegs werden.“



Spiegel Online resümmiert:

„Die Ankündigung mit der vermutlich nachhaltigsten Wirkung aber ist die zugleich am wenigsten spektakuläre. Der berührungslose Bezahldienst Apple Pay ist einmal mehr eine aufpolierte Kopie bereits im Markt befindlicher Angebote, man denke nur an Google Wallet. Android-Handys mit NFC-Chips gibt es längst, das Zahlen per Handy aber hat sich bislang nirgends durchgesetzt. Apple aber hat im Smartphone-Bereich in den USA bis heute einen Marktanteil von 40 Prozent – und Cooks Mannschaft hat es offenbar verstanden, sich mit vielen großen Laden- und Restaurantketten zu verbünden.

Schafft Apple es, mit seinen neuen Geräten schnell große Kundenzahlen zu erreichen – und die Geschichte legt nahe, dass das klappen könnte, – könnte mit einem Mal auch das Zahlen mit dem Handy – oder der Uhr – zur Alltagsgeste werden.

Für Ladenketten könnte die Anschaffung der entsprechenden Hardware mit einer ausreichend großen, zahlungskräftigen Klientel plötzlich doch interessant werden, und genau das sind Apples Kunden. Und stehen die Scanner erst einmal an den Ladenkassen, sind auch die NFC-Chips in allen anderen Handyfabrikaten plötzlich wieder im Spiel. Wenn das geschieht, wenn unsere digitalen Alltagsbegleiter auch zu unserem bevorzugten Zahlungsmittel werden, ist das zwar bequem – es bringt aber auch völlig neue Datenschutz– und Sicherheitsprobleme mit sich.“

Derstandard ergänzt:

„Das US-Magazin „Fortune“ würdigte Cook seinerzeit als „das Genie hinter Steve“. Als Zuständiger für das operative Geschäft sorgte er dafür, dass nach Umsetzung der kühnen Visionen schwarze Zahlen in den Büchern standen. Jetzt muss Cook mit der Computeruhr beweisen, dass sein Apple die gleiche visionäre Kraft wie zu Zeiten von Jobs hat. Dieses Image hilft dem Konzern, weltweit Millionen seiner teuren Premium-Smartphones und Tablets zu verkaufen.“

Original-Zitate nachzulesen bei: und

Auf den Spuren von Steve Jobs: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”

Auf den Spuren von Steve Jobs: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”












Steve Jobs erzählt in seiner Rede drei Geschichten, in der deutschen Übersetzung, am Ende des Artikels könnt ihr euch das Video zur Rede im Originalton ansehen.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish” – “Bleibt hungrig, bleibt verrückt”

Es ist mir eine grosse Ehre, zur Feier Ihres Abschlusses an einer der besten Universitäten der Welt heute zu Ihnen sprechen zu dürfen. Ich habe keinen Studienabschluss. Aber ich muss sagen, für mich kommt dieser Tag einem Abschluss sehr nahe. Ich möchte Ihnen heute drei Geschichten aus meinem Leben erzählen. Nichts Besonderes, einfach drei Geschichten.

Die erste handelt davon, eine Verbindungslinie zwischen den Punkten zu ziehen.

Ich habe das Studium am Reed College schon nach sechs Monaten hingeworfen, blieb aber noch anderthalb Jahre, bevor ich endgültig ging. Warum eigentlich?

Das reicht zurück in die Zeit vor meiner Geburt. Meine biologische Mutter war eine junge, unverheiratete Studentin, die beschlossen hatte, mich zur Adoption freizugeben. Ihr war es sehr wichtig, dass ich von studierten Leuten adoptiert würde. Ein Rechtsanwalt und seine Frau waren bereit, alles wurde in die Wege geleitet. Doch in letzter Minute erklärten die beiden, dass ihnen ein Mädchen lieber sei. Meine Eltern, die auf einer Warteliste standen, erhielten mitten in der Nacht einen Anruf: «Wir haben ganz überraschend einen kleinen Jungen, sind Sie interessiert?» Sie antworteten: «Ja, natürlich.» Meine biologische Mutter fand später heraus, dass meine Mutter keinen Uni-Abschluss und mein Vater keinen Highschool-Abschluss hatte. Sie weigerte sich, die Adoptionspapiere zu unterschreiben. Erst ein paar Monate später lenkte sie ein, als meine Eltern ihr versprachen, dass ich eines Tages studieren würde.

Und siebzehn Jahre später war es dann tatsächlich so weit. Aber naiverweise suchte ich mir ein College, das fast so teuer wie Stanford war, und alle Ersparnisse meiner Eltern, einfacher Leute, gingen für mein Studium drauf. Nach sechs Monaten wusste ich nicht mehr, wozu das alles gut sein sollte. Ich hatte keine Ahnung, was ich mit meinem Leben anfangen wollte und inwiefern mir das College helfen würde, eine Antwort zu finden. Und gab dabei das ganze Geld aus, das meine Eltern in ihrem Leben zusammengespart hatten. Ich beschloss, das Studium abzubrechen und darauf zu vertrauen, dass schon alles gut werde. Damals war ich verunsichert, aber aus heutiger Sicht muss ich sagen, dass es eine der besten Entscheidungen war, die ich je getroffen habe. Kaum hatte ich beschlossen, mein Studium hinzuschmeissen, brauchte ich die ganzen uninteressanten Sachen nicht mehr zu lernen und konnte in die Kurse gehen, die mich interessierten.

Es war alles andere als romantisch. Ich schlief bei Freunden auf dem Fussboden, weil ich kein Zimmer im Wohnheim hatte. Von dem Pfand, das ich für leere Cola-Flaschen bekam, kaufte ich mir etwas zu essen, und jeden Sonntagabend bin ich zehn Kilometer durch die ganze Stadt gelaufen, um einmal in der Woche im Hare-Krishna-Tempel eine anständige Mahlzeit zu bekommen. Ich fühlte mich wohl. Und vieles, was mir dank Neugier und Intuition über den Weg kam, erwies sich später als unschätzbar. Um nur ein Beispiel zu nennen:

Am Reed College gab es damals den vielleicht besten Kalligrafie-Kurs im ganzen Land. Jedes Plakat auf dem Campus, jedes Etikett war schön beschriftet. Weil ich ausgestiegen war und nicht an den üblichen Pflichtkursen teilnehmen musste, beschloss ich, mich mit Kalligrafie zu beschäftigen. Ich erfuhr etwas über Serifenschriften und serifenlose Schriften, über die unterschiedlichen Zwischenräume zwischen verschiedenen Buchstabenkombinationen, ich lernte, was wirklich gute Typografie ausmacht. Das war schön, historisch informativ und von einer Ästhetik, der man in den Naturwissenschaften nicht begegnet. Ich war fasziniert.

Von einer praktischen Anwendung schien das meilenweit entfernt zu sein. Aber zehn Jahre später, als wir den ersten Macintosh-Computer entwickelten, war alles wieder da. Und wir packten alles in den Mac. Es war der erste Computer mit schöner Typografie. Hätte ich diesen einen Kurs nicht besucht, hätte es beim Mac nie verschiedene Schrifttypen oder Proportionalschriften gegeben. Und da Windows einfach den Mac kopierte, hätte es das vermutlich auch nicht bei Personalcomputern gegeben. Wenn ich nicht ausgestiegen wäre, hätte ich nie diesen Kalligrafiekurs besucht, und Personalcomputer hätten nicht die schöne Typografie. Natürlich war es unmöglich, schon auf dem College die Punkte miteinander zu verbinden. Aber zehn Jahre später, im Rückblick, war alles ganz klar.

Noch einmal: Man kann die Punkte nicht verbinden, wenn man sie vor sich hat. Die Verbindung ergibt sich erst im Nachhinein. Man muss also darauf vertrauen, dass sich die Punkte irgendwann einmal zusammenfügen. Man muss an etwas glauben – Intuition, Schicksal, Leben, Karma, was immer. Diese Haltung hat mich nie enttäuscht, sie hat mein Leben entscheidend geprägt.

Die zweite Geschichte handelt von Liebe und Verlust.

Ich hatte Glück – ich habe schon früh herausgefunden, was ich gern machen wollte. Ich war zwanzig, als Woz [Anm.: Steve Wozniak] und ich in der Garage meiner Eltern mit Apple anfingen. Wir haben hart gearbeitet, und nach zehn Jahren war Apple von zwei Leuten in einer Garage angewachsen auf ein Zwei-Milliarden-Dollar-Unternehmen mit über 4000 Mitarbeitern. Im Jahr zuvor hatten wir unser bestes Produkt vorgestellt, den Macintosh, und ich war gerade dreissig geworden. Und dann wurde ich entlassen. Wie kann man aus seiner eigenen Firma fliegen? Nun ja, mit wachsendem Erfolg bei Apple stellten wir jemanden ein, der mir sehr geeignet erschien, das Unternehmen gemeinsam mit mir zu führen, und im ersten Jahr funktionierte es auch recht gut. Doch allmählich gingen unsere Vorstellungen auseinander, und schliesslich kam es zu Streit. In der Situation stellte sich unser Verwaltungsrat auf seine Seite. Mit dreissig war ich also entlassen. Und zwar sehr öffentlich entlassen. Der Inhalt meines ganzen Arbeitslebens war auf einmal weg. Es war niederschmetternd.

Eine ganze Weile wusste ich wirklich nicht, wie es weitergehen sollte. Ich sagte mir, dass ich die ältere Unternehmergeneration enttäuscht hatte, dass ich den Stab hatte fallen lassen, der mir gerade übergeben worden war. Ich setzte mich mit David Packard und Bob Noyce zusammen, wollte mich entschuldigen. Ich war gescheitert, öffentlich gescheitert und überlegte sogar, wegzugehen. Aber irgendwie stellte ich fest, dass mir meine Arbeit noch immer am Herzen lag. Die Entwicklung bei Apple hatte daran überhaupt nichts geändert.
Man hatte mich rausgeworfen, aber ich brannte noch immer. Und so beschloss ich, neu anzufangen.

Damals war mir das nicht klar, aber es zeigte sich, dass diese Entlassung das Beste war, was mir je passieren konnte. Statt der Bürde des Erfolgs erlebte ich wieder die Leichtigkeit des Anfängers, der unsicher sein darf. Es gab mir die Freiheit, eine der schöpferischsten Phasen meines Lebens zu beginnen.

In den nächsten fünf Jahren gründete ich Next, ich gründete Pixar und verliebte mich in eine wunderbare Frau, die dann meine Ehefrau wurde. Pixar produzierte den ersten computeranimierten Spielfilm, «Toy Story», und ist heute das weltweit erfolgreichste Zeichentrickfilmstudio. Dann, in einer erstaunlichen Wendung, wurde Next von Apple gekauft, ich kehrte zu Apple zurück, und die Technologie, die wir bei Next entwickelt hatten, ist der Kern der gegenwärtigen Apple-Renaissance. Und Laurene und ich haben eine wunderbare Familie.

All das wäre gewiss nicht passiert, wenn Apple mich damals nicht gefeuert hätte. Es war eine bittere Arznei, aber vermutlich brauchte sie der Patient. Manchmal knallt einem das Leben etwas an den Kopf. Dann darf man nicht das Vertrauen verlieren. Weitergemacht habe ich wohl nur deswegen, weil es mir Spass gemacht hat. Man muss herausfinden, was einem wichtig ist. Das gilt für die Arbeit wie für Liebesbeziehungen. Die Arbeit wird einen Grossteil Ihres Lebens einnehmen, aber wirklich erfüllt ist man nur, wenn man weiss, dass es etwas wirklich Grosses ist. Und das geht nur, wenn man seine Arbeit liebt. Wenn Sie noch nichts gefunden haben, suchen Sie weiter. Arrangieren Sie sich nicht. Wie bei allen Herzensangelegenheiten weiss man, dass es das Richtige ist, wenn man es gefunden hat. Und wie bei jeder wichtigen Beziehung wird es mit den Jahren immer besser. Suchen Sie also so lange, bis Sie das Richtige gefunden haben. Arrangieren Sie sich nicht.

Meine dritte Geschichte handelt vom Tod.

Als ich 17 war, las ich einen Satz, der etwa so ging: «Wenn man jeden Tag lebt, als wäre es der letzte, wird man irgendwann recht haben.» Das hat mich beeindruckt, und seitdem habe ich jeden Morgen in den Spiegel geschaut und mich gefragt: Wenn heute mein letzter Tag wäre, würde ich dann tun wollen, was ich heute tun werde? Und wenn ich allzu oft mit Nein antwortete, dann wusste ich, dass ich etwas ändern musste.

Die Überlegung, dass ich bald tot sein werde, ist für mich die wichtigste Hilfe bei den wirklich grossen Entscheidungen im Leben. Denn fast alles – anderer Leute Erwartungen, Stolz, Versagensangst – wird im Angesicht des Todes unwichtig, es bleibt nur, was wirklich wichtig ist. Wer bedenkt, dass er sterben wird, fällt nicht der Illusion anheim, er habe etwas zu verlieren. Man ist sowieso nackt. Es gibt keinen Grund, nicht der Stimme des Herzens zu folgen. Vor etwa einem Jahr wurde bei mir Krebs diagnostiziert. Morgens um halb acht wurde der Scan gemacht, der Tumor in der Bauchspeicheldrüse war unübersehbar. Ich wusste nicht einmal, was die Bauchspeicheldrüse ist. Die Ärzte meinten, es sei höchstwahrscheinlich ein unheilbarer Tumor, sie gaben
mir höchstens drei bis sechs Monate. Mein Arzt riet mir, nach Hause zu gehen und alles zu regeln, was im medizinischen Jargon nichts anderes heisst als: Richte dich auf den Tod ein. Es heisst, seinen Kindern in wenigen Monaten all das zu erzählen, wofür man eigentlich geglaubt hatte, noch zehn Jahre Zeit zu haben. Es heisst, alles zu regeln, so dass es für die Familie möglichst leicht ist. Es heisst, allen Lebewohl zu sagen.

Mit dieser Diagnose habe ich den Tag verbracht. Abends hatte ich eine Biopsie. Dabei wird ein Endoskop durch Schlund und Magen bis in den Darm geführt, mit einer Nadel werden der Bauchspeicheldrüse ein paar Tumorzellen entnommen. Ich war betäubt, aber meine Frau berichtete mir, dass die Ärzte weinten, als sie unter dem Mikroskop feststellten, dass es eine sehr seltene, therapierbare Form von Pankreaskrebs war. Ich wurde operiert, heute geht es mir gut.

So nahe war ich dem Tod noch nie gewesen, und ich hoffe, dabei bleibt
es noch ein paar Jahrzehnte. Heute, nachdem ich das überstanden habe, kann ich mit etwas mehr Gewissheit sagen als damals, als der Tod eine nützliche, aber rein intellektuelle Vorstellung war:

Niemand stirbt gern. Selbst diejenigen, die in den Himmel wollen, möchten deswegen nicht sterben. Und doch ist der Tod unser aller Schicksal. Niemand entkommt ihm. Und so soll es auch sein, denn der Tod ist vermutlich die beste Erfindung des Lebens. Er ist der Motor des Wandels. Er räumt mit Altem auf, um Platz zu schaffen für Neues. Heute sind Sie das Neue, aber irgendwann werden Sie die Alten sein und abtreten. Entschuldigen Sie diese drastische Formulierung, aber so ist es nun einmal.

Ihre Zeit ist begrenzt, also vergeuden Sie sie nicht, indem Sie ein fremdbestimmtes Leben führen. Hüten Sie sich vor Dogmen, denn das heisst nichts anderes, als sein Leben an den Ansichten anderer Leute auszurichten. Sehen Sie zu, dass der Lärm fremder Meinungen nicht Ihre innere Stimme übertönt. Und vor allem: Haben Sie den Mut, Ihrem Herzen und Ihrer Intuition zu folgen. Die beiden wissen schon, was Sie wirklich werden wollen. Alles andere ist sekundär.

In meiner Jugend gab es ein bemerkenswertes Buch, es hiess «The Whole Earth Catalog» und war eine der Bibeln für meine Generation. Geschrieben hatte es ein gewisser Stewart Brand, nicht weit von hier, in Menlo Park, und er brachte es mit seiner poetischen Ader zum Leben. Das war in den späten 1960er Jahren, vor Personalcomputer und Desktop Publishing, alles wurde mit Schreibmaschine, Schere und Polaroidkamera gemacht. Es war so etwas wie Google in Taschenbuchform, 35 Jahre vor Google – idealistisch, voller nützlicher Dinge und guter Ideen.

Stewart und sein Team brachten mehrere Auflagen heraus, und als das Buch seinen Weg gemacht hatte, gab es noch eine allerletzte Auflage. Das war Mitte der 1970er Jahre, ich war so alt wie Sie. Auf dem Umschlag der letzten Auflage war hinten eine Foto einer Landstrasse im frühen Morgenlicht, wie man das vielleicht erlebt, wenn man als unternehmungslustiger Tramper unterwegs ist. Darunter standen die Worte: «Bleibt hungrig, bleibt verrückt.» Das war die Abschiedsbotschaft. Bleibt hungrig, bleibt verrückt. Ich habe mir das immer für mich selbst gewünscht. Und heute, da Sie vor einem neuen Lebensabschnitt stehen, ist das mein Wunsch für Sie.

Bleibt hungrig, bleibt verrückt.
Vielen Dank.



Jony Ive spricht über großartiges Design und die Zusammenarbeit mit einem der besten Innovatoren der jüngsten Zeit

Jony Ive spricht über großartiges Design und die Zusammenarbeit mit einem der besten Innovatoren der jüngsten Zeit.

Ideen beginnen als zerbrechliche Gedanken und werden im Innovationsprozess ständig gechallenged.

Nur eine Idee, die trotz 100fachen Widerstands mit aller Anstrengung weitergetragen wird, wird in letzter Konsequenz erfolgreich sein.

Steve Jobs – Analyse der Stärken und Schwächen

Was macht einen großen Innovator aus?
Eine Analyse der Stärken und Schwächen Steve Job’s.

  • erstklassiges technisches Verständnis
  • Anspruch an perfektes Produktdesign
  • Kundenwünsche verstehen, noch bevor Kunden sie erkennen und artikulieren können
  • extrem einfache Handhabung der Produkte um den Massenmarkt zu gewinnen
  • Beschränkung in der Produktentwicklung, auf die Features, die Kunden wirklich nutzen werden
  • Disruptive Technologiebrüche: bewusst eingesetzte veraltete Techniken von Bord werfen (das Gegenteil von Windows)
  • Nutzengetriebenheit (im Vergleich zu Technikverliebtheit)
  • exzellente Personauswahl
  • straffe Personalführung knapp an der Tyrannei

„People just don’t want to buy technology anymore, they want to know what they can do with it!“, Steve Jobs MacWorld 2001

Demokratien produzieren keine großartigen Produkte. Dazu braucht man kompetente Tyrannen.“ (Jean-Louis Gasse über Steve Jobs)

Quellen: Wired