I was to a certain extent surprised when I read about the fact that Steve Jobs had resigned as CEO of Apple on 24 August 2011, although I was aware that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. The immediate effect was that Apple shares took a beating by dropping as much as 7 percent. This in itself is a testament to the magnitude of Steve Job's importance to Apple. It is reported that he will be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook, who has been running day to day operations, prior to this.
Let me make one thing straight and that is, I am a true blue Steve Jobs fan. His extraordinary vision and leadership has not only saved Apple at a particular point in its history, but has also guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company. Personally I have always been a 'Windows person'. Over the last year however I have slowly entered the realm of Apple (courtesy of my son) and the one thing that stands out is the fact that they make exceptional products that are way ahead of the competition. The iPad is the classic example of this phenomenon as it is a device that was only launched two years ago, but is now considered a device you cant do without.
Steve Jobs leaves Apple with the following awesome statistics:
a. Apple leads the digital music revolution wit its iPods and iTunes online store.
b. Apple has re-invented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store.
c. Apple has recently introduced iPad 2, which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.
d. Apple has a cash reserve of $ 76 billion (more than what the US government has currently)
e. Apple has surpassed Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable company - valued at $ 341.5 billion.
f. Apple has no debts!!!
What can we learn from Steve Jobs and Apple. Three crucial ones are:
a. Be a leader, take risks and always go against the grain. When Apple launched the iPad, most technological companies were wary and had written off tablets altogether. Right now it is considered 'THE DEVICE' to have and while other companies are only just launching their tablet products, Apple has already got momentum and an insurmountable lead. Apple is a leader; the other companies are the sheep!!
b. Attention to design and aesthetics. You can have the best product in the world but if the design and packaging does not appeal to customers, then your product is not going to be very successful. Apple products have always been highly functional and elegant. Very importantly, it has always been very, very user friendly. A great example is the iPhone which took the world by storm when it was introduced in 2007. Today, in spite of it only having five models that are similar in design (only specifications differ), Apple makes more profits than Nokia which has hundreds of different models of mobile phones. And why is it popular? Because it it not only 'good looking' but is also so simple to use!!
c. Be able to see the future of your industry. One of Steve Jobs most famous quotes (ice hockey metaphor) was "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been". What he meant is that he knew his industry well and could predict where it was headed or else he could influence its direction. For example in the audio music industry, Sony which was 'the technological company' at one time was only concentrating on how to make the Walkman (the iPod of the past) better in terms of sound, design etc. Apple went into a complete different type of technology and came up with the iPod. The rest as they say is history.
I am most certain the research team in Apple has already got the prototype of some new revolutionary product undergoing tests right now. In that context, Steve Jobs always positioned Apple at the forefront of his industry and never, ever copied the market.
Source: Heera Singh, September Newsletter.
p/s: Success does'nt come overnight.