No sooner do I blog about Steve Jobs and Apple than the other show drops and Jobs himself announces a leave of absence until June. If speculation wasn’t already running wild, it’s gone completely gonzo now. What it tells me is that Steve is mortal and he hasn’t found a way to clone himself yet. Seriously, here is a short term and long term plan for Steve Jobs and Apple.
Jobs should return to Apple as a “chief architect”. This is very similar to what Bill Gates did at Microsoft during his last few years. Basically, someone else is running the show but you are there daily to oversee critical strategy. Lessen the load of daily grinding management may extend your years at the company. In addition, it is a more easy and graceful exit without the jarring effects of just leaving when you get too sick.
Also, while serving as chief architect, you are installing the long term solution. Take a look at Disney and you could say as well that Walt Disney was everything to Disney. Where would Disney ever be without his singular vision and passion? How could Disney ever survive without him? But it has. Disney is one of the premiere companies in the world and is as great today as it was is Walts time. But how?
I think the answer is that Walt Disney was able to inject his dna into the company in such a fundamental way that it has stuck all this time. I think people at Disney think to themselves, what would Walt do? Would this make Walt proud? Continuing to honer and stick to Walt’s principals and ideals has kept Disney strong. So it will be Steve Jobs task to inject his dna into Apple in the same way. If he can do this, I think Apple will be a strong company for years to come.