What If Steve Jobs Kicked the iBucket?
I was at a local marketing meeting this morning, (CDA Web Marketers to be exact) and as I got into my Jeep to leave, I was greeted by a phone call from a friend asking what I knew about these “rumors” that Steve Jobs had had a massive heart attack and that Apple’s stock was tanking as a result. I was a little flabbergasted, because I had checked the news and stocks about 7:30 am (PST) before I left for the meeting and nothing seemed unusual except for the expected punditry on the Palin vs. Biden VP debate and the fact that the house still needed to vote on the Golden Parachute bill. But for the last three hours, I had been off the grid and out of touch with the news (with the exception of someone tweeting a friend that the bill had been passed by Congress and that my debt-load had increased by $700 billion).
While I was prepped by his term “rumors”, I still had a flood of thoughts run through my mind similar to the experiences of where you know exactly where you were when you heard that JFK was assassinated — actually, I was in my Mother’s womb still for that one, so I guess I’ll have to say John Lennon’s assassination or the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding — but you get my drift (OK, 9-11 for you age-challenged readers). I instantly wondered what was the post-SJ world at Apple going to be like? The next thing I thought of (all within nano-seconds mind you) was how did a vegetarian contract such a severe heart condition? And I surely thought it would have been cancer or old age that got him. I was surprised to say the least. But I quickly recovered and began to press my partially informed friend about the “rumors” part. He figured it was probably a rumor but he thought I would surely know what was “really” going on. After further discussion I convinced him that I was sure it was a rumor, but the first thing I did as I got back to my desk was check all my bookmarked news sites just in case.
Besides his own introspections regarding his short time here on earth to get things done, I have to wonder what Steve Jobs must think about all this—”do people really want to see me dead?” Besides Steve Balmer of course! Seems the press has got a trigger-finger on his obituary and has actually and literally let it slip on occasion. He obviously won’t drop his workload and hastily schedule a press conference to prove in fact, that he is alive and kicking, all rumors notwithstanding.
All that is to say, when and if Steve Jobs does retire to his eternal state (actually, scratch the “if” part), it’s not like we haven’t been prepared for at least the thought of it. From his original scare with pancreatic cancer to his more recent bouts with various “bugs”, to the infamous Bloomberg obituary leak, to the rumor today, we have all been faced with the thought of Steve’s inevitable mortality. While this is a profitable occupation to apply to one’s own life, it perhaps crosses a bit into the morbid side when applied to others.
We seem to have this collective thought that Apple will truly be hosed when Steve Jobs passes onto that bit-bucket in the sky and his pixels are scattered across the universe, but I believe that the decade-plus that Steve Jobs has returned at the helm of Apple, has been sufficient to permanently infuse his DNA into the corporate culture and it will be run forever-after in the WWSJD mode. It may eventually wander off into directions Steve would have never thought to have taken, similar to Disney being nothing what Walt Disney dreamed it would ever become, but the mark Steve Jobs has already left on Apple and the computer world in general has been sufficiently stamped with Steve Job’s thumbprint right smack in the center of it. And that’s nothing to say about the career that still lies before him. Steve is still a relatively young guy and I believe he’s not anything close to being done changing the world if he can help it.