Oliver Bussmann, SAP
Steve Jobs embodies the Apple brand—and over the past 20 years has made it into a benchmark of design and simplicity that companies around the world aspire to. In recent years, I was particularly impressed how he understood—better than any other leader—how to shape the consumer world through mobile technology and at the end driving the consumerization of the Enterprise IT. He remains an inspiration to us all.
Juan Luis Cebrián Grupo Prisa
My Apple-mania is relatively new and, in fact, it started with my addiction to the iPad. I have never shared the fanaticism of those who use its computers, and the iPhone always seemed to me considerably weak to be used in the business world, yet I acknowledge its improvements in version 4 and admire its potential for entertainment.
Only after the advent of the tablet did I join with all the consequences the ranks of those who admire Steve Jobs. I met him briefly at an international meeting and this was the only time that I had the opportunity to meet him. I found him to be an introverted man, convinced of what he did, and extremely careful of his external look. I think this is related to his visionary skills, since I believe that his success is rather a triumph of design—and therefore of his understanding of the needs, tastes and habits of users─ than of the technology itself. But the Internet is constructed precisely through—and thanks to—the experience of consumers; and the stories of Google, Facebook, and Twitter speak eloquently of this. I think Mr. Jobs grasped it better than anyone else from the beginning. And the iPad’s brilliant success is based precisely on his understanding of people’s demands in their relationship with IT.
Leaders are essential to the development of any human activity, whether a band of music or the governance of a country. And that’s why Mr. Jobs’ leadership will be missed at Apple, but it doesn’t mean that the company has to suffer for it after the first shock is over. One of the features of knowledge in the present era is that it develops on a collective, networked way, so new developments will not necessarily be affected. We might as well ask ourselves to what extent Apple’s business strategy—largely a consequence of Mr. Jobs’ intuitive, creative genius—will continue to be as effective and spectacular as it was before. As the new, relatively recent Apple-maniac that I am, I do hope so.
Sureyya Ciliv Turkcell
Mr Jobs’ genius in user experience accelerated the mobile Internet adoption around the globe. Five billion people will have access to the Internet in five years. Mr Jobs’ Apple achieved this user interface excellence through a “closed” tightly integrated system. You can’t even change the battery. It will be interesting to see if the history will repeat itself? Will the “open” systems prevail at the end or will Apple continue its dominance.
Marketing is about “smart moves”. I am sure Apple will miss Mr Jobs’ genius and his magic touch.
Mike Lynch Autonomy
I fear if you asked one of these management expertise evaluators to analyze him on a no name basis the phrases that would come back would include obsessive, abrasive, micro manager, unable to delegate, unable to adapt from start up culture…but the right answer is simply “genius”.
So the lesson he taught us is CEOs should be obsessive about and micro manage at least one thing—the product.
Ralf Schneider Allianz
With Steve Jobs moving out of daily operations at Apple there is both a huge chance but also a huge challenge.
The chance is to mature Apple towards the next cultural level, characterized by collaborative team intelligence built on an extraordinary brand power and corporate value. People buy Apple products because they are highly innovative cult products with incredible user convenience. Apple needs to maintain that image and continuously over-deliver against customers’ expectations and competitors’ abilities. Another iPhone every year is not good enough! Also logisitics and less visible success factors need to be kept on the highest performance levels.
The implied risks are that without its “soul” Apple might struggle in continuing the culture of perfectionism and innovation as preached by Mr. Jobs. Having revolutionized the music industry and demonstrated the ability to make lots of money out of hardware production despite market predictions in smartphones and tablets the key question is if Apple will be the one finding the next product and service area they can dominate, such as the cloud.
Can Apple thrive without Mr. Jobs? For years, the company has been tailored to and focused on his person. Apple’s enormous success proved his “no-decision-without-my-approval” approach to be right. This leadership style—Apple’s strength for years—might now easily turn into a vulnerable spot. Jobs leaves a hole, but even if Apple could find a second Mr. Jobs to mend it, would this leadership style be sustainable in the future? In the future, collective intelligence, networks and a high performance platform will be major assets for success. The strength of the organization is crucial, not single hierarchies.
If and how Apple will use it’s challenges and opportunities will depend on Tim Cook’s ability to shape the after Mr. Jobs corporate culture and his lucky hand in finding the next sweet spot of products and services before the competition does.
Kristian Segerstrale Playfish
He has been an inspiration for a whole generation of young entrepreneurs, influencing not just product design, but the standards to which we hold ourselves responsible in designing user experiences. The amount of companies I’ve met who say they want to be “the Apple of X” where X is a service with a poor, fragmented user experience—be it payments, banking, etc.
He single-handedly unlocked the mobile applications market in a way no network operator or handset manufacturer was able to before Apple. His legacy, not just in terms of iOS but also Android (the competitive response) and future OS’s, will have been to create the critical mass of standardized platforms on top of which the mobile application ecosystem has been created—delivering everything from games to sports performance monitors and paperless flight deck software (Garmin).
Without him and his vertically integrated view of the world, the commercial opportunity would not have been sufficient for companies and individuals to pursue the application opportunity. The fragmentation would have meant these things would simply not have existed—the fact that they may migrate to other OS’s in the future is beside the point—he created the critical mass of devices and developers that brought us the mobile applications revolution and this will be his biggest legacy in my opinion.
Joanna Shields Facebook
Definitely the end of an era. I first met Steve Jobs in the late ’80s while working at a company called Electronics for Imaging in Silicon Valley. We were probably one of the few companies at the time using NeXT computers. NeXT ran on an object-oriented operating system (the first of its kind) which was the early precursor of the MacOS. Steve would regularly breeze in to meet our CEO, and our chief product designers. To me, an impressionable young product manager, he seemed infinitely cool. Later a number of our executives left to join him at Pixar and the rest as they say is history.
Irwin Chargaff who played an important role in the discoveries which led to the discovery of the double helix, wrote in his review of the book, “The Double Helix“, about the profound difference between scientists and artists, between discovery and creativity, between unsurfacing what is there, but yet uncovered, and bringing to life whole new things:
Timon of Athens could not have been written, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon could not have been painted, had Shakespeare and Picasso not existed. But of how many scientific achievements can this be claimed?
One could almost say that, with very few exceptions, it is not the men that make science, it is science that makes the men. What A does today, B and C and D could surely do tomorrow.
Steve Jobs is one of civilization’s greatest artists of all times. His genius eventually, if not today, will be judged in the scale of Leonardo da Vinci or Shakespeare. His creations will define how people do things for generations to come. Technology is just the substrate for his creative genius.
On top of other artists he was able to turn the practical into a form of art.
He defined time and again whole new paradigms in harnessing technology to the service of man, by coming time and again with products which provided superior user experience. He redefined how we make phone calls, watch videos, listen to music, use computers and much more. It is not engineering, it is not technology, it is the genius of an artist.
The world after Mr. Jobs, is like the renaissance after Leonardo da Vinci. Who knows how many more new great products ,or to be more precise, great experiences are still uncovered, un-mined , unsurfaced, undefined, un-brewed in his mind?