Apple must now begin the process of surviving as a company without Steve Jobs. It will be a daunting task, but one that should be made easier by the fact that Jobs himself left behind blueprints of sorts, for both the success of the company and for the executives that would follow him.
Among those plans are outlines for products that Jobs believed would be part of the company’s future – plans he personally worked on for more than a year.
Plans for the Future
Even though he was dying, Jobs worked tirelessly on Apple’s future. He worked hard to develop the plans for Apple’s futuristic headquarters in Cupertino, California, and get them approved, going so far as to defy doctors. Steve Jobs last public appearance was to pitch the spaceship-like designs to the Cupertino City Council last June.
In addition to the giant new Apple complex – which will sit on the old Hewlett Packard site (where Jobs worked part-time when he was 13 years old) – Jobs had also been supervising the development of iCloud, and contributing ideas to update the iPhone, iPad, MacBook and iPod. According to sources inside Apple, there are at least four years worth of new Apple products, thanks to Jobs.
Steve Jobs DNA to live on with Apple University
Another secret project that Jobs worked on was an executive training program called Apple University. The program, which Jobs considered vital to Apple’s future success, will teach Apple executives to think like Steve Jobs. Sources familiar with the program say Jobs personally recruited the dean of Yale’s Business School, Joel Podolny, to develop it, way back in 2008.
“Apple needed a set of educational materials so that Apple employees could learn to think and make decisions as if they were Steve Jobs.” Tim Bajarin is an Apple analyst. So it really is no surprise that, when Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2005, he was already thinking about his legacy.
It’s said that the inspiration for Apple University came out of Jobs’ admiration for Bill Hewlett and David Packard, and the way they built Hewlett and Packard into a tech giant. HP’s values or “the HP Way” were highly admired in the 80s and 90s.
Jobs wanted to establish something similar with Apple University. The program would help Apple executives and regular employees continue to innovate and drive Apple’s success. This included attention to detail, accountability, perfectionism, simplicity and of course, secrecy. Jobs wanted to see if the creation of university-level courses would translate into the best business and operating strategies.
One example of what Jobs hoped for is already running at Pixar. Jobs sold Pixar to Disney in 2006 for $7.5 billion. Pixar University is a professional development program that offers courses in fine arts and filmmaking as well as leadership and management training. The program also provides company history, culture and values.
Steve Jobs oversaw the most incredible corporate turnaround in Silicon Valley history. After returning to Apple in 1997, he was in charge of every major decision Apple made, from the launch of iPod to the iPad 2.
A Future without Jobs
Jobs, the famed co-founder of Apple, died last week of pancreatic cancer. Pre-orders for the authorized Steve Jobs biography have shot through the roof since. Apple definitely wants to continue building on Jobs’ achievements. The iPhone alone is a multi-billion dollar business and app development for iDevices is a requirement for anyone in the tech field these days. It will be a challenge for Apple to maintain its success without Jobs’ leadership, but not impossible. No other CEO or company has analyzed its success so closely – or developed a plan to continue that success after their leader was gone.
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