Between Jobs

Predictably, following the news of Steve Jobs second enforced absence from Apple on medical grounds today, the great man was trending faster than the Frat look in ‘09. How many other CEOs would prompt such interest for a sick note? Not many. None probably. During his last enforced absence (in the same year as the aforementioned Frat look), the stakes appeared higher. Speculation that he was not long for this World was rife. Apple stock dropped sharply. The tech World held its breath. And when the tech World holds its breath, the real World follows.

But Steve recovered and returned to his iDesk seemingly more invigorated than ever. (Not long afterwards came the iPad). I wonder whether the same will be true this time.

In Jobs’ email to Apple employees, Silicon Alley Insider identifies what certainly seems a conscious avoidance of even suggesting a date for his return to the office – unlike his email sent prior to his last absence.

Apple’s amazing success in recent years is unquestionable.  Whether this would have happened without Jobs at the helm is conjecture but most sane people would agree its pretty unlikely. What might this mean? Well, for Apple’s embattled competitors it might signal a welcome respite. But I doubt it. Apple stole the march on competitors who had no idea they were even competing. They did so by fusing great design with competent technology. Simple. So simple in fact, no-one had thought of it before. Apart from Steve Jobs. Jobs’ legacy is engrained and permeates Cupertino and will do for years to come.

A colleague recently commented, “People don’t think design is important.” Point is, they do. They just don’t know they do. Jobs did that.