To all Apple employees,
To all Apple fans,
To all Apple customers,
To all Apple investors,
And to Steve Jobs family and friends,
It’s without surprise but with great shock that I learned that Steve Jobs passed away Wednesday, October fifth, 2011. A giant is no more. And for a while, I was speechless, like many of you, I suppose.
Steve Jobs passed away today. Passed away today.
Oh no! Oh no! My grief… Steve Jobs passed away.
Or so the expression « passed away » would have you believe. And if one would truly believe that, it would mean that all Steve Jobs has achieved and all he worked so hard to build over the years, and all he was as a person to his colleagues, his friends and to his family has simply disappeared with his life. As if he just passed through.
Well, I refuse to believe that, and so should you.
Steve Jobs has not passed away.
Steve Jobs has passed a way.
He has passed a way to do business. He has passed a way to reshape industries. He has passed a way to change the world.
Steve Jobs was instrumentai in bringing the computer to the rest of us. To bringing the publishing tools to the rest of us. Putting advanced technological tools right in our hands.
Steve Jobs was instrumental in creating the most valuable company in history. To officiate the most impressive turn-around in business. On the sheer power of ideas.
Through his captaincy of Apple, NeXT and Pixar, Steve Jobs has inspired the transformation of more lives than any other professional, business or politician in recent history.
And, only his family and friends can attest to his influence amongst them.
All this legacy, and many will write about it in the near future, all this legacy is as real as it comes.
But what exactly is that legacy? What was the way Steve Jobs passed along to us?
To answer these seemingly simple questions, and keeping in mind that I take a humanitarian approach to business and that I speak with a French voice as a North-American but not of the U.S.A., I will ask you to simply remember.
To the administrators, officers, directors and managers of Apple:
Remember that Apple is not jus a company like the rest of them. Yes, Apple has a responsibility to make profit for its investor, like all corporations. Yes quarterly results are a measure of such commercial success. Yes, many of you will become rich in your tenure at Apple. But Apple’s strategy over the last few years and under Steve Jobs’s vision has shown that properly planning the supply chain, making products the public will want and providing added benefits such as free training and free or near free technical support goes a long way at making the company valuable beyond imagination. Always think long term, not just quarterly. The customer experience is at the core of Apple success. Keep the product line mean, efficient and trim. Avoid the multiplication of products, and the transport, warehousing and costs problems inherent to such strategy, which plague our industry and many other industries. Keep opening other exclusively Apple stores. Nobody does it better. How often was I pressured in multi-vendor computer dealers not to waste my sales time offering Apple products and to get on with the cash cow of the other products I did not believe in. When one sells Apple products, one is not just selling a box. One is providing a solution.
To Apple’s engineers and technical resources:
Never forget that the majority of users do not have computer and engineering backgrounds, nor should they have such background. Keep it simple for the user, or explain it simply, and forget the rantings and ravings of the technical savvy people out there who demand full control and don’t give a hoot about quality and user experience. A user should never need the technical people in order to solve a simple configuration issue like on some other platform, and just because the technical people have decided to control the user experience. The Mac experience is about freeing the user of the IT department. The iOS devices are also about freeing people from technical and industrial production considerations as much as possible. They should just work as expected, intuitively, while providing multiple benefits beyond the box.
To Apple’s sales people:
Never forget the excellent training material that you can access through Apple Sales Training Online (ASTO), or whatever its equivalent name is now, if changed. Apple has always provided the best educational material. Always remember the main message: first find the client’s needs before presenting a solution. Success is about exceeding client’s expectations more than anything else.
To the stock market players:
Remember that you are only playing a game, a giant game of monopoly, too often paid with the lives and the livelihood of real people. You are not the people that matter. The people that matter work in real companies producing real products and services, and the people that matter live in the real world consuming real products and services. A company, just like an economy, is as solid as its long term comitment, not just your short term profit. So if Apple does not split its stock, and does not pay additional dividends to get rid of its huge cash reserves, maybe it is a prudent move in favor of its long term planning and commitments in a troubled economy. Stop whining and pulling the blanket just for you. Stay the course, take a long term approach. Maybe this could become a civilizing trend, who knows?
Finally to all fans and clients of Apple:
Remember that Steve Jobs was good, not God. He was only human and he made some mistakes along the way. As a visionary, a real one, a term overused in the business press, Steve Jobs made our life better. He brought to market great products and we loved him for it. He will no longer titillate us with his « One more thing… », but one thing is still in our favor: he knew how to surround himself with some of he best people available. And, many of those people are still at Apple. So as long as Apple provides us with proper solutions to our multiple needs in so numerous wonderful ways, let’s keep voting with our wallet. That is the best testimony of our response to Steve Jobs’s legacy.
As an historical figure, Steve Jobs is now a lighthouse guiding the way, showing where lay the dangerous shoals that will eat ships, and by inference where lay some safer harbor.
Steve jobs has passed a way.
Former independent Macintosh consultant, 1988-2005
Former Apple authorized Value-Added Reseller
Former computer retailer employee
Current master student of French literatures and their impact in the medias
Teacher, poet and writer
This letter was originally sent to firstname.lastname@example.org