You hear it on stages, like when Marc Benioff, chief executive and co-founder of Salesforce, urged 90,000 attendees at the firm’s Dreamforce conference to fill in the visionary hole that Steve Jobs left.
You hear it at cocktail parties. At one by Morgenthaler Ventures, for instance, Apple team members who worked on Siri talked about how they missed Steve Jobs yelling at people.
it’s a year after Steve Jobs died. So, what has changed?
- We haven’t seen a shocking new product or rethink of something that exists, like when the iPhone came out of Steve Jobs’ pocket.
- Apple press conferences aren’t quite as interesting.
- The tech press is looking for signs of vision from other companies, including Microsoft.
- I hear from Apple team members that working at Apple is a bit easier, but also that they miss the chaos and excitement that Steve Jobs could cause.
- Apple has gotten even more profitable, but those profits raise new questions because they were built on top of work that Jobs did. Can Tim Cook capture new markets the way Jobs did?
I still think it’ll be fine. Great companies don’t just disappear and Apple is still benefiting from momentum put in place by Jobs and his teams.
What are Apple’s still existing advantages?
- It has the best supply chain in the business. We see the power of that supply chain this month as the new iPhone has gotten top reviews on sites like gdgt.com.
- It has the best design team in the business.
- It has the best PR team in the business. At Apple’s latest press conference it had six times more satellite trucks outside than when Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, spoke.
- It has the best retail channel in the business.
What is missing now that Jobs is gone?
- The salesmanship. He goaded the industry to move to higher things and he convinced us that the future was here and that it was important to pay attention.
- His ability to say no and keep things from shipping. Andy Grignon, who worked on the first iPhone, tells me all the time about how Jobs would kill a project or send it back for more work. He tells about how the original iPhone looked nothing like the shipping product. Jobs kept saying “no” until it was perfect.
- His ability to get us to appreciate seemingly unimportant details. I still remember when he told me to look at how beautiful the back of an iMac was. Mr Cook tries to pull this off, but it doesn’t sound the same coming from him.
Yes, I do wonder if Apple would have released its maps feature in such an early state.
Or, if he had released it, would he have explained to us why he is doing his own maps in a much better way than Mr Cook did. There are good reasons, after all, for Apple to head its own way and build its own mapping technology.