What happens to The Fab Four without Steve Jobs?

A few months after Steve died, Wall Street Journal and Fortune writer Brent Schlender was cleaning out the all the crap from his storage shed. As is typical of such an exercise, Brent found some lost treasure that had suddenly gained some currency of late: hours and hours of unedited tapes from his interviews with Steve. During some of these tapes, one can hear Steve's kids running around the kitchen as the two men talked. Occasionally Steve would hit the pause button before saying something that may come back and bite him on the ass. Most of the content of the "Lost Steve Jobs Tapes" was re-worded stuff he has previously told others, or it was sound but boring business advice that left me a little sleepy. However, there was one juicy morsel that I enjoyed most of all. It was the uncut version of Steve’s model for good management inspired by the Beatles

My model of management is the Beatles. The reason I say that is because each of the key people In the Beatles kept the others from going off in the directions of their bad tendencies. They sort of kept each other in check. And then when they split up, they never did anything as good. It was the chemistry of a small group of people, and that chemistry was greater than the sum of the parts. And so John kept Paul from being a teenybopper and Paul kept John from drifting out into the cosmos, and it was magic. And George, in the end, I think provided a tremendous amount of soul to the group. I don't know what Ringo did. [1]

Within five months of Steve’s death, the "Paul McCartney" of Apple, Tim Cook, trotted on stage and looked as if he may intro the new 4G iPad. Everyone drew a breath knowing that poor Tim ain't gonna woo the crowd the way that Steve did. Luckily, Tim copped out and handballed the task like a hot potato to his marketing dude, Phil Schiller - Apple's "Ringo Starr". Phil’s excited nerd-ologue worked better than Valium to put this author to sleep. So I may have missed the part where he admits that the fancy high-speed 4G functionality only works with Northern American 4G networks. Aussie customers were offered a well-deserved refund after finding out that the major selling-point is a major let-down. Imagine how they felt after days of lining up for this pricey gadget - the second time within a year - only to discover that it’s only marginally better than the last gadget? Perhaps I give too much credit to fanboys to think objectively when they are too busy Thinking Differently. 

Apple seems to be chugging along well in the competent hands of Tim - its best bean-counter; but what of Apple's creative soul? What about Apple's "George Harrison"? Jonathan Ive’s name is still on Apple’s site, so he doesn’t seem to be jumping ship. Jony spoke about working with Steve at his funeral. He smiled as he said that during brainstorming sessions Steve would often come up with a lot of “dopey ideas,” along with good ones too.[2]

When John Lennon died, Yoko went into publicity overdrive. However, Mrs Laurene Jobs has much more class than the pseudo-artist. Laurene has retreated even further from the public spotlight since she lost her husband. She appeared in the news media only once at Obama's State of the Union address. Laurene sat with Warren Buffett's secretary, Debbie Bosanekas. The President pointed out that Debbie pays a higher income tax percentage than her obscenely wealthy boss. He then boldly asked that the rich pay more tax. [3]

Laurene is now the 100th richest person in the world with a net worth of $9 billion. She beat her late husband, Steve, who was only (only?) ranked 110 at 8.3 Billion. [4]

After Steve spent his career building a rep as a miserly Scrooge, it warms the heart to know that his fortune is now solely in the hands of probably the world’s most quietly hard-working philanthropist.

[1] Schlender, B. (2012, April 17) The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes. From From FastCompany.com. Retrieved from: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/165/steve-jobs-legacy-tapes
[2] Wingfield, N. (2011,October 17) Emotion, Music and Humor at Steve Jobs Memorial. New York Times.

[3] Earle, G. & Shields, G. (2012, January 25) O uses Buffett’s Gal Friday as a speech prop. The New York Post.

[4] Mac, R. (2012, March 7) Meet Silicon Valley's Richest Woman: Laurene Powell Jobs. Forbes Magazine


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