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Jnan Dash

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Steve Jobs’s Resignation as Apple CEO

The news of his resignation came as a shock – that it finally happened

On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, Steve Jobs resigned from Apple as its CEO. He will stay as chairman of the board, handing over the CEO mantle to Tim Cook. Even though this was sort of expected ever since Steve went on his medical leave early this year, the news of his resignation came as a shock – that it finally happened.

Much has been written since last 24 hours on his legacy and brilliance in the tech industry, his obsession with elegant design and simplification for users. He was way ahead of everyone else in this industry by not a year or two, maybe ten years. I love this poster of his words, so profound. Guy Kawasaki said that Steve was made of a different operating system than the standard entrepreneur/innovator.

I love his quotes, specially the following in 1996-97 on Microsoft:

“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.”

“I am saddened, not by Microsoft’s success — I have no problem with their success. They’ve earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.” [Triumph of the Nerds, 1996]

“I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.” [On Bill Gates, The New York Times, Jan. 12, 1997]

Look at what he said back in 1996 on the PC industry, so prophetic:

“The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That’s over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it’s going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.

“It’s like when IBM drove a lot of innovation out of the computer industry before the microprocessor came along. Eventually, Microsoft will crumble because of complacency, and maybe some new things will grow. But until that happens, until there’s some fundamental technology shift, it’s just over.” [Wired, February 1996]

Back in 1985, he saw the future we see today:

“The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people––as remarkable as the telephone.” [Playboy, Feb. 1, 1985]

What a remarkable leader! He shaped six industries – desktop, movie animation, music, mobile telephone, tablets, and desktop publishing. His second coming to Apple, on the verge of bankruptcy, transformed Apple to be the most valuable industry this year. Apple users are a cult and they view Jobs as their God.  Such transformational leadership is rare. Eric Schmidt said yesterday that Steve is the best CEO in last 25 years.

Yet we feel so sad about his health over last few years since the detection of cancer and subsequent liver transplant. He is a Buddhist by choice and had visited India (Varanasi) in his twenties for self-discovery.

The following quote is very profound,  “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” [The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993].

Steve, we pray that you keep well for a long time inspiring everyone.

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Jnan Dash is Senior Advisor at EZShield Inc., Advisor at ScaleDB and Board Member at Compassites Software Solutions. He has lived in Silicon Valley since 1979. Formerly he was the Chief Strategy Officer (Consulting) at Curl Inc., before which he spent ten years at Oracle Corporation and was the Group Vice President, Systems Architecture and Technology till 2002. He was responsible for setting Oracle's core database and application server product directions and interacted with customers worldwide in translating future needs to product plans. Before that he spent 16 years at IBM. He blogs at http://jnandash.ulitzer.com.