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Earthquake from the (Apple)Core

This week a massive earthquake rocked the country and left people buzzing from coast to coast. While it may be too early to determine the exact damages from the quake, it produced instant market swings and potentially affected nuclear sites in the D.C./Virginia metro area. Luckily finely tuned preparation plans created in anticipation of such an event generally surged into action and thwarted any immediate, major repercussions. Now the world steps back and anxiously watches the news on their iPads while walking their iPoodles; everyone is waiting to see how the dust will settle following this unprecedented upheaval.

My sources tell me that before the seismic activity surrounding Steve Jobs resignation from Apple, there was seismic activity of the plate tectonic persuasion across the eastern seaboard. Maybe we’ll report on that later but the Jobs quake buried all natural disaster news within minutes while the Virginia tremors barely shifted ground.

There will be immeasurable commentary and analysis on Steve Jobs’ resignation and his career in general. His legacy will be immortalized in the forthcoming (and still unfinished) biography Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson in addition to other inevitable volumes devoted to the Apple mogul. Jobs elevated Apple to the summit of the business world as the company, “flirted with displacing ExxonMobil as the world’s most valuable company by market cap, and…[at one point] had more cash on hand than Uncle Sam himself” (Matlin, 8/25/11). The list of his accomplishments reads like a greedy (and enterprising) child’s Christmas list to Santa.

I know from experience taking Professor Bacharach’s classes that Jobs continually emerges as the model leader in leadership studies contexts. He is one of the most recognizable faces in corporate leadership and his name is synonymous with management success. When Professor Bacharach solicits examples of leaders, he will likely hear a student offer Steve Jobs long before receiving the names of, say, Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa, or Gandhi. There is no argument; the man is a leader guru.

So let’s take a pause from our leadership exploits today and just marvel at the force that is Steve Jobs. We know that Tim Cook will almost certainly succeed Jobs and will likely succeed in his new role. We know, or at least argue, that leadership is not an innate, trait-based phenomenon but something that can be pragmatically and systematically learned and replicated. Jobs was no god and certainly had his faults and fumbles. Nevertheless, the man was a titan and the world shakes today in response to his resignation.

Pic Credits: tsevis

Deanna Lowe @ Fortune magazine and the photographer (Corbis) of the original photo in which this mosaic is based.



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