My Thoughts On Steve Jobs and His Retirement From Being Apple CEO

NOTE: This was originally posted at the time of Steve Jobs retirement. I’m reposting today to honor Steve Jobs passing.

One of the coolest things I recently saw was when Steve talked about how almost bankrupt Apple was when he re-took over Apple and the love of the employees to encourage him to make Apple succeed more. He said Apple had been 90 days away from BK when he took over. I dont think people realize how low Apple was and to how far he’s brought it. Until you’ve been a successful entrepreneur and felt like your investments that have lived decades on as your children I think its hard to imagine what someone lIke Steve Jobs goes through. For most entrepreneurs their companies are their babies and when one dies its a heartbreaker that you can rarely imagine. Its one thing to make a successful company more successful. Apple was broke and Steve took it to the top stock value recently? Most people have NO idea what it takes to pull a company from the brink of bankruptcy.

One of my investments I was handed the keys from a bad partner who’d ran one of our companies into the ground, he told me we would not make payroll at the end of the week and would have to file bankruptcy. This was a 11 year old company? For 2 hours I was broken that a company of mine, my child, had been destroyed. THEN I decided there HAD TO BE A WAY to keep this from happening. 48 sleepless hours I immersed myself to relearn a company I’d created from almost nothing 11 years before. We made payroll. I saved that company and turned it around and it lived years onward until years later I moved out of the State it was created in. Most people have NO concept of the herculean effort and belief that takes when you’re facing the end, to save a company from Bankruptcy. Its hopeless and takes balls to the wall to save it. For Jobs it was on an incredible proportion of demand, I cannot even imagine after my own experience.

“>Robert Scoble is right about Steve Jobs caring about the back of the product. The Vic Gundotra story about the yellow on the Google O is the attention to detail. The CEO cares about what the end users feels. Its about the Frontline. Tom Peters taught me a lot about this thinking. Theres an old favorite business story he tells about how the CEO of a frozen food company making the Board actually EAT their own TV dinners. They were disgusted and the quality improved as did the company. I think Steve Jobs cared and could touch what a customer would perceive and that was a key to his success. You cannot replace Steve Jobs and I think its great he’s still chairman.

I hope Mr. Jobs lives forever and evidently the TMZ photo is photoshopped. In the end if he’s like any great CEO I’ve known he’s looked out for the company and knows what iphone/ipad 5,6,7 entail. He’s inlaid and built his successors. Tom Peters taught me to build successors. To any degree he should be honored. I’ve owned many companies, they’ve been like my children. “Sadder still to watch it die than never to have known it…for you the blind who once could see…The Bell Tolls for Thee (Rush).

Steve Jobs deserves all the honor and more than can be given. Some of us burn brightly and our wick shines ever, yet burns faster still. He maybe the 1st time and the 2nd round one of the greatest CEO’s to go TWICE from an almost ZERO to infinity. Even Jack Welch would likely pay homage. Until you have personally build a company from a few thousands scraped together and added blood tears and sweat in a garage, you cannot possibly imagine this world. You can say a lot about Steve Jobs, but he loved his child Apple and he gave it everything he could and in the end his life maybe shorter for that contribution and sacrifice given.

Unless you’ve sweated those endless nights and years as an entrepreneur watching your child breath exhale to wait those painless strategic seconds to see if its chest lifts to breathe another inlet of air by the measure of your decisions, I doubt you could guess what the man feels. I doubt he would think less of any sacrifice for the love of his beliefs or interests unto it. Mr. Jobs would never give up or quit something he so deeply loved until he had gone beyond. We are not quitters. He should be honored as never before. Hemingway said it best…The Bell Tolls for Thee.

I wish Mr. Jobs any recovery that he can enable. We are blind men unto his lead. There is a huge amount of life sacrifice that one gives to this endeavor that cant be even imagined or measured. In the end “We each pay a fabulous price for our visions of paradise.” (Rush). I can tell you there is nothing worse than watching yourself die before your children and knowing they will be lessened without you. Be Blessed Mr. Jobs. I hope your rest gives you renewed power. In this time or the next round…