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Apple board member says Steve Jobs told team not to ask "What would Steve do?"

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
Apple board member Al Gore said in an interview on Friday that the late Steve Jobs had specifically told CEO Tim Cook and others to avoid asking themselves what he would have done while attempting to carry on his legacy.

Gore, a former U.S. Vice President, noted in an interview with Walt Mossberg at AllThingsD's AsiaD conference in Hong Kong that Jobs and Apple's Board of Directors had held discussions at "every single meeting, for several years" about cultivating the team that would replace Jobs.

Among Job's inventions, "I actually I think his greatest work was Apple itself, Gore said, echoing sentiments that have been voiced by numerous analysts and industry watchers. He created an organization, and inspired it, that literally creates technology that people love.. and thats going to continue."

According to Gore, Jobs cited company struggles at Disney after founder Walt Disney's death as an example of the dangers of that thinking.

"[Jobs] used to talk about initially about how after Walt Disney died, the company always got in trouble about asking what would Walt do in this situation. And he made it very clear I dont want that," said Gore. "He made it clear to Tim Cook and everyone else Dont ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice."



Gore did note that Apple has "so many things in the pipeline" and that "the team that [Jobs] built is hitting on all cylinders," while also asserting that the executive team will still take risks and be a game-changing force.

"Everyone on that management team could be CEO of a world class corporation," he added. Asked if that was a problem because other companies would try to poach Apple execs, Gore agreed, but noted that, as a member of the compensation committee, they "pay real close attention to that."

Mossberg went on to question Gore as to whether he had any conflicts of interest in serving as a Google advisor in addition to his role at Apple.

"After [then Google CEO] Eric Schmidt left the Apple board because of conflicts, I pulled back as well," Gore said. Schmidt stepped down in August 2009 because the search giant had begun to enter competition with more of Apple's core businesses.

"I still talk to [Google co-founders] Larry and Sergey, but never about about anything where theres competition. Its not really a problem, but I dont have as many conversations with them now. And I miss that. Ive known them since they were 27 years old," he said, adding that he thinks Larry Page is doing a "great job" as CEO.

When asked about Jobs' memorial servicee, Gore called it "a beautiful and moving event," and added, "We'll all miss Steve."

"Hes the kind of guy that comes along once every 250 years. He was totally unique," he said.

The Apple Board of Directors has been described as being at a "crossroads" after the Jobs' death. Some industry watchers suggested Apple should appoint an independent chairman from outside the company to take charge.

When Jobs stepped down as CEO in August, he recommended that the Board follow its succession plan and appoint Cook as the new chief. The directors readily agreed, appointing Cook to the position.

"I believe Apples brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it," Jobs said in an open resignation letter.
post #2 of 62
They don't have to ask that question because they know by instinct what Steve would have done. He trained them to think that way after he hand picked them. The key thing being to ask what is right for the consumer and not focus too much on the techno geeks and the hard core pros and to never do something simply because everyone else is doing it if that something doesn't make sense.

Nitpicking the details to try to figure out how Steve would handle it doesn't matter as much since often there's more than one way to answer the question.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #3 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"He [Jobs] made it clear to Tim Cook and everyone else Dont ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice."

So... what if your own voice said to do what Steve would have done?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 62
No problem, just execute.

The problem arises when your voice tells you something else, something that Steve wouldn't have done.

That's what Steve's comment is about. Don't second guess yourself. Find your own path. If your heart and mind are in the right place, trust them.

You missed the point.
post #5 of 62
I agree with Gore. I strongly believe that Steve was not about getting his successors to narrow their agendas to what someone thought he would do (which, btw, led me to also question the whole meme about Apple U and its supposed acculturation mandate/crusade post-Steve).

Steve himself evolved as a leader, and I expect that, in his second incarnation at Apple, just as he became a different type of leader vis-a-vis Apple and its products, he became a different type of leader with respect to Apple and its people. As someone noted, perhaps his greatest legacy will be "iCook."

The second-in-commands that he groomed and put in place are a bunch of incredibly competent people, and it would be foolish to constrain them to some vague, arguable, (and ultimately non-replicable) notion of "what would Steve do". The top managers would probably spend more time fighting over who best represents Steve's legacy in a world like that, and get little done.

Incidentally, Steve could be a hands-off leader too, as evidenced by how he left the creative team at Pixar totally alone to pursue their muse (I am sure, with an occasional nudge).

I think we're all going to have to get used to a different Apple. It'll be truly interesting to see how it evolves, and I, for one, can't wait.

(Aside: Cue the inevitable anti-Goreans; let's hope the thread doesn't get derailed by that nonsense).
post #6 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

They don't have to ask that question because they know by instinct what Steve would have done. He trained them to think that way after he hand picked them.

I completely disagree. You can't just train someone to think the way Jobs did.

I'm sure you could make evolutionary changes to a product to bring it more toward something that Steve would have liked (e.g. by focusing on usability etc).

However the idea that you can just train someone to make the same kind of revolutionary jumps toward products that can disrupt an entire market like Steve did on multiple occasions is just absolutely ludicrous.

Al Gore is right. Apple can't get stuck thinking "what would Steve do?" because they don't know what Steve would do.
post #7 of 62
At least Apple doesn't need to worry about Al Gore stealing iOS and copying its products.
post #8 of 62
Welp, they also shouldn't do what Steve wouldn't do, so that kind of traps them doesn't it.
post #9 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

Welp, they also shouldn't do what Steve wouldn't do, so that kind of traps them doesn't it.

On no, not "Apple is Doomed!" again?
post #10 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

At least Apple doesn't need to worry about Al Gore stealing iOS and copying its products.

No, because Al Gore invented the iPhone, along with the Internet, the electric car, and salt.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

No, because Al Gore invented the iPhone, along with the Internet, the electric car, and salt.

Any truth to the rumor that his voice will be the robotic male Suri in iOS 6?
post #12 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

I completely disagree. You can't just train someone to think the way Jobs did.

Apple can't get stuck thinking "what would Steve do?" because they don't know what Steve would do.

That's correct. It's easy enough to parrot Steve Jobs, imitate him, but don't think for a second that you can think like him. His ability to see into the future and pick out what really mattered and how to get there was uncanny. And not something you can teach.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #13 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

Any truth to the rumor that his voice will be the robotic male Suri in iOS 6?

Impossible. Male Suri does not speak in a monotone.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #14 of 62
Like Gore said. There are allot of projects in the development. I would almost bet that Steve had been involved in future i devices like iPad 3 and beyond. He would have left ideas about what to integrate into the new iPad 3 or even 4. Also ideas about what to do with iOS 6. He had at least two years to work on this and was in constant contact with the Apple team the day before he died. He set the foundation and hired the team. We get to sit back and enjoy what they will release over the years.
An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

At least Apple doesn't need to worry about Al Gore stealing iOS and copying its products.

They might have to worry about Bush stealing them from Gore. Zing!
post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

No, because Al Gore invented the iPhone, along with the Internet, the electric car, and salt.

You forgot Global Warming too.
...which is what happens when you need 3 Apple Cinema Displays.

post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Impossible. Male Suri does not speak in a monotone.

post #18 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

You forgot Global Warming too.
...which is what happens when you need 3 Apple Cinema Displays.


Sorry, I forgot the TV monitor he views from the right side of his head.

post #19 of 62
"Apple board member Al Gore said in an interview on Friday that the late Steve Jobs had specifically told CEO Tim Cook and others to avoid asking themselves what he would have done while attempting to carry on his legacy."

Of course not- they should ask Suri.
post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

Any truth to the rumor that his voice will be the robotic male Suri in iOS 6?

Now what do you think Steve would have thought of that idea?
post #21 of 62
Whenever a visionary dies, technology gets stuck. Henry Ford died - we are still driving essentially the same cars made 110 years ago. Thomas Edison died - we are still stringing electrical lines across poles 130 years later. Alexander Graham Bell died and we are still holding phones up to our ears 100 years later.

Each of those men revolutionized existing technology. No one has made it revolutionary since. Unless someone revolutionizes holograms, I don't think we will be seeing anything but thinner iPad's for the next 100 years.
post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Some industry watchers suggested Apple should appoint an independent chairman from outside the company to take charge.

Some industry watchers are dumb.
post #23 of 62
I didn't agree with all of the marketing and wish Mac pros and creative would be a bit stronger but I still can't believe it. I can't. Hes the only one that did the keynotes TGE best.

You ARE MISSED STEVE!!!
As is my Dad ABD Wifes Dad.
Bummer.
So sad. Life stinks, rather death does but apparently we go somewhere better.
Peace.
post #24 of 62
well, if Al Gore said it, then it's got to be true.
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Some industry watchers suggested Apple should appoint an independent chairman from outside the company to take charge.

Ha ha ha. Sure, let's get an "industry leader" from outside the company to take charge. Er, let's see... HP, Google, Dell, Microsoft, Nokia, Moto, Samsung, Sony, RIM. What's that? They are all getting their asses handed to them by Apple?

Google maybe. If you wanted to destroy Apple. \
post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avidfcp View Post

...But apparently we go somewhere better...

If you only knew, brother... We are but notes in a wind played by a jovial piper.
post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I agree with Gore. I strongly believe that Steve was not about getting his successors to narrow their agendas to what someone thought he would do (which, btw, led me to also question the whole meme about Apple U and its supposed acculturation mandate/crusade post-Steve). ...

Apple U makes sense if you don't think of it as an MBA-like educational system, but instead as a graduate/post-doctoral program in the sciences. I doubt very much if it's about teaching rules and cases, but more about learning to Think Different, which would not involve asking, "What would Steve do?"
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Whenever a visionary dies, technology gets stuck. Henry Ford died - we are still driving essentially the same cars made 110 years ago. Thomas Edison died - we are still stringing electrical lines across poles 130 years later. Alexander Graham Bell died and we are still holding phones up to our ears 100 years later.

Each of those men revolutionized existing technology. No one has made it revolutionary since. Unless someone revolutionizes holograms, I don't think we will be seeing anything but thinner iPad's for the next 100 years.

Henry Ford didn't revolutionize the automobile, his impact is more along the lines of revolutionizing the manufacturing process, although, he was mainly implementing existing ideas and gets credit for it largely because he was in the right industry at the right time.
post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

Sorry, I forgot the TV monitor he views from the right side of his head.



I think its funny how some folks surround themeselves with crap all over their office. Symbolically justifying themesleves as intellectuals.

Al's carbon footprint is as big as___________?

Clean up your office, dude.

   I am long on my shares of AAPL at $37.00

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   I am long on my shares of AAPL at $37.00

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post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

I completely disagree. You can't just train someone to think the way Jobs did. ...

Of course you can. The military and scientific communities have been doing this for years and years. What you can't do is give someone someone else's particular gifts and insights, but you can certainly teach them to think in a way that allows them to most productively apply their own gifts and insights to the subject at hand.
post #31 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Apple U makes sense if you don't think of it as an MBA-like educational system, but instead as a graduate/post-doctoral program in the sciences. I doubt very much if it's about teaching rules and cases, but more about learning to Think Different, which would not involve asking, "What would Steve do?"

That's not what the (major) previous story and thread on this in AI suggested. (I am too lazy to try and find the link now).
post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That's not what the (major) previous story and thread on this in AI suggested. (I am too lazy to try and find the link now).

That article was pretty vague about exactly what Apple U was all about or how it worked. But, which do you think is more likely, that SJ created an internal MBA program, or a system to foster independent, creative, focused thinking within a particular paradigm?
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Apple U makes sense if you don't think of it as an MBA-like educational system, but instead as a graduate/post-doctoral program in the sciences. I doubt very much if it's about teaching rules and cases, but more about learning to Think Different, which would not involve asking, "What would Steve do?"

A place to consider a meeting of liberal arts and technology ...

I was reminded by someone on NPR the other day about how a young Steve insisted on Macintosh having lovely fonts when no one had ever even thought about a computer using typography before. Steve sat in on a course on type faces after he dropped out of his main subject at college and fell in love with kerning, ligatures and leading. His brilliance at melding art and design with technology in so many ways is the SJ hallmark IMHO.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TuckerJJ View Post

Some industry watchers are dumb.

Always remember... "industry watchers" are brought to you by the same folks who brought us leveraged buyouts, the mortgage crisis and too big to fail. What they've done to their industry speaks volumes of what they can do for yours.



Apple is wise to ignore them.
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

I think its funny how some folks surround themeselves with crap all over their office. Symbolically justifying themesleves as intellectuals.

Al's carbon footprint is as big as___________?

Clean up your office, dude.

Go and read the 'High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991' Then claim you are intellectually superior to Al.

I guess you would have been one of those stating that the 'Information Super Highway' was a waste of tax dollars.

From Wikipedia: "A few days after winning the election in November 1992 in The New York Times article "Clinton to Promote High Technology, With Gore in Charge."They planned to finance research "that will flood the economy with innovative goods and services, lifting the general level of prosperity and strengthening American industry." Specifically, they were aiming to fund the development of "robotics, smart roads, biotechnology, machine tools, magnetic-levitation trains, fiber-optic communications, and national computer networks. Also earmarked are a raft of basic technologies like digital imaging and data storage." These initiatives were met with some skepticism from critics who claimed that "the initiative is likely to backfire, bloating Congressional pork, and creating whole new categories of Federal waste."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore...ion_technology

Again from Wikipedia: "President George H. W. Bush was on board. He predicted that the bill would help "unlock the secrets of DNA," open up foreign markets to free trade, and a promise of cooperation between government, academia, and industry.

p.s. Sadly there seems no such initiatives with teeth anymore in tyne USA from either party and the rest of the World is passing us by.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTheta View Post

Always remember... "industry watchers" are brought to you by the same folks who brought us leveraged buyouts, the mortgage crisis and too big to fail. What they've done to their industry speaks volumes of what they can do for yours.



Apple is wise to ignore them.

Amen to that!
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #37 of 62
So that means the market for my WWSJD bracelets went out the window.
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

So that means the market for my WWSJD bracelets went out the window.

No keep at least one for yourself . I suspect it's a good idea for all of us to stop and ask ourselves exactly that now and then even, if we are not running Apple.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Whenever a visionary dies, technology gets stuck. Henry Ford died - we are still driving essentially the same cars made 110 years ago. Thomas Edison died - we are still stringing electrical lines across poles 130 years later. Alexander Graham Bell died and we are still holding phones up to our ears 100 years later.

Each of those men revolutionized existing technology. No one has made it revolutionary since. Unless someone revolutionizes holograms, I don't think we will be seeing anything but thinner iPad's for the next 100 years.

All technology follows a predictable development curve - even Apple's. You start with the concept, test it, refine it and then execute on it. Once established, the rest of the industry follows behind by filling in the niches, expanding to fill the logical (and sometimes silly) uses of the technology until the concept has saturated the industry. Then it becomes time for a new concept to develop - not necessarily related or supporting existing technology - you shift the paradigm and repeat the process.

Until a given technology expands and fills its given range of application there will be no effective new concept that will revolutionize a given technology. Cool ideas are certainly cool (like holography for example), but they do not meet the standard of revolutionizing technology. Therefore, you still have handsets and electrical lines running hither and yon. That being said, you can transmit energy via other means, but those concepts occur within a field of technology that is not yet ripe for a new concept. Evolution is what happens during the maturing phases of a given technology leading up to and following the introduction of a new concept or revolution.

Each one of these phases is necessary to allow the others to happen. You cannot have constant revolution, nor can you have constant evolution. They depend on the other for creating the environment to fuel the process.
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
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If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
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post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

p.s. Sadly there seems no such initiatives with teeth anymore in tyne USA from either party and the rest of the World is passing us by.

Well said.
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