The Economist on Steve Jobs
stares through the ethereal dollar signs floating fish-like in their scrying pools and wonders about Steve Jobs' successor. There's some excellent guesses, but I was most interested in this comparison between Jobs and Warren Buffet:
Mr Jobs is arguably unique in the extent to which his identity and fate are intertwined with those of his company. Imagining Apple without Steve Jobs, or Mr Jobs without Apple, is difficult–as his exile from the company between 1985 and 1997 made plain. Only Warren Buffett, whose investment skill made Berkshire Hathaway what it is, has a comparable importance to his firm’s shareholders. But Mr Buffett acknowledges as much. When he had some benign polyps removed from his colon, he volunteered the details in a press release. He also publicly clarified his succession plan. Mr Jobs has done neither.
That's a deft comparison. There have been many stupid arguments
lately that the health concerns of a man at the head of a public company are somehow taboo to discuss. It certainly may be bad form to play agony aunt to Jobs' health woes as a third party, but The Economist
makes the best point with the Buffett analogy: the perception of Jobs' ill-health can cost his shareholders millions, and their money deserves a better answer than "It's none of your business, bugger off."
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