Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time to say goodbye to Steve Jobs?

A day after his appearance to sell iCloud to developers, Steve Jobs emerged from seclusion Tuesday night to sell his vision of a new 12,000 employee corporate campus to Cupertino politicians.

Apple has been HQ in Cupertino for more than 30 years, most recently at the Infinite Loop facility originally intended to house R&D employees but one that housed most of the company during the cutbacks of the darkest days of the 1990s.

Steve Jobs doesn’t make many public appearances nowadays because (one presumes) he’s really really sick. He doesn’t do trade shows or general press interviews although he was able to make it three months ago when the POTUS flew into town.

When his time is scarce, Steve Jobs doesn’t do anything by chance or whim. That he showed up to wow the part-time council members (monthly salary: $730/month) in a small town of 50,000 suggests that this is really important to him.

And even for a company as insanely profitable as Apple, the spaceship motif campus (a round Pentagon) to replace the old HP facilities on the 150-acre site is over the top.

So my guess — and it’s only a guess — is that Steve wants to create a permanent, tangible legacy for his life that will outlive people’s recollections of his role transforming the PC, mobile phone and tablet industries. The new facility will be a lasting testimony to the success of Apple during the early 21st century, just as the PanAm and Rockefeller and Carnegie and other buildings testified to the success of their respective patrons.

Maybe Steve will eventually return as Apple CEO. Maybe he’s just hedging his bets in case his health doesn’t improve as he and his family pray will occur.

But with or without the bronze statue of Steve out in front — ala Walt Disney at Disneyland — Steve already has more of a legacy than ten CEOs randomly selected from the Fortune 500. He doesn’t need a building or statue as proof.

No comments: