Steve Jobs: Silicon Valley's Babe Ruth (and Fortune's CEO of the decade)

Summary:Love or hate Apple but you have to give Steve Jobs his due -- he has an amazing track record of success, and he's not done yet...

I wasn't that impressed when I first met Steve Jobs in the mid-80s. He was already hailed as a "visionary" but I just viewed him as being lucky - right place, right time.

It wasn't until he had come back to Apple and reinvented the company time and again, and taken risks and failed at some things that I began to appreciate his talents.

In Silicon Valley it is very rare to be able to continue being able to build new businesses and continue being successful. Steve Jobs has done that time and again. And he has built incredible shareholder value.

For example, the New York Post, Oct 21, 2009 reported:

shares of Apple soared to a new yearly high and helped Apple's market cap sail past search-engine giant Google for the first time, reaching $179.3 billion, vs. Google's market cap of $174.3 billion.

Money invested in Apple on the day of Google's IPO would have returned far more profit. And the company continues to beat Wall Street expectations nearly every quarter.

Do we have to mention Pixar? The studio hasn't had a single flop - what other movie studio can say that?

You might not like Apple's marketing or the legions of obnoxious fan boys, and you probably wouldn't enjoy working with Steve Jobs because of his notorious micro-management style but you have to give credit where credit is due. Steve Jobs is Silicon Valley's Babe Ruth - he continues to hit them out of the ball park.

Here is Chris Foresman at Ars Technica:

Not a bad list of accomplishments for a man that, despite a bout with cancer and a recent liver transplant, is still a decade away from retirement age.

Fortune Magazine writes:

Youthful founder gets booted from his company in the 1980s, returns in the 1990s, and in the following decade survives two brushes with death, one securities-law scandal, an also-ran product lineup, and his own often unpleasant demeanor to become the dominant personality in four distinct industries, a billionaire many times over, and CEO of the most valuable company in Silicon Valley.

I'm looking forward to Steve Jobs next decade. There's still room on the scoreboard.

Topics: Apple, Banking, Legal


In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to become a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley. Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leading comput... Full Bio

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