Thinking “what Steve would think”

Ken Segall on Luke Dormehl’s article "7 things Steve Jobs would have hated about Apple today" on Cult of Mac:

...this is a pointless exercise. So many things have changed in the three years since Steve’s passing, it’s hard to make these judgments. And then there’s the fact that Steve himself presided over a number of Apple low points. So the idea that he would frown upon today’s Apple — which is doing well in so many big ways — is quite a leap.

Ken goes on to take apart each of the '7 things' in Luke's post. It's spot on and entertaining. But Ken saves the most important bit for his closing paragraph:

Steve had incredibly good values, and I do hope Apple continues to be guided by those values. But it’s kind of pointless to wonder what he would think — especially when he’s the guy who told us to think different. [emphasis mine]

Ken gets it. Steve didn't build the Mac, the iPhone ... the iPad. Steve built a company that builds incredible products. And central to its success are the values that guide its people. After all, what is a company but a collection of people?

Steve knew this. That's why Steve started Apple University - a way to protect Apple's values and overall culture as it grew well beyond Steve's ability to do this himself.

So the question isn't "What would Steve do? or "Would Steve approve?" The question is how well can Apple maintain (or allow to grow in healthy ways) its values, its culture, its purpose.

Tim knows this:

You know, I was at Compaq at a time where the objective was to become a $40 billion company. Well, employees don't get excited about that. This isn't something you wake up and you go, "I'm going to take the hill today to do 40" -- I mean, you know? It's just not that. But changing the world -- these are the things that people work for. And this pushes people. And so, this is who we are as people. It's the values of our company. It's been the values of our company forever. And it's to Steve's credit. He put these values in the company. It wasn't just his values. It was his mentoring and teaching that instilled these deep in the company. And so, if I step off the curb this afternoon -- I hope I don't -- but if I do, those will be the values of the company tomorrow. And the next day and the next day. It's that deep. I know I probably said it too many times, but it's a privilege of a lifetime to be there, because I think there's no place like it on earth.