Well, I understand where this is coming from, however, its still baffles me every time I read a story trying to answer this question. It’s a great headline and the purpose of this headline is to generate interest and therefore page views. This week happens to be the 1-year anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs and many business journalists are treating the opportunity as a means to stir up…something.
Dan Gross’s article on CNNmoney.com is the latest to run with this trope. It’s a nice list of the usual suspects (Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Jonathan Ive, & Elon Musk) as well as a few interesting choices (Marissa Mayer, Seth Priebatsch, a brief mention of Phil Schiller). I am somewhat surprised Jack Dorsey wasn’t on his list and I guess given the Apple Maps snafu, Scott Forstall (AKA Mini Steve) was also left off the list.
But to be honest and direct, these “lists” are bullshit. Not because no one should ever be compared to Steve Jobs but because they are disingenuous to the other people on these lists. Bezos, Zuckerberg, Musk, and many many other creative leaders not mentioned in these round ups are leaders and leaders lead. They have their own goals and objectives, challenges and tribulations, and they do what is best for their firm. In other words, they are leaders in their own right and a comparison to others is a fruitless exercise.
Steve Jobs had many strengths, as well as, many weaknesses, and I doubt any of the leaders on these lists have “being more like Steve Jobs” on their “to-do” list when they get up this morning.
Something to think about today…
Associate Professor of Marketing
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University