Pharma Researchers Are Finding Innovative Ways to Help Apple Survive without Jobs

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by: Idris Mootee

There are a lot of talks about Apple’s future and how Apple can survive without Jobs. Jobs is probably the most hands on CEO in the world (for companies of this size) and I’ve heard many stories from his direct reports how he makes all final decisions even on very small things. I mean small things such as the placement of logo and small design touches.

For every Apple design project, Jobs will hold meetings of 3 hours every week or two with core members of the product team and he critiques the work in progress and also suggests adding or cutting features. No questions he takes pride in bringing his touch. That brings the questions what would happen to Apple without Job’s magic touch?

Will Apple slowly become more institutional than entrepreneurial? Not saying it is a good thing or bad thing. Remember when Sculley was Apple’s CEO for10 years, during which it became one of the biggest PC makers in the world and saw its revenues increase ten-fold –from $1 billion annual revenues to $10 billion. After that the winds changed.

Job’s obsessiveness, vision and passion for innovation and elegance design have been turned into distinct processes (I’ve seen people there doing things the Job’s way without knowing it) that will ensure Apple delivers a steady pipeline of hit products for a while – with or without him. There are enough innovations going on to last 3-4 years even if Jobs is not around. So short term, Apple will be doing OK. Steve Jobs’ spirit has been institutionalized over the years and it can power the company for a while.

Longer term it is a different story, it is not as simple as trying to guess what Steve Jobs will do when making a difficult decision. Jobs is more than a smart, lucky, rich successful businessman. Jobs is more than a visionary designer, he is not really a believer that “wisdom of crowds" is better than "experts" or “open innovation”. Data can come from the mass, but the innovative concept is defined and refined by the experts. It is the intelligent collaboration of both. He understands the complex realities of the industries and yet willing to find ways to disrupt it. We can’t go out and ask people on the street or in focus groups “what the next big thing?” There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me "A faster horse." ‘

Jobs can find passionate people like him to work for him. Jobs talks to the need for passion in addition to smarts, "They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself." There needs to be love. I don’t think we can find another CEO that has more “love” than Jobs. There is not a lot of love in the corporate world. True love is hard to find.

Job once said "Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life." This day will come, may be in 10 or 20 or 30 years we hope. What can Apple do to prepare itself? Here’s a plan.

A study of entrepreneurs has found that the best chance of producing entrepreneurs of the calibre of Steve Jobs or Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin could lie in a bottle of pills. Research conducted by Cambridge University scientists has concluded that one way of fostering the kind of "riskier decision-making" needed to start a new venture could be through pharmaceuticals. Phara companies love this…another medical solution to our problem.

The scientists found that many of the cognitive processes that are peculiar to the entrepreneur – as opposed to manager – are regulated by the neurotransmitter, dopamine. This brain chemical, which plays a big part in conditions such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, is known to respond to drugs. The findings raise the question of whether one could enhance entrepreneurship pharmacologically.

As part of the study – funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council – the scientists had entrepreneurs and managers complete a computerized neurocognitive assessment measuring various aspects of their decision-making abilities. Let’s accelerate the development and make sure every Apple executive will be taking the “Job’s Pills” or for brand marketing reason the "iPill." Expect to see them at an Apple store near you.

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