Long-Term Vision

by NJB // // Broomfield, CO

© 2023 Nantucket E-Books LLC

CC-BY-SA 4.0

The continuing downturn at Twitter has me thinking about Steve Jobs’ return to Apple back in 1997. I should say up front that I would not describe Jobs as a personal hero (I would more likely give that title to Steve Wozniak), but I think Jobs had some leadership qualities that are sorely lacking at Twitter, or “X Corp” as it now called.

After being forced out of Apple, Jobs spent over a decade building a new company called NeXT Computer. While NeXT was never a major player in the PC market, the company had a working operating system and a long-term vision for that operating system. Meanwhile, Apple had a lot of ideas for the future of the Mac platform, but nothing practical on the way. The successors to System 7, the infamous “Pink” and “Blue”, were stalling, and Windows 95 showed that Microsft had caught up to Apple in building graphical interfaces. The leadership at Apple decided their next OS would come from outside the company (they even considered Windows NT!), and eventually chose to purchase NeXT.

Jobs’ public apperances after returning to Apple are still worth watching today. In a concise and logical manner, he explains the work on the NeXT operating system, the benefits of NeXT, and his long-term plan for how NeXT will help Apple get back on track. Jobs talks about some areas where Apple was struggling, but also the great strengths Apple had to offer, such as its high brand-recognition, and its dominance in the educational market.

Watching these presentations from 1997, you see someone articulating why their product is the right fit for the future of Apple, and how they are going to bring Apple back to financial health. Even if you are not a fan of Apple, or Steve Jobs, I think you can appreciate his talent for presentation. A quarter-century later, I watch these videos, and I think to myself, “Yeah, I could buy into his idea.”

I have included links below to some of these presentations and talks. I will make particular note of the MacWorld video, where Jobs asks the audience to reject the idea that “for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.” To the contrary, says, Jobs, “For Apple to win, Apple has to do really, really well.” I try to keep this philosophy close to the heart of Nantucket E-Books. I’ve gotten to know quite a few people who run e-book platforms of their own, and share some of my philosophies like browser-based e-books, and the rejection of DRM. Nantucket E-Books will succeed in this field by doing really well, by providing the best experience for writers and readers alike.

Steve Jobs returns to Apple

Steve Jobs at MacWorld 1997

Steve Jobs at WWDC 1997

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