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    What Could (Should?) Steve Jobs And Other Admired CEOs


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    What Could (Should?) Steve Jobs And Other Admired CEOs

    Post by venom on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:29 pm

    What Could (Should?) Steve Jobs And Other Admired CEOs Do To Bolster Investor Confidence?

    Once upon a time in America, financier J.P. Morgan had enough clout to pretty much buoy the economy by his lonesome. This time around, we’ve seen Warren Buffett step up with some epic, timely moves to bolster confidence in the financial system. And yet, as of this writing, stocks continue to plummet as panic engulfs financial markets around the globe.

    Clearly, the market could use more leadership from other admired business leaders, most of whom have remained silent to this point. And who is more widely admired and well-known than Steve Jobs? And what executive has a better appreciation for the power of a well-timed gesture, or for showing leadership in troubled times?

    I realize that it’s not Jobs’ job to rescue the world’s investors, Superman-style. It’s not, and he can’t. While Buffet is a financier, Jobs just makes Macs and i-Devices. In fact, I’ve always respected his refusal to pontificate when asked about the health of the economy. I’ve asked him for his outlook various times over the years, and he’s almost certain to say “I’m not an economist.”

    Normally, I find such focus and self-awareness commendable, but these are not normal times. So what could Steve or others of his stature do to have a positive impact? I e-mailed Jobs to see if he’d given the topic any thought, but haven’t heard back. So just to get the ball rolling, here are some ideas.

    For a start, Jobs could do what he usually does when he has something to say: create a great ad campaign (or as a fallback, write a memo). I’m thinking of something akin to a public service announcement. The point wouldn’t be to suggest that everything will be rosy—which it won’t—but rather to urge for calm in these scary times. After all, he and other entrepreneurs have all been through such periods in their careers. Some straight talk about how they’ve dealt with adversity in the past, and how they’re dealing with it now, might calm some nerves. Heck, why not have the gang down at Chiat Day create spots featuring not only Jobs, but also invite people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, Charles Schwab, Richard Branson, or maybe Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus to share their perspectives as well.

    Of course, an ad campaign with no concrete actions behind it would be an empty gesture. In that regard, an obvious place to start is with stock buybacks, as Fred Wilson at A VC suggested yesterday. This has never been much of a priority for Apple, which is one reason the company’s cash kitty has swelled to an enormous $21 billion. But if there was ever a time for Jobs to show the market that he felt AAPL shares are undervalued, it would be now (either with Apple’s cash, or even better, with his own).

    And maybe it’s time to use some of that $21 billion rainy day fund, in ways that benefit both Apple and the larger economy. How about offering credit-worthy customers with what is in shortest supply: credit. I’m not suggesting Apple empower more of the unsustainable borrowing at the root of the crisis. But Apple sells computers to thousands of schools, philanthropies and non-profits, all of which are bound to get hit hard as interest rates rise and charitable donations drop. Maybe Apple could come up with some innovative way to help them weather the hard times. And of course, some well-thought out financing programs for consumers could result in a few more Macs and iPods under the Christmas trees this year.

    Then there’s M&A. Right now there’s a slew of young, innovative companies with low, low, low valuations. Many of them are a few years old, and are in danger of starvation in the next year or so if VCs choose to cut their losses. “The best thing [the cash-rich tech heavyweights] can do for themselves and for the global economy is to buy up innovation. It’s critical that we don’t let a generation of promising start-ups die” as a result of bad timing, says Bill Nguyen, CEO of digital music company La La Media.

    So would such gestures from Jobs make a dent in the vast downdraft of confidence? Probably not. But it certainly couldn’t hurt. If the best businessmen among us believe we can still avoid or at least limit the damage of a historic economic downturn, it would be nice to see some of them peak out of their bunkers. Of course, if they don’t believe better days are coming any time soon….well, maybe it’s best that they stay where they are.
    Super Saiyan 3
    Super Saiyan 3

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    Re: What Could (Should?) Steve Jobs And Other Admired CEOs

    Post by dmxplosive on Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:33 pm

    now that is a long post
    Super Saiyan 2
    Super Saiyan 2

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    Re: What Could (Should?) Steve Jobs And Other Admired CEOs

    Post by macbook on Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:36 pm

    yeah i don't even feel like reading it

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