Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is AAPL Steve Jobs?

The market is alive with clatter about whether or not Apple disclosed enough information about Steve Jobs' medical condition. On one hand, I understand the concern, but on the other, I wonder exactly why people invest in Apple. Do they believe that all of a sudden a large company like Apple will lose its vision, style and prestige if Steve Jobs doesn’t return to his post? I almost feel like the secrecy revolving Jobs' ailments aligns perfectly with the overall mystery of the company.

It's interesting, as one becomes such a public figure, privacy quickly deteriorates and I'm not just talking celebrities and political figures. It seems these days, people want to know all the nuts and bolts about the high-powered business society.

While I do believe that Jobs' helped invigorate a lackluster Apple many years ago, I also believe that there is life after Jobs. I would hope that the company has become a well-oiled machine and is cruising at this point. Innovation, as I understand it, is vaster in that company than just one person. The SEC may judge Jobs' liver problem as a material investor fact that should have been disclosed, but in my opinion, it's only material if you believe Apple is Steve Jobs.

As an investor, I understood the undertone’s severity when Jobs decided to take a medical leave of absence.


Anonymous said...

It brings up a similar question, would you invest in Berkshire Hathaway (assuming you could afford it) if Warren Buffett was not there?

paragon2pieces said...

I actually think it's fairly common (although not as highly publicized) for publicly traded companies to be reliant on one leader for one reason or another.

This week at work, I was drafting documents for a credit facility and, as part of the deal, the lenders insisted that the company take out key man insurance on the CEO. I know the context is slightly different, but the message is similar: the lenders think the company is toast without this one, particular leader.

paragon2pieces said...

Okay, thinking more about what I just wrote, it might be that requiring key man insurance is just a basic CYA thing and not crazy-significant.

Julie said...

I think a really good leader should be able to create a company that works without her. It's scary to think that a stock's price may be dependent on one person... that wouldn't be a good long-term investment! Steve Jobs might be an exception, but I don't imagine the average tenure of a CEO is significantly long, is it?