Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Steve Jobs: Silicon Valley's Babe Ruth - Fortune's "CEO of the Decade"

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 5, 2009

When I first met Steve Jobs in the mid-80s he was already hailed as a "visionary." I wasn't that impressed.

It wasn't until he had come back to Apple and reinvented the company time and again, and taken risks and failed at some things that I began to appreciate him.

While it is possible to get "lucky" in Silicon Valley, it is very rare to be able to continue being able to build new businesses and continue being successful. Steve Jobs has done that time and again. And he has built incredible shareholder value.

For example, the New York Post, Oct 21, 2009 reported:

shares of Apple soared to a new yearly high and helped Apple's market cap sail past search-engine giant Google for the first time, reaching $179.3 billion, vs. Google's market cap of $174.3 billion.


Money invested in Apple on the day of Google's IPO would have returned far more profit. And the company continues to beat Wall Street expectations nearly every quarter.

Do we have to mention Pixar? The studio hasn't had a single flop - what other movie studio can say that?

You might not like Apple's marketing or the legions of obnoxious fan boys, and you probably wouldn't enjoy working with Steve Jobs because of his notorious micro-management style but you have to give credit where credit is due. Steve Jobs is Silicon Valley's Babe Ruth - he continues to hit them out of the ball park.

Here is Chris Foresman at Ars Technica:

Not a bad list of accomplishments for a man that, despite a bout with cancer and a recent liver transplant, is still a decade away from retirement age.

Fortune Magazine:

Youthful founder gets booted from his company in the 1980s, returns in the 1990s, and in the following decade survives two brushes with death, one securities-law scandal, an also-ran product lineup, and his own often unpleasant demeanor to become the dominant personality in four distinct industries, a billionaire many times over, and CEO of the most valuable company in Silicon Valley.


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