Usually, when a CEO leaves a company, the tributes to him or her are overblown.
No one person is that much bigger than the product or business, 99 times out of 100. Most anyone else below the big chief can do that job.
And yet, with the news that Steve Jobs is stepping down, it definitely seems like the hype is about accurate.
This guy changed the world. His brilliant innovations with Apple are too numerous to be named here; there’s probably no area of technology that Jobs and Apple haven’t had a hand in. (if you’re reading this on an iPhone, I rest my case).
Jobs has been sick for a while, so Wednesday’s news isn’t a huge surprise, I guess.
But it still feels like the end of an era. What a remarkable career he’s had; people forget that he was thought to be all washed up when he left Apple. Check out this interview from 1994, and see how prescient this man was.
**You think your school district has funding problems? Please. You haven’t seen the trouble facing Carlisle, Pa. How desperate are these folks? They’re not using lawnmowers anymore to cut the grass at two local schools. They’re using sheep.
That’s right, sheep. Seven of ’em, on loan from the principal of the middle school. (Why does the principal own seven sheep? I’m guessing that’s a whole ‘nother story).
Embarrassing that a school district would have to do this. But hey, also educational for the kids? Who needs a field trip to the animal farm when you’ve got Dolly and Co. right outside the classroom window?
**How often in life do you get to stand five feet away from professional athletes, as they play some of the biggest matches of their career?
Not often. Which is why I did something I’ve always wanted to do this week: Go to the qualifying tournament at the U.S. Open.
For those not familiar with the “qualies” it works like this: If you’re a pro tennis player ranked in the top 100 or so, you automatically get into the U.S. Open. If you’re not, you have to play your way in through what’s called a qualifying tournament. For several days you try to beat other men and women desperate to make it into the main draw.
Every year before the Open they open the National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y. and let fans watch the qualies for free. I went this year and it was fantastic. You can literally get five feet from these men and women while they’re playing; you can’t do that with any other sport.
Sure, there were no huge famous names like Roger Federer or Serena Williams playing, but these were true pros fighting their guts out, and in many cases the money they were trying to win would determine whether they could keep playing as a pro next year.
It was great fun. And yeah, there may be some more U.S. Open posts from me next week; I’m going at least twice, and hoping for more. In the immortal words of Bart Scott, I can’t wait.