What if Apple brand, under the new leadership of CEO Tim Cook, was known equally well for its different thinking in the social change space, as well as the technology innovation space?
I was just reading this NY Times article: The mystery of Steve Jobs’ public giving, and the comments there. It’s about the enigma of The Possible Philanthroper Steve Jobs. It’s a great collection of public information available about his social involvement, financial and otherwise, and it also makes the inevitable comparisons to the more public giving of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, even Mark Zuckerberg.
Heroes are people too
Now I know that this article was published before the tragic passing of Steve Jobs, but there were two things that struck me. Firstly, the assumption we tend to have that we can have some sort of ownership over public figures. We look up to people like Steve Jobs as role models, we aspire to their characteristics, and we build up a model in our minds about who they are and what they stand for. But when there are gaps in that model, we sometimes feel we have a right to know what fills them.
Leander Kahney, author of Inside Steve’s Brain, speaking of Steve Jobs is quoted (via Wired commentary): “Yes, he has great charisma and his presentations are good theater. But his absence from public discourse makes him a cipher. People project their values onto him, and he skates away from the responsibilities that come with great wealth and power.”
Surely that’s his prerogative? He was known so much for his vision, innovation and leadership; surely there’s room for respecting those ‘gaps’ that aren’t served up to us as well? Yes, it’s a great argument that he has ‘responsibilities’, but not every great leader has aggressive debilitating cancer. In other words, we have to consider the whole person and their situation.
The changing of the guard, and a renewed opportunity
Which brings me to the second thing. The opportunity before Apple to make a big — and I mean, a BIG difference. I know that we (rightly or wrongly) basically regard Apple Inc. and its corporate policies as being Steve Job’s policies. So his own personal philanthropic efforts seem to mirror those of Apple Inc. Private, undisclosed. Not a part of his public persona, not a part of the Apple brand.
But with tragic loss comes the opportunity for enormous good. The tragic loss of Steve Jobs could be a positive catalyst for change for Apple as a brand, under the new leadership of CEO Tim Cook. Whatever happens, Apple will become, if you like Apple 2.0 under his stewardship. He has an incredible opportunity to re-chart Apple’s destiny as a brand that speaks of social responsibility as well as of innovation and all the familiar hallmarks. Others are wondering this too.
The campaign to ask Apple to support cancer research
I’m actually trying to raise this with Apple at the moment, through an email campaign: Dear Apple: Please donate $1 to cancer research for every iPhone sold.
I’m sure that there’s thousands of avid Apple devotees out there — and loyal they are — that would be gratified to know that Apple 2.0 includes extending the ‘Think Different’ maxim to supporting pancreatic cancer research efforts for early detection, treatment and cure. And no, it doesn’t necessarily need to be by skimming of $1 per iPhone sale to fund charities; there are loads of ways this could happen.
Ladies and gentlemen, Apple fans and non-fans alike, we can ask Apple to make this change. Please consider going to the link above and sending an email? Thanks.