Yesterday, one of my MBA students brought his new iPad into my office. I was mesmerized by this sleek 9.7 inch, 1.5 pound device. He showed me the incredibly high definition picture on one of the movies he had rented from Apple‘s media pipeline and then proceded to show me his well organized ebook shelf. He opened up one of the books and flipped through the pages by gently touching the screen. As an author and avid reader I was immediately hooked. I knew I had to have an iPad! I looked at his backpack filled with heavy, very expensive textbooks and I realized that in a very short period of time all of my students would have their textbooks loaded on one of Steve’s innovative Apple iPad tablets. I thought about all of the trees that would be saved.
In December of 2009, I delivered a commencement speech to the graduating class at my University and used Steve Jobs as my inspiration. Here are some excerpts from my speech:
” For 25 years, I have had the good fortune and privilege of teaching the capstone course in the MBA program. In my Strategic Management class, we analyze business cases. This generally involves the practical application of theoretical models and equations to a company’s performance metrics. My students are placed in the role of the CEO and are required to generate a strategic plan with innovative ideas for the company to pursue. The execution of these plans should create long-term prosperity for the company’s stakeholders.
Generally, most graduate students are concerned with how to get an “A” in the course, but now that your classes are over–you have bigger fish to fry. You have to be concerned about how to get an “A” in life. Since commencement speeches provide an opportunity to impart practical advice, I’d like to share some mental models that may help you achieve the lofty goal of getting an “A” in life. Ideals that you can put in your pocket and take with you for the rest of your life.
*The first model is a score that computes outstanding performance:
In class we analyze a company’s Altman Z Score, a bankruptcy prediction model. But for the 2009 graduating class, I have developed a Steve Score! The Steve Score is based upon the extraordinary performance of Apple’s founder and CEO Steve Jobs. I truly believe that Steve is the quintessential leader and deserves to be extremely proud of his professional accomplishments. His track record embodies the core characteristics of this model. Let’s discuss the attributes that contribute to the Steve Score.
1. Steve is a cancer survivor and recently underwent a liver transplant. Although his health problems are of great concern to the company’s shareholders, it doesn’t stop Steve from persevering, which is the one of the five attributes of the Steve Score.
2. His company’s integrated digital lifestyle strategy has generated robust financial and stock performance. This strategy has allowed Apple to defy the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. As consumer spending retrenched, Apple’s revenue and profit soared, which demonstrates his ability to effectively prioritize.
3. He earned the coveted CEO of the decade award from Fortune Magazine in November. His company has earned Business Week’s “Most Iinnovative Company” award two years in a row. This exemplifies his ability to master his craft through practice, the third component of the Steve score.
4. Do you realize that if you had purchased 50 shares of Apple stock in 1991 at about $40 a share, you would have experienced 2 stock splits (2000 & 2005) and your $2000 investment would be worth about $50,000 today. That’s a nice down payment on a swanky condo. If the CEO is responsible for generating long-term shareholder wealth, then Steve has definitely accomplished his task. This demonstrates the fourth component of the Steve Score—patience.
In my graduate course, when we analyze a company’s Z score we monitor how effectively the company uses assets to generate sales, profits and shareholder wealth. In Steve’s case, when he returned to the helm of Apple in 2000, it was on the verge of bankruptcy and had a very low z score. Steve is passionate about Apple. He uses his entrepreneurial capital. He leveraged his drive, integrity, wisdom and experience to catapult Apple to one of the most admired brands in the world. He retains a team of devoted engineers and marketers. He relentlessly introduces new products and services to distribute in the internet ecosystem. Customers are willing to pay premium prices for Apple’s devotion to innovation. Passion becomes the fifth component of the Steve score.
In summary, to earn a high Steve Score you must:
1. Prioritize: put first things first and begin with the end in mind.
2. Be passionate about what you do: get excited about it, embrace it and nurture it!
3. Persevere: Don’t quit until you have completed your journey-be persistent in your purpose.
4. Be patient with yourself. If you make a mistake, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward.
5. Practice your craft: repeat and execute until you get it right.”
Listen to Steve’s Commencement Speech at Stanford http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc.
Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
P.S. Thanks Steve for putting my Florence and Tuscany Book in your Apple iBookstore!