In seven days, his first keynote as full CEO. The media, and the users, see him as a strong person with a perfect choreography of times and pauses in a presentation ( ) in which there is no time for improvisation. However, there are things about which, no matter how well prepared you are, you have to analyse them after taking a deep breath.
I can imagine him looking at that stage where he’s been rehearsing the keynote for the last few days. Staying up there alone might make you a little dizzy. I’m sure he’s been staring at that stage for a few minutes thinking about what’s about to happen. Or rather, about what is about to begin. I’m sure that while he was reading next Tuesday’s script, hundreds of things went through his mind. Things that perhaps he hasn’t said out loud, the kind of things that only take on inertia after a sigh and a bit of courage.
Let me call you by your first name.
It’s not about who you are. Don’t go on that stage thinking about becoming your predecessor, don’t even think about hoping to find him in you. We’re not looking for another Steve Jobs. We as users, like Apple, need something else.
It happened to me in the keynote of March 2nd, the one on the iPad 2. All of us in the media were already starting the broadcast of the event, when a voice warned us of the beginning of the keynote. Without warning, Jobs appeared. Nobody was expecting him there. Suddenly, all the people in the huge hall stood up and began to applaud him. I couldn’t help but smile in complicity, like when you meet an old friend you don’t expect, but that day, there, I understood that it was something more.
People call us fanboys . They label us as people devoted to a brand, and point to Jobs almost as a religious figure. That’s not what I saw there that day. The faces of the colleagues, also the faces of Apple’s own employees, were not part of a blind belief: It was respect . Respect in capital letters. And that is very difficult to achieve, because you only have respect for someone who is faithful to his or her thoughts, a recognized leader capable of achieving things that few people do.
A respectful applause for a man who was passionate about his work. We are not devoted to a brand, but we are passionate about technology, and in the case of Apple, passionate about how this company understands technology. It all started with that man, but in seven days it continues with you.
You have to understand that we’re going to be very demanding. We’ll ask you to be too. Jobs’ legacy is not only one of the best technology companies in the world, it’s also the team that’s been able to make it happen. We want you to know how to connect those dots, keep it all making sense.
Deep down we’re nostalgic. We’ll compare you to him sometime, it’s inevitable. Don’t become Jobs, but don’t be anything less either : Apple has enough momentum right now to get to where a long, long time ago, two crazy people thought it had to be. That impulse is achieved by taking a deep breath and going out on stage with courage, with a smile mixed with the nerves of someone who starts a journey, of someone who inaugurates a cycle, of someone who throws himself into the void.
I don’t think anyone will be able to give you any advice before you jump on that stage. If I had to tell you something, it’s that you should always keep one thing in mind: Power is given, but respect has to be earned. And if someone who was applauded in that way trusted you enough to take the helm of Apple, I have no doubt that an exciting time lies ahead.
Breathe, and be brave.
Good luck, Tim.