“You suffer for your soup.” - Kramer to the Soup Nazi (Seinfeld)
As the first Christmas approaches without Apple founder Steve Jobs, it's worth pausing for a moment to appreciate what he has left behind.
In addition to an astoundingly healthy business with $80 billion in the bank, recentanalysis by Andy Zaky of Bullish Cross suggests that in the current holiday quarter, Apple will record its largest earnings blowout ever.
This is on top of unparalleled customer loyalty and brand recognition, not to mention a potent halo effect generated by Apple's iPhone, iPad and Mac products.
Yet, according to analyst Zaky, Apple remains the most undervalued large cap stock in America. It's almost as if Apple is saving "one more thing" for the holidays; this one, a stocking-stuffer for investors.
I bring this last point up because the notion of Apple still being undervalued (and under-appreciated), despite the accomplishments, accolades and attention, suggests something about the human condition; namely, that when faced with an exceedingly bright and brilliant light, our minds naturally filter it down a bit.
But true greatness, the kind realized by Jobs in his life, and by Edison, Disney and Ford before him, is best appreciated without filters, for it is something that is experienced perhaps only once in a generation.
With that in mind, I want to share three takeaways from Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs that spotlight both the greatness of the man and the price that greatness demands.
"The flu game"
In the annals of professional sports, there is perhaps no individual performance more emblematic of greatness in action, than "the flu game" in the 1997 NBA Finals, where a flu-ridden Michael Jordan overcame a stomach virus that had rendered him weak and dehydrated to score 38 points and lead his Chicago Bulls to a 90-88 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 5. They won the series in six games.
That one man could overcome, no ignore, failing health to will his team to victory is both a defining example of the greatness of Michael Jordan as a basketball player, and no different than how Jordan approached every game that he played.
I thought about this a lot in reading Jobs' bio, inasmuch as one of the key takeaways (for me) from the book was how Apple's rise from the ashes was largely accomplished with its leader fighting not a flu, but cancer, and not for one game, but for eight years.
Read the full post HERE.
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- Apple's Halo Effect
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- Apple's segmentation strategy, and the folly of conventional wisdom