Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

I would like to say a few words for Steve Jobs, who passed away today. With their Apple II, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak brought personal computing out of the science labs and back offices and into average American homes in the 1970’s. The Macintosh, a brilliant synergy of great hardware and a user-friendly software interface, created a sea change in home computing which still raises our expectations today. Under Jobs’s iconic leadership, we live today in a connected world led by iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac – with multiple continents of competitors whose very imitation of Apple’s pioneering human interface standards is itself a tribute to the company and employees that started it all.

Steve Jobs put Cupertino on the map. Cupertino sparked the whole Silicon Valley explosion – and ethic – that remains such an inspiration and model for American business and engineering, as well as for the rest of us. I grew up with Apple, so to speak, from my first Apple II in 1979 to the iMac I’m using to write this. Ironically, I happened to order my first iPad2 earlier today. Apple set the standards for human interface design: never because they said so or because they did it first, but because the Apple design was so logical and intuitive.

I’ve no particular fear for the corporate future of Apple, which should be rosy. Jobs built an insanely great team and design philosophy. His was the legacy of an idea: deceptively simple Zen-like design of powerful and well-thought-out software. We recognize corporations sometimes lose momentum when the founder departs. In Apple’s case, the idea of excellence became an integral part of the corporate culture. It promises a brilliantly innovative future.

We will read and see a great deal more about Mr. Jobs now that we’ve lost him, as people begin to realize anew how much he gave us.

I would like to say thank you, Steve Jobs. My condolences to his family and to all who knew him and looked up to him.

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Christie Bows Out

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced he was “not ready” to run for President. Pundits said he was “not ready” to address the concerns of a right-wing theological Republican base.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins says the New Jersey governor’s support for an anti-bullying initiative could discourage social conservatives from voting for him if he does run. Read more: The Daily Caller

I’m probably one of the last people in the world who’d be regarded as qualified to judge whether Christie had the right stuff to become GOP frontrunner candidate. I stopped voting Republican – any candidate, any office – early in the Bush Administration. Christie doesn’t buy same-sex marriage, but he’s against bullying. I have no idea whether Christie has mapped out a comprehensive platform on all the issues, or had time to assemble a staff to work it out. What I’m hearing from the voters is that they think maybe this is a good thing. I liked the sound bites I heard.

Christie was a plain talker – not in the rubber-stamp agenda-driven style of a Perry or Cain, but in an enormously refreshing, broad-based and common-sense way. Christie was a man who knew how to answer a direct question. He struck me as a politician who is concerned with the well-being of all his constituents, not with the nefarious machinations of some political party.

Maybe the Republican Party just isn’t ready for Chris Christie.

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Warren Buffett: “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich”

World-respected billionaire Warren Buffett wrote an August 14 article “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich” in the New York Times. I’d highly recommend this short read!

I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000.”

  • Warren Buffett also discusses his column, payroll taxes, income taxes and the general outlook on the Monday August 15 The Charlie Rose Show.

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