The Investment Industry's Admiration For Steve Jobs

There has been so much excellent commentary about the loss of Steve Jobs. What I have to add is just an observation about the investment industry’s admiration for Jobs and what he built with Apple.

In my experience both within mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) companies and consulting to them, Apple has been the singular company referred to in marketing conversations. The exchanges go something like this:

“We want to be known for that, you know, like Apple is.”

Or “Something simple yet powerful and distinctive, you know, like Apple.”

Or even, “We want to be the Apple of investing.”

“Jobs was always designer-in-chief. He knew from the start that his task was to tell engineers, here's how it should look, sound, feel; here's how the controls should work; it should be this big and cost that much. Now do it. Let me know when you're finished.”

That’s a quote from a commentary in today’s Wall Street Journal and it absolutely nails what impressed me so much about Jobs. He insisted on his vision being executed. He knew there was a way and he wasn’t going to accept a second-best.

Maybe this also explains the Apple aspirations of asset manager Sales, Marketing and investment teams that struggle with the challenges of ownership changes, regulated communications, underinvestment in marketing and suboptimal technology implementations.

When the “you know, like Apple” is invoked in meetings, it’s invariably followed by a self-conscious smile and a shrug. Time to get back to reality.

In fact, so much is out of our control that it has been exciting and inspirational to think that there was a man in our lifetime who built a team and a company in our lifetime that was exactly what he had in mind. And, the results were some of the delights of our lifetime.

Others in the investment space remember Jobs for different reasons. Here’s a sampling of some of their tributes.