"...keeping you great"
Who Should Replace Steve Jobs? -- A young entrepreneur - and my specific nominee below.
First, I wish Steve all the best, as he just celebrated his 57th birthday on Friday - and hope he doesn't need to replace himself anytime soon.
Nevertheless, succession planning was front and center at the shareholder meeting this past week and all eyes are on who will introduce the iPad 2 on Tuesday.
So who might replace Jobs if necessary? Conventional wisdom suggests an Apple insider. However, Apple already made the mistake of trying to replace Steve with an experienced corporat-type decades ago. And anyone inside Apple has already had their entrepreneurial instincts diminished.
What Apple needs is another Steve Jobs. Though one in a billion, that leaves six or seven candidates.
The Clue -- The clue for my selection came from a comment Jesse Eisenberg, my choice for the Oscar, made as he described preparing to play Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network." Notes Eiserberg, commenting on perfecting Zuckerberg's laser gaze, "There's a sort of aloof stare that I tried to develop," he says, "and once I captured it, I felt more comfortable."
That aloof, laser-gaze, stare. It's a look I've met only four times in my life. A few others likely have it, but among the top entrepreneurs I've had the pleasure of meeting personally, only Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and Wayne Huizenga had that lead penetrating gaze that cut through you like a knife.
And the fourth? The minute I met this young entrepreneur, as a guest on a panel I chaired in Barcelona last spring, I sensed I had met the next Zuckerberg.
Dennis Crowley -- co-founder of foursquare, would be my choice to replace Steve Jobs. He's young, yet old enough to have made enough mistakes; he's a serial entrepreneur who saw his first baby eaten up by corporate-types; and he gets communication and design - check out this recent blog post to see what I mean -- or his latest TED talk. Someone that can spin out an idea like "manufacturing serendipity" is clever enough to power Apple.
The only strike against Crowley is that he graduated from college, but all leaders have their weaknesses.
Anyway, what Apple needs is another Steve Jobs -- a wicked smart, laser-focused, showman who gets the new world we're in and sees where it's all going. If I were on the board of Apple, I would take the unconventional path. Apple always has and always should! If not Dennis, then someone like him - young with that laser gaze.