After Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ death, Penn alumni and students have begun to uncover what he has left behind.
Jobs died in his home in Palo Alto, Calif., due to respiratory arrest caused by a pancreatic tumor on Oct. 5. He was 56 years old.
Jobs served as Apple’s chief executive officer since 2000, but resigned from the position in late August due to his poor health.
1963 Wharton MBA recipient John Sculley worked with Jobs between 1982 and 1985.
Jobs had convinced Sculley, then-president of PepsiCo, to join Apple in 1983. Jobs wanted Sculley to help the declining Apple II — the first commercially successful line of personal computers — to continue generating cash flow for three more years while Jobs secured funds to launch the Macintosh computer line.
“I actually turned Steve Jobs down as we were standing on the terrace of his New York City penthouse,” Sculley wrote in an email. “Steve had on his blue jeans and black turtleneck sweater. He paused, look down, then gazed directly at me and said, ‘Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?’”
Sculley went on to become Apple’s CEO from 1983 to 1993. An internal power struggle developed between Jobs and Sculley. Apple’s board of directors urged Sculley to limit Jobs’ influence as head of the Macintosh division. Jobs then planned a coup to remove Sculley from the company but to no avail. In 1985, Sculley, with the board’s approval, removed Jobs’ managerial duties. Jobs left the company shortly after.
Jobs went on to create NeXT Computer, a company that manufactured computers intended for higher education and business. The company was bought by Apple in 1996, which marked Jobs’ return back to the company he had created.
“Steve used to say that he wanted to make a ding in the universe by changing how people work, communicate and play. He envisioned the first Mac as a bicycle for the mind,” Sculley wrote.
Jobs is survived by his wife Laurene Powell Jobs, a 1985 College and Wharton graduate. She currently serves on the National Advisory Board of Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships.
After graduating from Penn, she worked at Merrill Lynch Asset Management and Goldman Sachs.
In 1995, she co-founded College Track, a college preparatory program for under-resourced communities. She has also joined the boards of educational reform organizations such as Teach for America, NewSchools Venture Fund and Stand for Children. In 2010, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to be a member of the White House Council for Community Solutions, which advises the president on how to combat educational and social inequalities across the country.
Her husband’s contribution to the digital age has inspired many young entrepreneurs in the classroom.
The Computer and Information Science Department at Penn offers a course called “iPhone Application Development,” which teaches students to develop applications on Apple’s mobile operating system. Students design and present an iPhone application as their final project.
The class is led by Jim Young, founder of Megatasty LLC, a company that designs and sells social mobile applications in the iTunes App Store.
Engineering junior Jonathan Leung, who is enrolled in the class this semester, enjoys learning from an expert in the field. He cites Apple’s distinctive minimalism as inspiration for his own work.
“By having Apple [practice minimalism] in their products and programs, that paradigm is then copied by other people,” he said.
Wharton and Engineering sophomore Boris Treskunov has also been influenced by Steve Jobs’ minimalist designs.
“[Jobs] stressed that it’s a lot harder to make a simple and elegant program than a complicated one,” he said.
Treskunov added that he has tried to emulate this principle in his own programming projects.
Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative director Peter Fader has witnessed Apple’s impact on education throughout the years.
When he first arrived at Penn in 1987, “people using Apple products were few.”
“Now, if a professor requires software that doesn’t have a Mac version, forget it, you can’t do it,” he added.
Apple’s shares recovered from an initial loss of 1 percent the day after Jobs’ death.
However, Fader believes Apple will now have to employ more conventional business practices, such as intensive market research and predictive modeling.
“It won’t be enough [for Apple] to build it and watch people come anymore,” he said.
Though Apple will have to worker harder in an increasingly competitive market, “[Jobs’] legend will grow even larger, even when Apple slows down a little.”Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.