While the world mourns the loss of the innovative founder of Apple Inc., Wei-Chung Wang, assistant professor of economics, discusses Jobs’ impact on the business world.
Wang: In economics there are certain production factors we consider important: land, labor, and capital. We tend to downplay the fourth one, which is most important: entrepreneurship. The reason we tend to downplay entrepreneurship is because it’s very hard to quantify the impact of it. Entrepreneurship is what Steve Jobs brought to the table. I think his leadership has inspired a lot of people in the same industry.
If you want to hit the market and become a successful business, one: you create a model that’s different from others. You could sell at a cheaper price, sell a better quality product, or a never-before-seen product, and people appreciate the innovation. Second: you create a whole new business model, and it’s going to generate revenue. Jobs deeply believed that Apple is not a computer company, but a digital media company. He created the iPod and iStores to go with the iPod. He invented that and changed the business model. The iPod is a new product along with a new business model, so he created two things at same time, not only a new business model, but a product never seen previously.
Q: Jobs left the company a few months ago. Have there so far been any noticeable effects of his loss for Apple?
A: I don’t think so. He was a visionary, so people still have confidence in Apple because Jobs had already planned out new products for the next generations. I think that’s obvious in the stock market. Investors were not turned away (when Jobs left). Obviously Timothy Cook has his own style, but I think the creative part will last for at least a little while.
Q: What do you think will happen from here? How will Apple fare in the future without Jobs?
A: iPhone 5, iPhone 6. I’m pretty sure Jobs was deeply involved in the process. Of course I don’t know the details, but that’s what everybody’s guessing. Apple’s biggest company, Foxxcon, provides most of Apple’s products, and according to one interview, the chairman of Foxxcon said he wouldn’t worry about the creativity of the company. Jobs had been deeply involved before he stepped down.
Q: What impacts has Jobs left on the business world? On the technology industry?
A: One of my students lined up to get the iPad 2, and he said there was a long line. Everybody was talking about how excited and happy they were, and he said it’s not a selling event anymore, it’s a religion. The brand awareness that Apple created is amazing.
Kelsey Molseed ’14, Juniata Online Journalist