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Steve Jobs' Impact on Apple: Past and Future

From: James Cramer
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 7:34 AM
To: Nicole Urken
Subject: AAPL

We have to change up today’s show line-up in light of tragic news last night about Steve Jobs’ passing

Today is was what we call a “hustle day” on Mad Money. It’s a day when we change the line-up of the show last minute when news hits. Truth be told, this happens quite often, as we are, after all, a market-oriented show. Back when I worked at Goldman, we called days like this “firedrills.” … All in all, “relaxing.”

The research and analysis of data today, though—focusing on the legacy of Steve Jobs and the way that Apple has transformed the world since its founding—was ultimately inspirational, particularly amidst what has been a confusing and volatile market environment. (Check out the Mad Money pieces from today’s show at madmoney.cnbc.com).

There’s been much coverage on the life and contributions of Steve Jobs in light of his passing—justifiably so given his immeasurable impact on the way we interact today. But one aspect of his legacy that has been highlighted above the rest has been recognition of his eye for design and ability to understand the desires of consumers even before they knew themselves. His very recognition of how Apple products would transform the world before they even existed is incredibly striking—His success is certainly a product of genius, accompanied by a dose of bravery to create something new.

Coverage of Jobs on CNBC today walked a fine line between understanding the implications of his death for the future of Apple and celebrating his life. Ultimately, though, the unique vision that Jobs left at the company should allow Apple to continue to transform the world even after his passing. As hard as it is to stomach, Jobs said himself at the 2005 Stanford graduation speech that death is “the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent.” He understood, years before his passing, that his legacy would carry on through others.

When it comes to valuation, Apple—which is trading at just 10x forward P/E (ex-cash)—is already discounting in the risk factors associated with the future of the company. But the Apple ecosystem that Jobs created will allow his team to continue to hit the high bar he set. It’s now part of the fabric of the company. This visionary potential isn’t exclusive to only one company in Silicon Valley.

Flash back to my sophomore year at Harvard when I was sitting in Kirkland House dining hall checking up on facebook.com. At that point, there was much more limited usage of the website, but I—like many of my classmates—logged in frequently. That said, I never would have imagined the way that individuals world-wide would use Facebookto connect in an unprecedented capacity. In fact, many of my classmates were campaigning for Facebook to remain just a platform for colleges. The truth is that if many of us had seen what Mark Zuckerberg saw in Facebook, many would have banged down his door to get in from the very beginning in order to be a part of the fledging enterprise.

For today, that’s connecting the dots.



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