President Obama just marked his 100th day in office, so I thought we’d take a look back to when Apple’s own Steve Jobs returned to Apple to run the show. Like Obama, Jobs had a huge task at hand—Apple was struggling in 1997, and Jobs was rehired to take Apple into a new creative direction (and away from financial ruin). The parallels between the two men and the situations are striking, but I’ll spare you those comparisons for another time!

It’s natural for people to want to assess progress within a certain time period and use that to determine success, and the retern of Steve was no different! He was rehired back at Apple on February 7, 1997 when Apple purchased Jobs’ company, NeXT. Apple’s stock was low (a sharp contrast to their most recent numbers), and the company needed an overhaul.

Daniel Kunstler, an analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities, noted in the article that a couple of things happened within those first 100 days: Jobs shifted Apple’s project and product focus and placed an emphasis on profitability rather than growing revenues.

Apple needed innovation and vision, and Steve Jobs had it. Simply put, Jobs shook things up. Among the highlights of his first 100 days, Jobs:

  • Discontinued the Newton
  • Eliminated the Apple clone project
  • Announced that Apple would begin selling computers directly from their website
  • Introduced a partnership with Microsoft that included their $150 million investment in Apple

It’s worth a mention that Jobs’ first keynote upon his return was not met with overwhelming acceptance. He was even booed several times during his presentation. Things looked bleak, but as my husband likes to say, “change is inherently very uncomfortable” and we all know what’s happened since then…

To wit:

  • The iMac, the all-in-one Mac that changed everything (“She comes in colors…”)
  • Apple retail stores
  • OS X and iLife
  • MacBooks and MacBook Pros
  • iPhone

Congratulations to Obama on his first 100 days and to Apple’s continued success. Most of all, here’s to CHANGE!

Other fun reads:

Cnet, Apple after Jobs’s first 100 days 12/15/97;
ArsTechnica, 10 years: Steve, welcome back 2/4/07


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