Two Innovative Leaders

Though I’ve always been a fan, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Apples’ headquarters in Cupertino, California. Naturally, I was curious about the amazing Northern California company that gave us the Macintosh computer and the incredible technological gadgets that would change our lifestyles forever. So, when I stumbled across a series of color photographs that took me on a virtual tour inside the Apple facility it was a real joy. Now, I was able to wander the hallways, peek inside the computer labs and view the work spaces of the Apple employees. The photographic tour ended with a shot of an upstairs meeting room as CEO, Steve Jobs, along with his top staffers, sat around a large table planning the future of technology. Suddenly, the iconic photograph reminded me of another gathering decades earlier. In this instance, another visionary leader presided over a simular meeting with his top executives. Can you imagine what they were doing? If you had guessed, they were planning the future, you’d be correct.

Years have passed and those two images remain vivid in my memory. These were leaders at the top of their game. Innovators who had built a company and were enjoying enormous success. Rather than rest on their laurels, they were intent on moving ahead. In truth, the two of them were just getting started. You already know that the first gentleman was Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. However, decades earlier another innovative leader named Walt Disney had plans of his own. It may have only been the nineteen sixties but Walt was about to revolutionize city planning. Succesfully engineering a public amusement had already been a daunting challenge for Disney and his creative team. The dazzling theme park in Anaheim had only been a warm up act because the Disney Imagineers were ready to begin work on a whole new level. Their task, you ask? Design and create a city of tomorrow. Who else but Walt Disney would have the audacity to design the future, but that’s exactly what Walt intended to do.

Neither Walt Disney or Steve Jobs were allow to take that next step. Sadly, their mortality caught up with them at the height of their creative zenith and I doubt we’ll ever know what amazing ideas they had in store. It would appear that charismatic, creative leaders are only with us for a limited time. Like many others, I had the misguided notion that the Old Maestro would be with us forever. Decades later I wondered how Apple could continue without it’s creative CEO. At this juncture, things appear to be stable - but only time will tell. The two photographs capture Both Disney and Jobs in their prime. However, real life is full of unexpected events. Events that can change things forever.

Two innovative leaders hard at work. We lost them while they were only beginning to hit their stride.

Two innovative leaders hard at work. We lost them while they were only beginning to hit their stride.