I think it’s a sport for President Obama to make outrageous statements like “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” – which he said in a recent campaign stop in Roanoke, Virginia - and then watch Republicans go predictably bananas.
Certainly the multimillionaire business supporters of the president on Wall Street and in Hollywood know this is absurd. Anyone with the mildest understanding of business and capitalism knows this is absurd.
Yet the president struck at the heart of what makes capitalism tick – individual freedom and personal responsibility – without his polling numbers in the week that followed budging and his re-election probability on Intrade.com actually ticked up two and half points.
We are reaching dangerous critical mass of those in our country who have enough stake in big government – whether they are employed by it, collecting benefits from it, or businesses getting favors from it – that political protection is commanding a higher premium than freedom.
If Americans want prosperity, we need a grand reawakening to the incontrovertible fact that its source is entrepreneurs unfettered by meddling politicians.
Apple, Inc is now the most valuable company in the world. Its recent stock price puts its valuation at around $560 billion, more than $150 billion more than America’s biggest oil company – Exxon Mobil.
Fifteen years ago, in 1997, when Steve Jobs returned as CEO of Apple, the company was worth less than $3 billion dollars, about a half a percent of what it is worth today. Estimates then were that Apple was several months away from bankruptcy.
John Lilly, a former Apple employee, now a silicon valley venture capitalist, blogged memories, after Jobs’ death, about a talk that Jobs gave to employees shortly after his return. Apple was losing money, its stock was languishing, there were rumors about the company being acquired, and Jobs was asked about a suggestion that the company should just shut down.
He concluded his response with “If you want to make Apple great again, let’s get going. If not, get the hell out.” The blogger continues, “I think it’s not an overstatement to say that just about everyone in the room loved him at that point, would have followed him off a cliff if that’s where he led.”
In the following year, according to the account in Walter Isaacson’s recent book about Jobs, 3000 employees were laid off and Jobs reviewed Apple’s entire product line, pruning it from fifteen products to four.
Now Apple is the most valuable company in the world with innovative products no one would have dreamed of in 1997.
In September 1997, Apple had 8437 full time employees.