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Random Thoughts: A Tribute to Steve Jobs

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Think -- and be -- different.

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I wasn't alive when JFK was shot but I would venture to guess few will forget where they were when Steve Jobs passed away.

While I never met the man, his genius, vision, tenacity, drive, and wisdom were well-documented. He inspired a generation, he changed the world. In delivering the 2005 commencement address to Stanford University, he told graduates, "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life."

Mr. Jobs, perhaps more than any single person of our generation -- and certainly more than any CEO of our lifetime -- challenged us to think different. He didn't simply create companies -- twice, at Apple (AAPL) and an oh-by-the-way upstart named Pixar (DIS) in his spare time -- he created a Mythology.

You'll read and hear a lot about Steve Jobs today and in the days, weeks, and months ahead, and I encourage you to soak it in. While his management style ruffled its fair share of feathers, his leadership was unquestionable. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are one-dimensional in comparison.

He left behind a wife with whom he had three children, and one daughter, Lisa, from his early life.

Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. You will be missed.

Random Thoughts

  • After slaloming through protesters, I joined Bloomberg's Matt Miller on the floor of the NYSE to chew through the market dew. It wasn't my best foot forward but it was a foot nonetheless. He and I will be co-hosting Bloomberg Rewind for a full hour on October 27th, and I anticipate some good TV.

  • ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet opined this morning that the euro-area economy faces "intensified downside risks" and announced additional longer-term liquidity, as well as covered bond purchases.

  • Lest I'm mistaken, Ben Bernanke used similar vernacular when he announced his "Operation Twist" on September 21st and the S&P dropped 11% in the following ten sessions.

  • The German DAX, after losing 35% since this summer -- pause to let that number sink in -- rallied almost 10% in the last three sessions and is again testing our global line in the sand at DAX 5500. Who was it that said the sharpest rallies occur in the context of a bear market?

  • While many will view the "best house" in the European neighborhood losing one-third of its entire market capitalization as proof positive that we're in a depression-esque environment, I'll offer that it's a constructive step. We've long said that in order to get through it we needed to go through it and we're going through it now.

  • That doesn't mean we can't continue lower, of course -- I foresee three to five more years of tough sledding (stocks, bonds, social mood) -- but in a perfect, unemotional world, financial assets become more attractive at lower levels.

  • There is a window for an upside run (in the context of a bear market) but that remains a function of policy rather than a product of free markets. As the destination we arrive at pales in comparison to the path we take to get there, we must collectively see both sides as we together find our way.

  • Making that bet is a wager on the ability of European leaders to hold hands, sing Kumbaya, and approach the crisis with a united front. Buzz words like "Euro Bond" and "Leveraged EFSF" are key to that effort, and it's that anticipation that's keeping a bid under the market (which are a forward-looking discounting mechanism).

  • The financials were a red flag yesterday as they couldn't get their groove on with the tape. Keep an eye on Goldman (GS), Deutsche Bank (DB), Bank America (BAC), Citigroup (C), and Mother Morgan (MS). As go the piggies, so goes the poke.

  • What a long strange trip it's been indeed. As always, I hope this finds you well.

R.P.

Twitter: @todd_harrison

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