Irrational Reactions?: Effects on Premature Obit for Steve Jobs

Apparently major news outlets have a practice of writing obituaries of famous people a little before they are dead. When one leaks, and it is about someone who has had some health problems in the past, the draft can cause a stir. That just happened when Bloomberg inadvertently posted its obit for Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. According to CNET, folks have even speculated that Jobs is ill again and gone so far as to demand that shareholders receive some sort of disclosure about his health. I have read that Berkshire Hathaway has begun a gentle move to prepare folks for a hand-off from Warren Buffett. Maybe Apple should take a similar approach. Nonetheless, are CEOs really evaluated based on whether they will keel over while in office? Some companies that seem to have super-strong and seemingly great CEOs who can handle ups and downs of a business may be great examples of the idea behind management matters. Others, however, have CEOs come and go (relatively speaking) and the free-agent styled system has to know that a CEO may jump for a host of reasons. This blip seems to highlight that some companies have long-haul management and some do not. One can imagine some pros and cons for having a strong almost cult-like leader and for having a professional manager who may have risen from within a large company or come from the outside.

A simpler matter is, as CNET notes, the effect rumors can have on a stock. Blogs and newspapers can and do publish at an extremely fast pace. My guess is that we will not change that and we may want that rush of information. The difficult part will be learning not to go on impulse and as one person argues that is what distinguishes humans from other creatures on the planet:

Counterintuitively, much of what makes us human is not an ability to do more things, … but an ability to inhibit automatic responses in favor of reasoned ones; consequently, we may be the only species that engages in delayed gratification and impulse control (thank you, prefrontal cortex).

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