The blog formerly known as The Dobbs Method

Steve Jobs Should Teach My Economics Class

Posted in Economics by Taylor Dobbs on 01/22/2009

Apple JobsEvery Tuesday and Thursday, I am blessed with the privilege of sitting through a 75-minute long Microeconomics class. While economics is a fascinating subject, it requires many real-life examples to be effectively taught. Before today, I thought I was going to be bombarded with lame examples in which I calculated whether Jim or Paul should sell lemonade while the other picks the lemons for an entire semester.

Today’s class, however was completely saturated with iPods. In a supply and demand problem, we figured out that iPods cost what they do because the market dictated that price. Then came a substitution problem. I thought we would lose the iPods here as she asked for an example from the class. I was sure we’d be dealing with Ketchup vs. Mustard or Hot Dogs vs. Hamburgers, but no. The only person in the classroom with their mind more in the technological gutter than mine spoke up, and we dealt with iPods versus Zunes(after a lengthy explanation of the latter to our graying professor).

This abundance of iPods may have slipped right by if I had been paying full attention to the class, but as we ran through the iPod’s showdown with Zunes, I was reading a USA Today article about Apple’s seeming inability to flounder with the rest of the economy. The article states that the company sold 22.7 million iPods in the 1st quarter of the 2009 fiscal year. Reading that, I could no longer ignore the iPod invasion into American and international culture.

While US sales are down, international iPod sales rise to allow the company to continue to break records. As if that’s not enough, Apple’s laptop sales also rose 34%. It seems Apple can’t lose.

Yet.

With the absence of Steve Jobs until June (and possibly the end of time) due to health issues, the company faces a new challenge, if only psychological. But while Jobs was a face for the company, he didn’t single-handedly crank out the iPhone or the new MacBook. A company as large as Apple is designed not to depend too heavily on any one person. While Jobs may be the most influential CEO in the history or the industry, he built a machine that will function without him. While stock prices have fallen as a result of this news, I predict that they’ll rise again when the next mindblowingly-cool why-hasn’t-anyone-thought-of-this-until-now product is released without him.

Jobs or no Jobs, Apple’s it right now, and I doubt they’re going anywhere anytime soon. Besides, I still have electronics whose names don’t start with “i” and until that’s done, there’s still work to be done in Silicon Valley.

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