Monday, September 12, 2011

How Steve Jobs resigned

To resign the CEO position at Apple, Steve Jobs wrote this letter to the board of directors:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


This letter is wonderfully concise. In only 142 words, Mr. Jobs:

Resigns his position
Explains why
Says what he would like to do next
Recommends a successor
Predicts increased success for the company
Says he will be pleased to take part in that success
Expresses his feelings about his many years with the company

The letter also is very easy to read; it scores an amazing 72.6 on the Flesch Reading Ease test (a 12-year-old could easily understand it). The typical CEO has never, in his entire career, written anything this readable.

The Takeaway: Take inspiration from Steve Jobs. Always strive to write concisely and simply. And keep getting better.

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