NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Steve Jobs liked to use the term "bozo explosion." It refers to hiring second-rate executives and managers -- "bozos" -- who then go on to hire more B-players. Before you know it, your organization experiences a bozo explosion. Jobs claimed he was the only person who could prevent the bozo explosion. That's part of the reason why I am ultimately bearish on Apple ( AAPL) without Steve Jobs at the helm.
It's not that guys like Tim Cook are bozos -- Jobs hired them after all -- but they're certainly closer to bozo status than he was. And they cannot prevent the bozo explosion from taking place. I've thought a lot about the bozo explosion since I was exposed to the concept. When I consider an executive, I often think of Jobs and ask, "Would he hire this person or would he consider him or her a bozo?" Is this person an A-player?
Would Steve Jobs Hire Mel Karmazin or a SIRI Permabull?
I have little doubt that Jobs would have hired folks like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Westergren. Like Jobs, they're three of our time's greatest visionaries. Each man created and/or disrupted an entire industry or three. And they're not done yet. And then there are the others who would likely pass muster with Jobs. They're people you've probably never heard of before. Fast Company recently published a fascinating list titled "The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012." It includes everybody from J. C. Penney's ( JCP) Ron Johnson (not sure I agree) to Starbucks' ( SBUX) chief digital officer, Adam Brotman, who came up with the company's mobile payment system, to Sam Mogannam, the owner of a little San Francisco grocery store, Bi-Rite, that I used to frequent. In the words of Mitch Joel, these people are "entrepreneurs" who are "trying to create the future that doesn't yet exist," not businesspeople who merely look to "mitigate risk and minimize mistakes." Entrepreneurs are the ones worth your time and attention; businessperson equals bozo. At least that's what Jobs thought. He would give his time to entrepreneurs, but he had no patience for bozos.