Where’s the Steve Jobs of Healthcare?

Steve Jobs means a lot to me. In my junior year of high school, my English teacher gave me the honor of setting up the school’s first computer lab. I asked her if we could purchase Macintosh computers. She said yes, and we got the lab set up when they arrived just in time for the Fall start.

It gave me the confidence to take charge; to make something look cool at a time when the word “geek” was more wounding to teens than “loser”; and it gave me the incline to rise out of a depression I sauntered under for years.

It was Steve Jobs’ charisma and vision which inspired me then. Who knew a small box could absorb so much attention?

I’m not a Mac fanboy, but I do detest PCs. Much of Healthcare is PC. Maybe one day it will be more Mac.

Jobs always struck me as a man on a mission – there’s a look in his eye: a direct honesty of passion. A look of intelligent fearlessness.

That intelligent fearlessness changed an entire industry. In fact, Steve Jobs went beyond his own industry to create new ones.

More – he created more than a new industry: he created a new way for all of us to do things. We take them for granted – which is proof of his success.

Still more – the platforms he created will create new platforms which will give rise to new industries. Yeah, he’s that kind of leader.

But while Steve Jobs moved his industry forward, Healthcare is – for the most part – almost criminally backwards.


Shortest but most covering answer: lack of Leadership at the top.

I’ll talk more about my ideas of the meaning of leadership over time here. But Healthcare is actually full of leaders – they just aren’t at the top.

You don’t find many CEOs whom I would consider leaderly.

You don’t find many politicians whom I would consider leaderly.

You do find them at the bedside.

You do find them counseling traumatized children.

You do find them at nursing and medical schools. Sorta.

You do find them voicing themselves here and there.

You can find them almost anywhere, except in the towers which wield the greatest powers.

The problem with the lack of top leadership in Healthcare isn’t that the top people there are necessarily bad or stupid. Maybe they are.

The problem with the lack of top leadership in Healthcare is that we have systems that reward political corruption and punish moral fortitude.

The problem with the lack of top leadership – there being no Steve Jobs at the helms – lies in Capital.

Few people understand Capital. Read this for an eye opener.

Steve Jobs knows what to do with Capital.

His company is the most capitalized company in the world. He didn’t bother with social media.  He probably thinks it’s all dopery.

Steve Jobs leads. He doesn’t tweet.

So, to my question: Where is the Steve Jobs of Healthcare?

You are the Steve Jobs of Healthcare. Or Stephanie Jobs.

You can do more than you know.

Death is a leader and we all are following it to the grave.

Death is the greatest leader of all time because it says “create now, your clock is ticking”.

I can’t say if Steve Jobs thought about death as an inspirer for his visions, nor if he is thinking about death now.

Then again, leadership and creation are eternal victories which death can never achieve.

The word needs to get to the CEOs and other executive officers in Healthcare that Leadership trumps short-term profit, that Leadership trumps their fears of inept investors who end up blowing their money away eventually.

Phil Baumann



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