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On Jobs, and I Don't Mean Employment

Steve Jobs is taking another medical leave of absence from his day-to-day duties as CEO of Apple this week, and I am deeply moved by it.

The vision and principle Jobs poured into Apple helped inspire me to start my own company. He was one of three major influences on Allonhill:

Ernst & Young – My first employer out of college was Arthur Young & Co., which later became Ernst & Young. The company showed me, in a thousand ways, that what matters in business above all else are employees. Arthur Young had the best training in the industry, and I’m told Ernst & Young continues that legacy. As an employee, I didn’t just care about doing my job well. I knew, with absolute certainty, the success of the company depended on me doing my job exceptionally well. That is the foundation of Allonhill. We live and breathe it. I mean this with all sincerity—I value my employees, and I want them to love this company and what they do. The future success of Allonhill depends on them.

The Tuck School of Business –Dartmouth’s MBA school is the next great influence on Allonhill. When I was at Tuck, we made absolute fools of ourselves by walking around at midnight, eyes red-rimmed from working on some horrible group project, saying, “We love this place!” We meant it. We loved it because we understood that we were all there together to accomplish a mission greater than ourselves. We knew we had to scrape together what we could from too small a team with too little time. Tuck’s overriding message to students has always been that you can be the best at business and do it with compassion for one another and for the institution. Allonhill is modeled after that concept. To be like Tuck is a mission much larger than a two-year old company can hope to achieve, but it is at the core of who we are.

Apple – The third major influence on Allonhill is Apple founder Steve Jobs. I first saw Jobs in his iconic photo on the cover of Inc. Magazine in 1981. He stood there confidently leaning over an Apple computer, eyes aglow with the promise of big things to come. I was taken with his vision for Apple, the little company that took on the world. I loved his bold statement, and I have never gotten over his confidence. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to have my own company and lead it charismatically, and to have it stand for taking an entire industry to someplace few imagined possible. I wanted to be able to look into the eyes of my stakeholders and say that I had set the highest bar, beyond anyone’s imagination, and assembled a team that would jump over that bar and set one even higher for ourselves.

My first company, The Murrayhill Company, came close to that dream; Allonhill is taking that vision and going much farther with it.

Ernst & Young, Tuck, and Steve Jobs. If you want to know what this company is about, study them. They have never wavered from their principles; they’ve always had vision.

May we have but a fraction of their wisdom at Allonhill.