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By on October 10, 2011

Apple Computer Corporation is one of the world’s most successful companies. In fact Apple is so successful; it was reported to have more cash reserves ($76.2 Billion) than the entire American government at the end of June 2011.

When representatives of the board of Apple Computer speak, people would be wise to listen, and when they act, just pay attention and take notes. Apple’s competitors, from Nokia to Samsung all pay attention; however perhaps on a more macro level, there is a lesson or two that even sovereign states can learn from the global blue chip company.

Lesson No. 1: Have a well-defined Succession Plan and Stick to it

When a shrewd, savvy investor is picking which company to invest in, one of the many important thing he looks for is corporate governance or company leadership. He looks at the entire board of directors, but most importantly the CEO.

If anything should happen to the CEO, smart investors are worried. Bad news could affect their stock prices and raise negative sentiment about the prospects of the company, thus hurting their investment or potential investment in that company.

That is why all the respected companies in the world have a detailed succession plan, it’s like an insurance policy for the company that says to the public “it’s okay guys, we’re alright” just in case anything happens to their CEO.

When Steve Jobs fell ill, he didn’t wait for the gossip mongers or the rumor mill to leak speculative reports to the media that would affect his company negatively. He did the selfless thing expected of any leader and as he had previously promised to do in the event of a spike in his illness, he resigned and handed over to a successor, one Mr. Tim Cook, former Chief Operating Officer of the company.

Unlike some West African countries have done in the past, Steve Jobs didn’t have his public relations team fabricate reports to the media saying he would be flying somewhere, let us say India, on a working visit, say to launch a new information technology hub, whilst really going to seek treatment from some of the world’s best medical teams. And he wouldn’t fly to India in the middle of the night when most people would be fast asleep, so as to avoid any media footage.

Needless to say because Steve did the right thing, his company is the better for it. There is no investor uncertainty or an insidious cabal running things at HQ manufactured by the media. There is no single consumer seriously panicking that Mr. Jobs carried all the blueprints of the iPhone 10 with him to the great Information Technology hub that is in Heaven. Instead there is certainty that Steve Jobs left his world in a better place than when he met it and many lives are the better for it (well except for all the husbands, fathers or boyfriends that have to buy these gadgets twice or more a year).

Lesson No. 2: Cash is King

If crude oil is the black gold, then Apple’s products are not capable of being described by any precious metal. Apple is so lucrative, the company should be given a license by the Federal Reserve to print money; just so they can legalize the activity they seem to already be engaged in – printing money.

Apple Computer makes more money than it can spend, this brings to memory a West African country whose former president, not long after the discovery of crude oil, said, “our problem is not money money, but how to spend it.” Blowing Money Fast! That country was doomed from day one to fall into a vicious cycle of crass materialism, consumerism, debt, class division and mass poverty.

Apparently the leaders of that country figured out the wrong solution to the problem. In fact the governors can’t even agree with the Federal government on the importance of having a Sovereign Wealth Fund – where excess earnings from crude oil receipts are stored for a rainy day. You see, it never rains on the Nigerian political elite. Perhaps they have gotten their hands on a futuristic Apple app that causes the rain not to fall on them. I bet they paid for this APP with crude oil receipts that should have gone into our Sovereign Wealth Fund. Oh wait! There is no Fund yet; we are waiting for the leaders to decide if a country needs to save awoof money it earns for a day when rain could potentially fall on the citizenry. I’m guessing the answer to this one is no, or yes with benefits. After all Boeing is about to release a new Business Jet, and the people of the Niger Delta region need another governor that knows how to travel in style.

Apple invests a large portion of its earnings in Research & development, which in turn generates more ideas that turn into products and services that generate more cash than they can spend.