Steve Jobs' Bad Bet
Did Steve Jobs backdate the options he got as Apple's CEO? Seems to me what he really did with his options was probably legal - and incredibly dumb for a guy who was making Apple one of the all-time great business turnarounds and America's seventh-most admired company. The great seer of tech trends had no idea what was coming - indeed, no idea how much his company, or he himself, was really worth.
Now, with benefit of hindsight, let's get out the calculator and see how smart Jobs looks. That bag of restricted stock he got in 2003 is today worth about $848 million. Not bad. But what about the options he gave up? His first mega-grant, the one that landed him on our cover, would today be in the money not by the $436 million for which he offered to sell it to us, or even by the $872 million we said it was worth, but by just over $2.5 billion.
The supremely self-confident aren't always what they seem.
(Shawn's Comment: And neither are their motives - unless you've been paying attention. Forbes misses a key component of Steve Jobs - as he has said publicly many times, he doesn't care about money. He's already a billionaire several times over and doesn't need more money. By *not* worry about options, grants and salry for himself, he is free to focus on what's best for *Apple* and not his own pocketbook)