Tim Cook’s freshman year: Apple CEO speaks in extensive interview

“Prior to his death on Oct. 5, 2011, Steve Jobs made sure that the elevation of Tim Cook — his longtime head of operations and trusted deputy — to Apple chief executive officer would be drama-free,” Josh Tyrangiel reports for Businessweek. “‘He goes, ‘I never want you to ask what I would have done,” recalls Cook. ”Just do what’s right.’ He was very clear.'”

Some snippets from Cook:

• I love the company. A significant part of my life is Apple. Maybe some people would say it’s all of my life. I would say it’s a significant part. And you know, I feel both a love for it [and] I feel a responsibility. I think this company is a jewel. I think it’s the most incredible company in the world, and so I want to throw all of myself into doing everything I can do to make sure that it achieves its highest, highest potential.

• Creativity and innovation are something you can’t flowchart out. Some things you can, and we do, and we’re very disciplined in those areas. But creativity isn’t one of those. A lot of companies have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong when you have a VP of innovation or something. You know, put a for-sale sign on the door. (Laughs.)

• We don’t subscribe to the vision that the OS for iPhones and iPads should be the same as Mac. As you know, iOS and Mac OS are built on the same base… Customers want iOS and Mac OS X to work together seamlessly, not to be the same, but to work together seamlessly.

• The thing [at Apple] that ties us all is we’re brought together by values. We want to do the right thing. We want to be honest and straightforward. We admit when we’re wrong and have the courage to change. And there can’t be politics. I despise politics. There is no room for it in a company. My life is going to be way too short to deal with that. No bureaucracy. We want this fast-moving, agile company where there are no politics, no agendas. When you do that, things become pretty simple. You don’t have all of these distractions. You don’t have all of these things that companies generally worry about. You don’t have silos built up where everybody is trying to optimize their silo and figuring out how to grab turf and all of these things. It makes all of our jobs easier so we’re freed up to focus on the things that truly matter.

• If you look at our North Star, we’re focused on making the best products, so ours is very product-centric. We care about every detail. We’re also marrying hardware, software, and services. If you think about Android, it’s more like the Windows PC model. The operating system comes from company A. Company B is doing some integration work, and maybe the services come from yet somewhere else. I think we know the kind of customer experience that produces.

Tons more in the full interview (it’ll take some time to read, so be prepared) – very highly recommendedhere.


    1. Let’s see. Answering the same questions consistently, acting in a manner consistent with those answers both publicly and privately, walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

      BLN, that’s called INTEGRITY. (I understand, given your location implied by your handle, that this is a concept with which you haven’t had much external experience. But some people DO have it.)

      1. BLN, you just got b* slapped.
        Nice reply emmayche.

        People have been waiting for Tim Cook to prove he is an effective leader. This display of integrity is very valuable.

        Shipping times, products releases etc. those are all issues that can be resolved and likely those roles are delegated to others within the organization.

        Instilling values, providing vision and direction, while keeping the company steered in the right direction, that’s true leadership.

        Good job Tim.

      1. Cook does point out in the interview that his visibility drastically changed after he formally became CEO. In that respect, this has been has first year: Tim Cook, Super Star.

        What a great interview. I hope he does more, on a regular basis. From personal experience, I know what happens when the quiet thinker becomes an abstraction in other people’s heads. It’s important to speak one’s thoughts out to others with whom you work and interact. With Jobs this was easy. With Cook, it doesn’t come naturally. But clearly he’s adjusted. What a great guy.

  1. When Tim Cook talks about OS and IOS and their need to be different, perhaps he is tipping his hand about what to expect in the next big iteration of OS X. However, thru Mountain Lion, OS X has been looking more and more like IOS.

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