The real reason Apple’s Tim Cook has been underestimated

“The influence of the entertainment industry is under-appreciated. Strong leaders, for the sake of drama, are always depicted as extroverts — gregarious and flamboyant,” John Martellaro writes for The Mac Observer. “Regrettably, that may have led the media to incorrectly diagnose Tim Cook in the comparison to Steve Jobs. Here’s why observers got Tim Cook all wrong. Very wrong.”

“According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, an extrovert draws strength from being with others. But, often, in the stickiest of situations, the frenzy of the crowd and the moment can lead to unfortunate, off-the-cuff decisions,” Martellaro writes. “With enough of that, some strong leaders burn themselves out like a supernova.”

“Often, the battle requires leaders to be introverts, to draw strength from isolation. Introverts have the courage to sit for long periods of time and work out a solution that can’t be had in a James T. Kirk moment of brash intuition,” Martellaro writes. “And speaking of the legendary, fictional starship captain, the contrast between the personalities of Spock and Kirk probably wasn’t an accident. Gene Roddenberry, after all, was ex-military and had likely seen both types of leaders, especially those who were teamed together.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: 140911_cook_spock

“We simply must accept the fact that Captain Kirk is no longer alive.” – Mr. Spock, Stardate 5693.2

Don’t underestimate Tim Cook, Jonathan Ive… and the rest of the team Steve Jobs has put in place at Apple. We have a hunch that the “Apple innovation model” will work quite well as long as Cook and Ive work together.MacDailyNews Take, November 10, 2011


  1. I read the original article earlier:

    in short is he saying Spock has taken over the Enterprise?
    that makes the mind go into all kinds of directions… 🙂

    (ha! the big surprise will be when they add the nacelle sections to the ‘Saucer’ HQ … )

        1. Hmmm. I would say Samsung are Klingons because they are warriors and are essentially a Korean empire. They fight dirty, and copy a lot, but do independently push the boundary on weapons tech (processor fabs, screens, etc.).

          But Xiaomi are definitely Ferengis. All they do is copy and hide in the shadows (China market as apposed to US and Europe where the light of IP law would make their insane level of copying illegal).

  2. This article (which I did not read fully but plan to later) is somewhat correct. It’s the team of real-world “Kirk and Spock” that made Apple into the great company it is today. But it’s not “extrovert” and “introvert,” as described by the article. It’s more like creative genius and operational genius.

    Creative people are not necessarily extroverts. I would not describe Jony Ive as being an extrovert. And I don’t really think Tim Cook is an introvert. People with operational skills are NOT introverts, almost be definition, because it’s their job to “draw strength from being with others.” It’s their job to coordinate the activities of the organization, and that requires a desire to work closely with others in the organization. not “draw strength from isolation.”

    It is difficult to find one leader who is both a creative genius and an operational genius. The creative person needs to consider ALL possibilities without limits, while the operational person must be pragmatic and live within practical limits. So, Apple has BOTH at the top of the org chart. Previously, it was Jobs-Cook, with the creative person as CEO. Now, it’s Cook-Ive, with the operational person in charge overall. Next, it will probably be Ive as CEO, with the next Apple operational guru (currently Cook’s apprentice) as his top lieutenant.

    1. The fact that Mr. Ives never appears on stage and only a voice on film even though he sitting in the audience tells me he will not be the next CEO.

      I’m very glad to see that Apple hired another industrial designer with the skill quality of Mr. Ives. If Apple lost Mr. Ives then they would be in much greater trouble then if they lost Tim Cook. However, if Johnny Ives was not involved in any of the Apple watch design then I am very hopeful for the future of Apple without Johnny Ives.

      1. “Appearing on stage” is not a requirement for being CEO.

        If you recall (or maybe you don’t), Tim Cook ALSO did NOT appear in a “keynote” during the time Steve Jobs was ill and he (Cook) was “acting CEO.” Apple’s subordinate leaders shared the stage for presentations, when Jobs was still CEO but on medical leave. It was only AFTER he (Cook) officially became Apple CEO that he put himself into “keynotes” for the first time.

        So, keeping the NEXT probable Apple CEO “off the stage” may be entirely intentional. Perhaps it is even Apple’a standard operating procedure. There may be certain mystic that is valuable for Jony Ive, by NOT putting him on the stage now (except as the voice for those conceptual videos).

  3. I’ll tell you “The real reason Apple’s Tim Cook has been underestimated” — because most of the people doing the estimating (and writing about it) are jerks or short-sighted idiots.

  4. Steve Jobs liked Cook, gave him the keys to the car and said have at it.

    Cook is a supply chain guy, an infrastructure guy. One of the best. Jobs knew this.

    Cook is moving the franchise into fashion and financial services because, well, he can. The strategic alliances are in place, the technology is in place and the superb Apple design machine is now allowed to be the public face of all this technology, all of this ground laying, all of this infrastructure.

    Samsung, others build devices. Devices come and go based on technical specs and the whims of a fickle consumer class. Apple under Cook gets this and insists on moving industries forward through innovation. Jobs chose wisely.

    1. If Apple fans are in favor of corporate longevity, then they will be in favor of many of the recent moves by Apple under Tim Cook. The Apple ecosystem is expanding and Apple will begin making a lot of profit from *non-Apple* purchases. All of that feeds the Apple machine to produce more magical toys. What a great feedback system!

      A lot of other corporations ended up making most of their money on the financing side, not the product side. But Apple is going further than just processing and financing purchases of its own products. Apple is going to process purchases of products and services from many other companies. And that ecosystem, in turn, drives the release and purchasing of new Apple products.

      Apple may someday own the U.S.

      1. The downside to this level of global innovation is jealously. Jealously at local levels, political levels, legal levels, corporate levels, government levels.

        My hope is that Tim and company stay the course but brace themselves for the inevitable blowback.

        Think different.

  5. I’ve always found this to be interesting:

    “The best leaders are those the people hardly know exist.
    The next best is a leader who is loved and praised.
    Next comes the one who is feared.
    The worst one is the leader that is despised.

    If you don’t trust the people, they will become untrustworthy.

    The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly.
    When she has accomplished her task, the people say, “Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!”

    – According to Lao Tzu,

    I certainly grok a different aspect regarding the Gene Roddenberry of leadership using Kirk the extrovert and Spock the introvert Spock) as there is the third character that is vitally important to the leadership and that was McCoy.

    Simply put, Spock was the left hemisphere of the brain (logical analysis), McCoy the right hemisphere (empathic, intuitive) and Kirk was the corpus callosum, integrating the two to come up with an appropriate solution. Part of the reason the series was so popular in my opinion.

    After all logic dictates that there is more to it than itself.

  6. Wall Street thinks Tim Cook is some sort of wuss or a pushover. WS doesn’t respect low key CEO’s. They like extroverted dudes like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Reed Hastings. Well, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they just don’t like the idea of Tim Cook following in Steve Jobs’ shadow. Whatever. Apple will most likely stay undervalued no matter what Tim Cook does, and that’s not even his fault.

    1. gave you 5 stars. Agreed with first part and the second to as I think that aapl is grossly undervalued, P.E lower than S&P average,

      maybe they like the fancy booze and bimbo filled cocktail parties the Donald Trumps of the world like to host?

      Bezos bought the Washington post and has investments in Business Insider (editor in chief Henry “I won’t buy an Apple Watch’ Blodget ) etc. He’s also known to be back slapping favourite of other press people. Controlling the press helps.

  7. one similarity between Cooks and Jobs is the ability to build a highly competent team and to inspire them. Highly competent people — dare I say near Genius level at Apple’s highest positions – are by nature difficult to control, they are smart, ambitious, and don’t suffer foolishness easily.

    Ive, Federighi, etc can get super jobs anywhere — or even get investors to fund their own start ups.

    the fact that they are willing to work for Cook , accept his leadership and under him create wonderful things (even before this weeks announcements there were new MacPro, 64 bit chip, iOS 8, Yosemite etc ) speaks volumes.

    btw look at the clip and see how comfortable Cook is with Ive.

  8. This is a bunch of bullshit! It’s not necessarily false. It’s just useless bullshit. Fact is, the media consistently underestimated even Steve Jobs when he was the CEO. Remember the original iPhone!?! I thought that it was going to sell out first day. Man, I was so pleasantly wrong: I walked into the apple store, in Cambridge, Mass. no less, and walked home with it first day, June 29th. (Or was it the 30th?) The hit-whores have no operational insight and just don’t get the organizational DNA that is required for the, generically speaking, tight integration of execution & experience made available via Apple products. Mouthful, huh? Just having some fun … Even non-tree-hugging Chomskyites are allowed that. 🙂

  9. I don’t really get what John is saying. M-B also points out that everyone has both introvert and extrovert tendencies and we move across the spectrum based upon who is near us and as needs dictate. Tim, like Steve before him, is just too smart to let personal reaction to the presence of a greater or lessor ‘vert influence his behavior.

    What’s really missing, I think, from everyone’s analysis of Tim as CEO of Apple, Inc. is that with all this money in the bank Tim can lead Apple into a future that Apple controls. I’d underline that if I could. The power of the financial resources allows Apple to create their future, to shape the landscapes of market and supply such that they can’t fail. Well, as long as the creatives (Ive, et al) are still there, to be sure; but the fact remains that Apple can invest in manufacturing capability for suppliers that ensures their supply and profitability, they can invest in the deep thinking R&D that results in honest quality of product design, and they can invest in the people to keep it all happening.

    If only they could invest in the future of intellectual property adjudication….

  10. That’s right. (Un)fortunately, Steve jobs was able to position himself as the underdog. Tim Cook can’t – not as CEO of a 600bn company. It’s the zeitgeist. “Do the right thing,” is both easy and hard.

  11. The problem with the Spock/Kirk analogy is that Spock was not a good leader, and he knew it and so did everyone else. Watch the TOS episode Galileo 7. Let’s hope Cook doesn’t get half his crew killed by a 12 foot barbarian tribe!

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