Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t care if you’re impolite, just have something smart to say

“You don’t have to be polite to get Tim Cook’s attention,” David Marino-Nachison writes for Barron’s. “Just have something smart to say.”

“The Apple CEO sat down with Fast Company for an interview that accompanied the magazine’s publication of a list of the world’s most innovative companies — which the Barron’s Next 50 component topped,” Marino-Nachison writes. “(Several other components, such as No. 2 Netflix, No. 3 Square, and No. 5, weren’t far behind.)”

Marino-Nachison writes, “He takes some criticism with a huge grain of salt — and other criticism very seriously, notably when it comes from consumers.”

Customers are jewels. Every day I read a fair number of customer comments, and they vary widely. Some are writing positive things about a store experience, an employee who did an incredible job for them. Some are saying, “Hey, I want a feature that’s not in the product right now.” Some are saying this feature should work this way, some are saying they had a life-changing experience with our product. I can no longer read all of them, but I read a bunch of them, because it’s sort of like checking our blood pressure.

I tend to weight the ones that are most thoughtful. That doesn’t mean polite—I don’t mind people saying I’m ugly or whatever. It’s just, what level of thought is it? I care deeply about what users think. — Apple CEO Tim Cook

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This reminds us of Lessley Anderson’s Vanity Fair article on Apple Desing Chief Jony Ive (October 9, 2014):

[Steve] Jobs was often perceived as a harsh manager, but Ive said that he was simply “beautifully focused,” with little time for “behavioral niceties.”

This trait was in full force during one design critique Ive recounted, in which the late Apple C.E.O. wasn’t exactly complimentary toward Ive and his team. After the meeting, Ive asked Jobs why he had been so brutal.

“We had been putting our heart and soul into this,” Ive said he told Jobs, telling his boss that he cared about “the team.” Jobs responded candidly: “No, Jony, you’re just really vain. You just want people to like you.”

Ive admitted the comment made him “really cross,” but only because Jobs had hit a nerve. Ive, who joined Apple full-time in 1992 and was deeply involved in establishing the look of its signature products, from the iMac to the iPhone 6+, said he ultimately agrees that it’s more important to do great work than make people happy.

Read more in the full article here.

Apple CEO Tim Cook explains the culture and approach that led to iPhone X, Air Pods, Apple Watch 3, and HomePod – February 21, 2018


  1. Although I don’t believe Cook is the best tech fit for CEO, I totally agree with Tim’s smart focus here on user’s comments and quality.

    Give him credit he certainly followed through in two major areas. He listened and is working on reigniting the MacPro. He listened again and rescheduled focus on software quality and ship when ready ditching the yearly calendar. Certainly, MDN has been advocating the same areas tirelessly for years and it paid off.

    Looks like Tim takes the personal attacks with a grain of salt, but smart complaints very seriously. Good moves …

  2. Being the head of Apple makes you part executive part rock star. I worry that Tim Cook might be just a bit too rock star and a bit too little technology company executive.

    Ever since he went political activist over technology executive, he’s cast a questionable shadow on the decisions he makes for Apple, particularly in the face of numerous quality issues.

    Like most executives, I don’t believe he truly knows much about the technology Apple makes. I think he knows what the engineers tell him and what designers tell him, with a good helping of Steve’s last guess as to where the puck was going to go,

    I believe that Steve’s conviction concerning the death of conventional computers is guiding Apple more than anything else and that every step they take is moving us closer to an “iPad world.” I don’t think they realize the consequences.

    We keep hearing about Apple “capturing the enterprise” but that’s really just from an iPhone perspective. Yes, there are people using Macs, more than ever, but this is clearly not Apple’s focus.

      1. “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.”

        (Funny that they still iPod in the mission statement but you get the idea.)

  3. “I tend to weight the ones that are most thoughtful.”

    One thing for sure, Belligerent Asswipe, Fred the Dickhead, applewhinylittlebitch and King Whine, he sure ain’t talking about you.

  4. Cook’s chats would appear more focused and impactful if he spoke a lot less and let a senior exec. to most of the talking. That way, the crowd would hang on his every word. As it stands now, he drones on, repeating himself and saying unnecessary caveats as his audience needs to be spoon fed with his thoughts.

  5. Apple is like people. While focused on one or a couple of things completely misses another. Though I would say as long as there were Apple employees assigned to every aspect of Apple’s business to watch over every area and ensure flawless execution, then they shouldn’t miss anything. And yet they do.

    How to explain the Mac Pro debacle, which even as a design is not something the pro market was after or really wanted except a small group. I realize if you want to move the puck ahead you can’t always get the right answers from your customers, but the danger is if you’re wrong you can then suddenly find yourself way BEHIND the competition instead of ahead of it. And then taking too long to realize there’s a problem, suddenly scrambling, making apologies and looking like idiots to correct the situation but moving at the speed of Apple.

    Money left on the table because of a gross and easily avoidable miscalculation while trying to “Innovate my ass.”

  6. I’ve sent several emails to Tim Cook and I’ve gotten responses from Apple at three times. For one of the issues, they initiated a round of calls/testing/logging and eventually updated iTunes and TVos to correct the problem. I’m currently looking forward to seeing some UI updates to the Home App after a User Experience engineer contacted me as a follow-up. Specific and concrete issues do get addressed.

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