How Apple CEO Tim Cook spends the first two hours of his workday

“The trend of sharing how the world’s most successful people spend their mornings has swept across the internet, as eager readers hope to glean insight into how they, too, can seize the day,” Simone Stolzoff writes for Quartz. “Actor Mark Wahlberg wakes up at 2:30 am to pray. Comedian Melissa McCarthy wakes up at 4:30 am to watch reruns on TV. And Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at ‘a little before 4 am’ to read user feedback on Apple products.”

“‘I like to take the first hour and go through user comments and things like this that sort of focus on the external people that are so important to us,’ Cook shared in a recent interview with Axios,” Stolzoff writes. “‘And then I go to the gym and work out for an hour because it keeps my stress at bay.'”

“Reading customer comments in the pre-dawn hours, followed by some stress-relieving exercise, isn’t the worst example to be setting for Apple’s employees,” Stolzoff writes. “But it isn’t the best, either. Though morning rituals can help workers start the day on the right footing, it’s sleep that’s the ultimate productivity hack.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This reminds us of something we wrote back in January 2015 in an open letter to Tim Cook:

We occasionally hear things about the company from Apple employees.

Some of those things lead us to wonder if perhaps you should rethink some aspects of the culture at Apple? Specifically, what really should constitute a badge of honor at Apple? Working all day, all weekend and all night in order to squat out iOS 8.0.1 and then have to turn around and do it all over again, in a panic, to get iOS 8.0.2 out the door in order to clean up the mess? Or taking the time necessary to do the job correctly the first time?

People with proper sleep and lower stress levels do better work. Many major medical studies prove these facts. Shouldn’t quality, not quantity, of hours worked be the utmost badge of honor at Apple?

Working long hours simply for the sake of working long hours is counterproductive. It really doesn’t prove anything except that you have no life and that, despite all of their work on Apple Watch, Apple executives still do not understand basic human health requirements and are incapable of properly staffing their departments so that they can function without requiring sleep-deprived, mistake-prone employees who feel that it’s a job requirement to be able to reply to emails from managers at 2:00 am. That’s idiocy.

Driving too hard, too fast, and for too long leads to accidents.

We speak from experience, albeit at a far, far smaller level than yours. We’ve tried and been exposed to several methods as both managers and employees in the television, financial, and online media industries. Regardless of the size of your department or company, people are people. You can push people to a point that’s very productive, but when you exceed that point, it’s all downhill for everyone involved. It’s not a badge of honor. It’s not an “I love this company!” statement. It’s simply mismanagement. It’s verifiably unhealthy and it leads directly to diminished quality, increased turnover, and productivity declines. And customer satisfaction ultimately suffers. Hence this letter.

Apple employees voice frustration with work culture under Tim Cook – June 20, 2018
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015


  1. I’m not a super Tim Cook fan and yes I still miss Steve but I appreciate that fact that he reads end user feedback however I’m not sure if he acts on it all (which would be impossible actually). I really love my newly acquired iPad Pro and Pencil but lets see if he takes action to in response to some of the recommendations that end users have made.

    1. There’s no evdience at all that Pipeline reads user comments. Not at all. If he read such comments, he would not have taken 4 years to update the Mac Mini.

      He would have had an updated Mac Pro years ago.

      We still don’t have an updated Mac Pro.

      If Pipeline read user comments, there would be Apple branded displays.

      Aperture would still be available and kicking Adobe’s ass.

      If Pipeline read user comments, memory and drives would not be soldered into machines.

      This list of ways Apple ignores user comments is limitless.

      Pipeline ignores them all.

      But hey, we have our super special book printed on super special paper!! And our space ship doorknobs are perfect!

      Pipeline knows which priorities the customer should focus on better than the users.

      1. What the hell is wrong with you? Everyone here gets that you hate Tim Cook. Who do you think you’ll influence with your incessant and repeated complaints?

        Have you ever sent your vitriol to Apple or Tim Cook directly?

        1. Yes, Von Tink does not like how Tim Cook is running Apple. However, I don’t recall any evidence that Von Tink hates Tim Cook himself.

          Most of Von Tink’s comments are valid though. If Tim Cook spends two hours nearly every work day reading customer comments he either does so for the comic relief (he’s laughing at end user thoughts/requests) or it’s merely escapism for him (a true departure from Tim’s concept of reality).

          If Tim reads user comments for two hours every work day and does take them seriously, Apple would have started on a true Mac Pro replacement for the trash can Mac Pro (something nearly universally loathed) within a month or two of its shipping; Apple would never have killed off the AirPort series (something even Apple haters were buying); Apple would never have killed off its line of monitors; MacBook Pros would require fewer dongles (these are PRO machines — leave the requirement for a plethora of dongles for the likes of the MacBook and the MacBook Air); and the iPhone series would have had longer battery life even if it meant increasing the iPhones’ thickness by a millimeter or so. And the list goes on and on.

        2. You need to improve your poor reading comprehension. As Shadowself correctly noted, my points about Pipeline are completely valid and not at all personal. You saying otherwise does not make it true. You are completely wrong.

          And yes, I have sent Apple feedback dozens upon dozens of times. A lot of good that has done.

          1. Your criticisms may be valid, but is Tim Cook completely to blame? What about blaming Jony Ive for designing doorknobs instead of a new Mac Pro?

            Also, you may think your input is valid, but perhaps Apple as a company has other ideas. The entire tech sector has tanked this week, but Apple is still worth $100 billion more than Amazon or anyone else. Whose “fault” is that? “Pipeline Timmy?”

            I share a lot of your criticisms, particularly regarding the lack of a new Mac Pro, but I don’t believe it’s helpful to keep venting about it here.

          2. Your comments are nothing but disgruntled rants that belong to beyond yesteryear and ignores everything that is going on now..

            You sound like a broken record…. with deaf ears. … leaving false impressions on whats up today
            Development takes time.. . They dont happen at a flick of the fingers.

            Read my post above .. exerpt from what i wrote you a few days ago.. which u conveniently choose to forget or ignore just to keep up with your rant and nervousness over having difficulties with your stock investments…
            That seens to be a habbit of yours.

            Change and corrections take time…..

            Above are some FACTS .. but im sure you will ignore …. but hope u wont.

        3. He is upset over his investment..
          everyone is.. but he is just out of control!
          Hey Von investment in the market it not for everybody .. it takes nerves of steel and then some !
          Its not a walk in the park!

      2. No Evidence? .. lol.
        I know as A Matter of FACT he does read, and pay’s attention and reacts !!!

        Here is a reminder to you and Shadow, an exerpt from my previous response to you a couple days ago.
        All FACTS!….facts you choose to ignore in order to carry on with your rant and Tim Bashing!
        (and vent out your nervousness over your investment?)

        …………No doubt there are issues at Apple …and how Macs were treated truly perplexing.
        This issue has been discussed for a long long time and very firmly both by me (directly with Apple and forums) as well many others!

        Then about a year ago or so, Apple responded through a news conference, sitting down with some reporters and discussing their new MacPro initiative, and Apple displays.
        Tim later reaffirmed the importance of Macs and Mac mini.

        Since then ( only 1 year or so ) Apple has delivered the:
        -iMac Pros .. awesome and powerful all in ones!
        -Upgraded the iMacs.
        -Released a super powerful Mac Mini!
        and according to their commitment
        -Will release the MacPro Modular and Apple displays in 2019🤞.
        ( yes they are expensive.. but Apple has always been expensive and that is another topic)

        So in a nutshell Apple admitted to dropping the ball and immediately reacted.
        Yet here you are, neglecting all that and constantly bashing and name calling.
        Yes the Mac issue has been perplexing , it dragged on… bafflingly so ! .. but there was an acknowledgment and a corrective reaction …………..<<<

        Those are facts.. your comments are yesteryear based rants.

    2. about 2 year sago I had a problem with the Apple store in NY and I was pissed . I emailed Tim and was shocked the same day I got a response from someone that worked for him . They helped me with the issue. so yes he does read emails

      1. There is absolutely no evidence that Tim Cook himself read your email. None. There is also no evidence that anyone even mentioned your email to Tim Cook.

        You got a response from one of his staff. It could very well have been his staffer that read your email and acted on it to help you.

        1. Key thing is that the complaint was acted on, and promptly.

          My own wish is that Apple would keep the SE in production. I smashed mine this week, and its Xr replacement OK as a phone, but too big for most of my pockets.

        2. Correct, no evidence whatsoever. Highly doubtful with 1.3 Billion active Apple devices worldwide Tim has time to thoughtfully read dozens, hundreds or possibly thousands of e-mails a day in two hours. Then respond in addition to staff e-mails throughtout the day. Suspect he has a customer service staff they are routed to, filtered and who knows how many actually make it his way. One thing for certain the requests through e-mail and on forums like this daily about updating products and fixing thinness thermal issues, loss of ports and products, et al detailed here are not acted upon for years now. So, it’s either true he reads every customer e-mail personally or as some said a virtue signaling exercise on little sleep. As the old saw goes, what we know is we don’t know…

            1. I was hoping for an answer, not a quiz challenge. Now, if I was snarky and did not respect your posts my answer would be blind fanboy. Sorry, but my critical thinking and healthy skepticism has seen no evidence how many he actually reads and responds to directly. Hard to believe he does not miss a single one. He can say anything he wants, just like a politician…

          1. There is no certainty any more, only plausibility. I think it plausible that our leaders have been exposed to the same information that we peons learn from news media. It is also plausible that our leaders have access to additional, secret information that they choose not to disclose to the public. What is not plausible, and not provable, is that our leaders are justified in their decisions without unveiling that secret information. If it stinks, you tend to hide it, and that applies everywhere, from family politics to Facebook to the White House. As the late Leonard Cohen accurately wrote, everybody knows the dice are loaded; everybody knows that the fight was fixed; the poor stay poor, the rich get rich; that’s how it goes.. everybody knows.

            1. “There is no certainty any more, only plausibility.” Agree our media and culture deal more and more in that trade nowadays. However rare, “certainty” still exists. That Cohen guy is certainly cynical, but for the most part ‘tis true. Happy Thanksgiving my friend…

  2. While Tim Cook is reading customer feedback, pathological gravy train rider is still in bed in deep sleep. When he does eventually get out of bed he spends a huge amount of time in the coffee bar, then goes to his office for a short period before he is out for a big Lunch

  3. Tim Cook works hard.

    I get that.

    But what he works hard AT is probably more important.
    What are his priorities, his focus for Apple?

    Think about that when we remember THIS:

    Eddy Cue who at the time headed SIRI fell asleep during SIRI meetings according to insiders and we know A.I is probably the No.1 tech for the future. (Who wins the A.I war is going to win tech for the next 50 years or more). So what did Eddy work hard at that made him so tired he couldn’t be awake during SIRI meetings ?

    It’s more than how hard you work, it’s what you work hard AT that counts. So back to Cook…

      1. yes, I have actually read the article

        a point it brings out is Apple’s strategy today of ‘protecting it’s cash cow iPhone’

        that’s exactly what happened to Windows Phone. Microsoft had an early lead with mobile software with the Windows Mobile division which had a whole bunch of mobile OS’s form Win Ce to Zune. But to protect the Windows DESKTOP money machine (and it’s powerful managers) , the Mobile division was marginalized, various phone models were cancelled and then the Windows Phone was given to the DESKTOP people to work at, the criteria seemed to be that mobile shouldn’t jeopardize the desktop. Win Mo was incompatible with the new Windows Phones. The rest is history ending in Msft. phone extinction . The Surface experiment is trying to salvage something out of the fiasco .

        (I’m writing this so that maybe Apple managers would wake up to pressing issues confronting it)

        1. if I may, I will disambiguate your wishful comment thereby strengthening it
          “(I’m writing this so that maybe Apple managers would wake up to pressing issues confronting it),”

          “(I’m writing this so that maybe Apple managers would wake up to pressing issues such as MacPro.)”

    1. rereading my post i realize i might not be clear enough. I had read other articles that Cook works hard that he wakes early, is usually first in to the office and stays late and that he emails subordinates at all hours . So i’m not commenting precisely about Cook reading consumer emails but that he works hard all day so what his priorities are for the rest of the day? I’m not saying reading consumer emails are a waste as some might perceive. what I’m more interested is is what Cook focuses on in leading Apple (through the day and not just the morning)

  4. TBH for Timmy to spend 2 hours at 4 am in the morning reading customer feedback is probably not how to best spend his time at Apple. As MDN pointed out in their letter, getting the proper amount of sleep is more important so you work with a clear head throughout the day and preserve your health. Getting enough rest also sends a very important message to Apple staff.

    It sounds more like another virtue signaling exercise, like Timmy seems to be so fond of.

    I seriously doubt he ever got any feedback to remove x-serve, server configs, macOS server, Aperture, network devices, displays, to solder and glue components so it makes them close to impossible to upgrade or repair, make products as thin as possible at the expense of ports, battery capacity and thermal properties, to prioritize emojis and virtue signaling armbands over bug fixing and preserving ports everyone find useful.
    I am also sure he never got feedback to maximize price levels and corporate profit to the point the product line becomes out of reach in many markets.

    So clearly his 4 am exercise does not work in favor of his customer base.
    Just stop this nonsense Tim Cook!

  5. For all MDN or any of us know, Tim Cook turns in at night early enough to get plenty of sleep. The article is completely silent on what time his day usually ends.

    I thought it was Phil Schiller who referred to Apple’s pipeline as being so exciting. I could certainly be incorrect. If any MDN reader could give me a reference to a time when Tim Cook waxed gloriously about Apple’s pipeline in a manner that would invite all the disparaging name calling, I’d appreciate it.

    1. Pipeline refers to the role he had under Steve Jobs to streamline Apple’s just in time production of iOS devices and built to order Mac configurations – a role in which he was absolutely instrumental. Under his leadership Apple’s entire component supply chain was optimized and cost significantly reduced. Without it Apple would not be in a position to produce a large number of devices for world-wide delivery like they now do.

      The above is in stark contrast to the often abysmal product pipeline in multiple product categories under his leadership. Both have categories completely disappeared, and equally have other categories not seen updates for years leading to a non-compelling product offering that have moved parts of the core user base to other platforms.

      IMO Apple is currently to a large extent without product vision and is trying to gap over too many new areas, while leaving the primary and original product ranges to rot.

      While Tim Cook did an outstanding job in enabling Apple to handle a mass market, he equally fails to move the company in a direction that preserves the original spirit, vision and enthusiasm that surrounded it.

      1. “While Tim Cook did an outstanding job in enabling Apple to handle a mass market, he equally fails to move the company in a direction that preserves the original spirit, vision and enthusiasm that surrounded it.”

        Amen, amen, amen!…

  6. Oh, fer chrissake! Complaining about Apple or Tim not responding to user feedback is unbelievably stupid. We could probably take every user complaint and find its opposite, made by another user. “The iPad is too big”. “The iPad is too small”. “The iPad needs to be thicker and stronger”. “The iPad must not be any heavier.” and on, and on, and on.

    1. Well if he does read MDN obviously he is tone-deaf because the daily gripes for years now have gone UNANSWERED. He has proven over and over and over he could not care less for average customers, only the elites. Particularly the Apple CORE PRO customers like myself supporting Apple since the first computers were released in the 1980s.

      Pipeline only cares about three things:
      3-Phones, watches and pads
      Honorable mention: Liberal politics.

      Now as phone sales decline and Wall St. sees it for what it is, the chickens are finally coming home to roost. Hopefully, the handwriting is on the wall…

  7. I gave my sister-in-law Cook’s email address to send him a complaint about treatment in a store in Detroit and he responded the next day. The issue at the store was immediately resolved. It resulted in a free iPhone and a half price laptop and an apology to boot.

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