Commencement Addresses Reveal Steve Jobs and Tim Cook Are More Similar Than You Might Think

Steve Jobs Stanford

On Saturday, Tim Cook told Tulane’s class of 2019 to pay “enough attention to what we owe one another.” In 2005, Steve Jobs told Stanford graduates to “stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Both powerful speeches reveal that the two men are rather more similar than people often think.

Steve Jobs Stanford

Steve Jobs and Tim Cook: Two Idealists Leading Apple

As is appropriate on such occasions, the addresses had a heavy dose of idealism running through them. Mr. Cook was somewhat political. He urged the listening students to tackle climate change. “I don’t think we can talk about who we are as people and what we owe to one another without talking about climate change,” he said. However, he also spoke of familial love and “feel[ing] grateful because someone sacrificed to make this moment possible for you.”

Mr. Jobs was less political, but his approach was similarly high-minded. He told the students stories. He spoke of dropping out of college, being fired, falling in love, and how it all helped him get to where he ended up. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose,” he said, recalling his original pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Of course, Mr. Jobs famously ended with the famous quote from the end of The Whole Earth Catalog: “Stay hungry. Stay Foolish.”

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” Mr. Jobs said at another point. “Feel big because no one can make you feel strong. Feel brave because the challenges we face are great but you are greater,” said Mr. Cook. Yes, commencement addresses are all about looking forward. About taking on the world. About being able to do anything. Apple’s CEOs took the values that run through the company and applied them in these speeches. The addresses showed how the company ties the two men together and revealed that Mr. Jobs and Mr. Cook are just a little bit more similar than you might have thought.

3 thoughts on “Commencement Addresses Reveal Steve Jobs and Tim Cook Are More Similar Than You Might Think

  • While I’m not a fan of Tim Cook, John Kheit is completely missing the point of Charlotte’s article. She’s not saying they’re identical in ALL respects, but that they do have some similar philosophies.

    Tim Cook is not the reason for Apple’s struggles of the past few years in my opinion. Jony Ive’s ego is clearly out of control. He’s completely ignoring the fact that good design means “it actually works.” That’s why we have a laptop that’s 0.000001 mm thinner than its’ predecessors but has a keyboard that doesn’t work. Craig Federighi is why Apple no longer follows their own Human Interface Guidelines and we end up with software that is so unreliable that I wonder if I was written by people Microsoft refused to hire.

    My 2 cents worth…

    Old UNIX Guy

  • Seriously? That’s like saying since they both like puppies and ice cream they are similar.

    Cook is a failure and not worth the sweat off jobs” cheeks. Cook isn’t even a shadow of the jobs. Jobs passed gas that was more profound and insightful than the best thoughts or accomplishments that “deep pipeline” “failure to deliver” cook ever had or will have in all his mediocre vanilla “glory” and life.

    Skulley is more impressive thank cook.

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