A recent video of Steve Jobs talking about corporate leadership and product vision has reawakened a debate about Apple CEO Tim Cook.
A caption for the video at Digg has the title: “Steve Jobs Eerily Warned Against What Apple Seems To Be Doing Now.”
This one sentence is a perfect example of a defective thought process and click-bait journalism. Namely, take a preconceived notion, marry it with a video of a stellar personality, and draw a (false) conclusion, wrapped in the authority of the video’s personality.
That was enough to have several people, readers and friends, send it to me for analysis and discussion.
There are several facts that undermine the thesis presented..
- Tim Cook was hand picked by Steve Jobs to assume the leadership of Apple.
- Apple was a very different company under Steve Jobs. The company has transitioned from a one-trick-pony, “One more thing” product company to a vast corporation able to take on much grander challenges.
- Accordingly, Apple needs an experienced orchestra leader today. Not a lead vocalist. Plus, Mr. Cook has grown in maturity as a CEO in the last six years.
Another trick used to criticize Tim Cook is to say that because he came through the ranks as a leader of the sales teams and as COO that he fails as a singular product visionary—the apparent point of the Steve Jobs video linked above. Q.E.D.
I declare this to be all nonsense.
A company of Apple’s size needs an orchestra leader capable of properly managing the multitude of product visionaries within. Without that, Apple would degerate into a collection of fiefdoms run by lords of their own self-serving kingdoms. That’s the state Apple was in when Steve Jobs came back, and he fixed that problem immediately.
The suggestion is that because Tim Cook isn’t the sole originator of outrageously good tech products and rams them down the company’s throat he’s not suited to be the CEO. This kind of thinking is a fanciful, outdated, authoritatian notion for a much smaller company.
Today, Tim Cook’s job is to be an orchestra conductor. He makes sure that everyone is on the same page and the instruments are superbly tuned. He’s not always succeeded perfectly, the 2014-2017 Mac lapse comes to mind, but he can hardly be compared, as Mr. Jobs suggested, to a corporate sales weenie to rises through the ranks only to guide his ship into a rudderless, maniacal obsession with money while great products languish. Or never get created.
The Tim Cook we know is passionate about quality, inspiring and secure products. He’s devoted to the vision of Steve Jobs but not so inwardly obsessed with his own agenda that he forgets how to lead a large, beloved, capable corporation.
Watch the Jobs video again. Great products sell themselves. Apple doesn’t fool itself into the idea that heavy handed sales techniques dupe the customer. Tim Cook’s heart-felt orchestration of the products brought to market is exactly what Mr. Jobs would demand of his successor years later.
Next Page: The News Debris For The Week Of September 25th. Hey, let’s sell a new camera always pointed at the customer’s bed.