Tim Cook, during his 2018 commencement speech at Duke:
No big challenge has ever been solved, and no lasting improvement has ever been achieved, unless people dare to try something different. Dare to think different.
I was lucky to learn from someone who believed this deeply. Someone who knew that changing the world starts with “following a vision, not a path.” He was my friend and mentor, Steve Jobs.
Steve’s vision was that great ideas come from a restless refusal to accept things as they are. And those principles still guide us at Apple today.
Because Steve taught us that’s how change happens. And from him I learned to never be content with things as they are.
I believe this mindset comes naturally to young people…and you should never let go of that restlessness.
Or, as we’ve heard from others:
Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
While many have argued that Apple has lost its footing without Steve Jobs at the helm, and some will say Apple hasn’t released any revolutionary new products, Apple’s success since Steve left-then-passed is undeniable. Many of us remember times where any non-Steve Jobs CEO at Apple was a complete and utter failure. That’s most certainly not been the case with Tim Cook.
Why is Tim Cook different? I think we see it here: Cook looked to Steve Jobs as his mentor. Cook clearly took every opportunity he could to learn from Steve and, while he has professed to never ask, “what would Steve do?”, he certainly embraces the philosophy and path that Steve laid out for Apple.
I’m reminded of the family business whose chance of success diminishes a little bit when the founder passes it along to his or her children, but then diminishes greatly when passed down a second time. The grandchildren-of-the-founder didn’t experience any bit of the grit that it took to stand that company up on its own two legs and support itself. And they’ve often grown up knowing that the company simply exists without their efforts, coddled by the spoils that company provides. That makes it difficult to fuel the fire that would enable one of those people to drive it forward.
By all rights it’s fairely safe to assume that Apple’s next CEO will not have been mentored by Steve Jobs. I’m not sure what that means for this company, but it will almost certainly mean a remarkable change.
That said–and I open this can of worms knowing I’m not digging into it right now–Scott Forstall doesn’t currently have a job. Maybe he’ll be open for the position when the time comes. He’s one of the youngest Steve Jobs mentees to walk the planet. Sure, many at Apple complained that Forstall was a bit of an asshole, but…he wouldn’t be the first asshole to take charge of that company, would he?
[Listen to today’s TMO Daily Observations where Bryan, Jeff, and I take this discussion to the next level]