The story of Tim Cook, the invisible leader who projected Apple into another dimension

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It was completely different. Because Cook created a leadership team after greatly simplifying the group at the head of the company (Scott Forstall, Jobs’ dolphin, the British designer Jony Ive, as well as many other executives, left) and identified top collaborators, after several mistakes, especially with John Browett, hired , to run Apple Retail Stores and fired after six months, and with Angela Ahrendts, who lasted three years. Among other things, Cook discovered that the best solutions are those that arise from listening to internal approval and consensus, and today the stores are under the wing of Deirdre O’Brien, a veteran Apple employee who is highly respected and also responsible for many other areas of the company’s management, from sales to personnel .

Above all, Cook succeeded in creating a new strategy based on values. Three to be exact: privacy, environment and inclusion. He claims it privacy is a universal human right, has significantly raised the bar on respect for the environment (in 2013 he hired Lisa Jackson, the former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which turns out to be one of his best choices ever) and has shown firsthand that inclusion and diversity are “real” values ​​as both within Apple and in the way its products are designed. Technology is a tool to make the world a better place and enable people to reach their full potential.

Maybephilosophical optimism of Cook is an exaggeration, but the result in financial terms confirmed Jobs’ choice right: Cook was the best possible person to put at the head of Apple. Over time, it even turned out that even his lack of “technical” vision is relative. Cook has become increasingly familiar with his role as the leader of the company and has worked long-term with the approach he prefers, i.e. through incremental iterations rather than “steps”, slowly building his long-term technology vision. A vision that revolves around technology: augmented reality. And while you wait for digital glasses or contact lenses, Apple’s future for now lies in Apple Vision virtual reality, a viewer that’s just being released. And then, as always, a very long-term vision: the next big bet that the company continues, very slowly, to build: Apple’s electric car.

But the caution, the shyness of those who do not like to bare on stage, combined with the ability to deal with an Oscar winner without problems, the long stride of a marathon runner, the monumental amount of work he can put in, still does not dissolve the central point: who really is Tim Cook? A cool corporate robot? An intense and very reserved person or a leader who hides an empty life behind the veil of privacy, devoid of color and affection? We’ll never really know unless he wants to explain it to us himself.

This article originally appeared in Wired 107, on newsstands now

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