Washington Post’s Tim Cook Interview

Jena McGregor of The Washington Post talked with Tim Cook as the fifth anniversary of his CEO tenure was approaching at the time. The article itself is a decent read – no revelations here – but there are a couple of things here worth expounding on.

Tim Cook on the evolution of the company’s culture under his watch:

We used the same philosophy we do with our products, which is you unveil them when you’ve finished. But we stepped back and re-evaluated that and said, “You know, if we wait until you do that, we’re not helping anyone else get there, too.

I think this quote has Apple Watch written all over it. Internal beta-testing can only take you so far. At the point of its announcement, it was already in development for three years, so I’m guessing they thought that all it needed then was customer usage stats and feedback.

It makes me wonder how Jobs would’ve handled the decision of when to release it. I would’ve done it later, even if only seven months later in the March event when the Watch’s availability was announced – looking back, the expectations were daunting and Apple, I admit, was hyping up a half-baked product that was bad at communicating its use cases obviously and had even worse hardware-software integration.

Then again, Watch OS 3 might not even exist if the Watch wasn’t announced and launched the way that it was.

I think of a traditional CEO as being divorced from customers. A lot of consumer company CEOs — they’re not really interacting with consumers.

I think this is a quintessential Cook quote. It’s already known he devotes a lot of time to reading and occasionally replying to his emails. He’s really just a guy that cares a lot about people.

Cook on AI:

Look at the core technologies that make up the smartphone today and look at the ones that will be dominant in smartphones of the future — like AI. AI will make this product even more essential to you. It will become even a better assistant than it is today. So where you probably aren’t leaving home without it today — you’re really going to be connected to it in the future.

So the company sees value in AI. There aren’t a lot of situations where I’d call Apple the underdog – even if (when) they come out with a car within the next few years, I’d bank on Apple to succeed, if not absolutely flourish. But in this case, I’d call them an underdog. Extensive research in this field is being done not just within Silicon Valley but even in the MIT’s of the world. I’m still interested to see how this unfolds.

Apple is the only company that can take hardware, software and services and integrate those into an experience that’s an “aha” for the customer. You can take that and apply to markets that we’re not in today. There’s not a limitation that we can only do that in the smartphone area or in the tablet or Mac or watch area.

Good design is good business – that was the case back when Apple nearly went bankrupt, and that will be the case now that they have one of the biggest cash hoards and best manufacturer connections in history.

Source: The Washington Post