In a recent interview with Fast Company, Tim Cook has already shown us not to care so much about the Apple flaws and clearly admits that he makes mistakes. Incidentally, humility is present in all of his speeches, including an extensive interview he gave to The Washington Post soon after announcing the sale of the billionth iPhone.
On that occasion, Cook spoke about what he has gone through during the five years he is in the position of CEO of Ma and showed us what he expects for the coming years.
The looks and charges
As the CEO of one of the most well-known and successful companies in the world, Cook is always being watched at every step and unlike other people in the spotlight he receives daily words of support or various criticisms. When asked about "how to get used to it", he explains that "there is no way".
You get both praise and criticism and the extremes are wide, wide wide. And it can happen all in one day. You will be strengthening my skin became substantially thicker after August 2011. And I do not say it in a bad way. I do not mean that I have become insensitive and do not care anymore. I think I'm a little better today at compartmentalizing things and not taking it personally.
When he is reminded of the nostalgic speech of users and analysts who say that the company was already better, Cook explains that he does not care for always saying the same thing.
They said that about Apple in 2001. They said that in 2005. They said that in 2007 “this stupid iPhone, who invented this thing?”. Then, they said we reached our maximum in 2010, and then in 2011. We had $ 60 billion (in revenue) and said there was no way to grow more than that. Well, last year we reached $ 230 billion. And yes, this year has declined. It's not all the years that you can raise, you know? I've heard it all before. And I do not agree for many reasons with the traditional thinking that says: you cannot grow any more because you are already big.
For impatient investors looking for short-term financial returns, Cook makes it clear that the company's focus is on the long term.
I think that for investors focused on the long term, if you look at how we have been doing for the past five years, our total shareholder return is over 100%. That is a very good number. And I think most of the people who have been following the actions all this time are probably very happy.
When asked about the qualities of Apple that he intended to retain, Cook gave his usual speech, saying that he would like to remain with the ability to “make insanely great products that really change the world in a way, that add to people's lives” and this has been maintained. Regarding the fearsome and inevitable changes, the Apple CEO mentioned social engagement, the concern to demonstrate the importance of sustainability, among other things.
The most obvious is that we have more employees. The company is four times bigger (in revenue since 2010). We have already expanded the line of iPhones, this was a fundamental decision that I consider very good. We entered the Apple Watch business, which led us to consider wellness and health. We will continue on this path to see where it takes us.
About not being a “traditional CEO”
The way a CEO behaves in front of his company can greatly affect his products. Therefore, Cook explains what a “typical CEO” would be and why he does not agree and would not fit in with that conduct.
I think of a traditional CEO as being somehow divorced from customers. Several CEOs of companies do not interact with consumers.
I also think that the traditional CEO believes that his work is profit and loss, the statement of income, income and expenses, the balance. These things are important, but I don’t think it’s the only things that matter. There is a great responsibility towards the company's employees, the communities and countries where the company operates, the people who assemble the products, the developers and the entire ecosystem of the company.
iPhone, artificial intelligence and augmented reality
Considering that we are in the 9th year since the launch of the first iPhone, we see that it is still a great power in the market. At the company, the smartphone represents two thirds of sales, a fact used by interviewer Jena McGregor to ask how Ma is progressing as the market is cooling. Cook demonstrates nonchalance and says that this is not a problem, but a privilege; explains that in the long run and with the progress of artificial intelligence, iPhones will become even more essential.
Look at the main technologies that make up today's smartphone and look at the ones that will be dominant in the future like artificial intelligence. AI will make the product even more essential for you. He will become a better assistant than today. So, if you probably don't leave home without him today you will certainly be connected to him in the future. That level of performance will skyrocket.
Still on this subject, the interviewer asks if Apple can “reach” the level of competitors like Facebook, Google and Amazon and its AI initiatives. In an optimistic response, Cook says the company is not "falling behind".
Increasingly, Siri understands things without having to memorize certain ways of saying something. Siri's forecast is increasing. What we've done with AI is to focus on things that will help the client. And we announced in June that we are opening Siri to third parties, so that developers can now use it. () And so, as we are expanding Siri a lot.
When asked about the field of augmented reality, the reserved speech about new projects does not allow the CEO to give too many details.
I find RA (augmented reality) extremely interesting and a very important technology. So, yes, something we're doing a lot of things behind the curtains. (laughs)
Steve Jobs and successors
In a question about how he felt about “taking the place” of one of the icons of the business world, the CEO of Ma graced us with comments about his predecessor.
For me, Steve is not replaceable. By no one. (voice softens) He was a unique being. I never saw that that was my role. I think it would have been cheating if I had tried. When I took over as CEO, I really thought Steve would be here for a long time. Because he would be the president, he would work a little less after recovering. So I took the post with a thought and, weeks later, six weeks later, I don't know. () It was very fast. (The day he died) was kind of the worst day ever. I had already convinced myself. I know this may sound bizarre, but I had already convinced myself that he would get over it, because that's what he always did.
Recalling the various comings and goings at this post, the interviewer asked if Cook would have any plans for more CEO transitions to be more orderly.
At the end of each board meeting, I discuss success because I could make a mistake or something. We have the good discipline to do that. Next, my role will make sure that the board has strong candidates for the position. And I take this very seriously. I look around, for the great people I work with, there are truly magnificent talents in the company.
The future of Apple
When asked about Apple's long-term growth prospects, Cook highlighted some services and also the iPad Pro, which has been gaining a lot of space in corporate environments.
Among the current products, we have services (iCloud, App Store, Apple Pay, etc.), which over the past 12 months have grown from US $ 4 billion to about US $ 23 billion (in sales).
What else? The iPad. The iPad Pro. What we saw last quarter is that about half of the people who are buying one are using it at work. We have a huge opportunity in companies. Last year we made $ 25 billion or more from it worldwide. We are working better with our main partners because it is important; if you are thinking of using our products or any other products in your company, they need to work well together.
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There is definitely a lot to be said and, in the huge interview of about 10,000 (!) Words, Cook also spoke about the well-known FBI case, the mistakes he has already made in front of the company, whom he seeks to ask for advice, his decision to say how much your sexual orientation is more.
You can access the full interview (in English, of course), which also has two short videos, through this link.