Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why Steve Jobs chose Tim Cook to lead Apple.

Steve Jobs and his teams at Apple have literally transformed my life, as I am sure they have to many reading this. Well remembering the days of clunky manual typewriters with inky ribbons and fume-emitting cylindrical fax machines, I will never forget the day I saw a personal demonstration of the first Macintosh computer in 1984 by my friend Mike Beato. Somehow “transformative” doesn’t even seem to be the appropriate word to do it justice. It was a miracle.

So you can imagine how euphoric I was when my son Matt told me that he was going to work for Apple while at the University of Rochester, especially after he visited Cupertino and shared tales of the man behind the brand: Steve Jobs.

Known for his undying pursuit of perfection in every aspect and very short temper when people were not meeting his expectations, Jobs became both respected and feared by those who dedicated their lives to him.

And for my money, I get that.

I understand how someone could become so engrossed in achieving one’s dreams and passion that simple everyday courtesies may fall by the wayside. Especially when you find out that cancer is eating you alive and your days are numbered, which was Jobs' fate.

I remember how deeply saddened I was the day after he passed. I felt as if I had lost a very dear friend. And as I write this, I fondly recall receiving an email of condolence from my friend and business associate Russ Jundt.

When thinking about Steve’s possible successor, I had this very strong feeling that it would by Jonathan Ive, because Jony shared Steve’s passion for design innovation as well as for excellence across the board and unheard of technical advancement.

And then when the announcement was finally made, I remember having dinner with Matt when I said, “Who’s Tim Cook? I never heard of him."

Tim Cook is the man the Steve Jobs personally handpicked to replace him at the helm of Apple, educating him, nurturing him and training him until Jobs' final days.

As for Tim, I never felt the need or desire to become a fan of his. He was just kind of there. He lacked the forceful, electric presence of Jobs.

But yesterday I read a news brief where he was seemingly outed for being gay by CNBC cohost Simon Hobbs, although Cook did not keep it a secret. So when I clicked on the story, I decided to dig a little deeper into who Tim really was. And then I found the YouTube video above, recorded a few months ago.

After viewing it, I’m starting to think that maybe Steve had it right all along and knew exactly what he was doing. Here was a man that could lead Apple into the future, not out of fear and tantrums, but out of those attributes that make Tim who he seems to be: sincere, empathetic, forward-thinking and a true humanitarian who champions human dignity.

Yeah, Steve had it right. That’s the kind of man to move Apple forward. Good job, Steve.

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