Originally Posted by dav
so A.I., who's the most powerful Asian, atheist, bisexual woman in Silicon Valley? Inquiring minds want to know!
There are a couple of profiles around concerning Tim so while the sexuality issue is a sensitive one, some other points they raise are interesting and a lot of them mentioned in the AI article:
Cook is described as a workaholic who begins emailing his underlings at 4:30 am each morning. He expects similar commitment from others; Cook once dispatched an underling straight from a meeting at Apple headquarters in Cupertino to the airport bound for China, without time even to pack a change of clothes or figure out a return date. "Why are you still here?" was Cook's goodbye, delivered in the middle of the meeting.
Cook is not known as a product visionary or for shepherding projects through Apple's rigorous development pipeline. For those sorts of tasks, Jobs' heir apparent is design chief Jonathan Ive. He is also not known as a compelling public speaker, which is probably why marketing chief Phil Schiller has handled the unveiling of new Apple products during Jobs' past absences.
Like Jobs, Cook is a Bob Dylan fan, and at one point, at least, kept a picture of the singer in his office, alongside a shot of Bobby Kennedy. The photo of Bobby Kennedy reveals another side of Cook, the idealist. Cook has said he is "tormented" at times by thinking what would have happened if R.F.K. had become President.
A former college classmate described him as "not a real social person...He just never seemed that interested in other people. I'm a hugger and a kisser, but I'd never feel comfortable giving Tim a hug or a kiss."
After Cook was profiled as a "lifelong bachelor" and "intensely private" elsewhere, we wondered if he might be gay. We've since heard from two well-placed sources that this is indeed the case, and it sounds like Cook's sexual orientation has been the topic of at least some discussion within the company. One tech executive who has spoken to multiple Apple management veterans about Cook was told executives there would support Cook if he publicly acknowledged his orientation, and even would encourage him to do so as he steps up his leadership role, but that they also had concerns about whether his coming out would impact the perception of the Apple brand.
If Cook is in a long term partnership, he's kept it well hidden. Given his brutal work schedule, though, it's hard to imagine how he'd find time. Still, he's got enough experience to have developed some preferences; our tech executive source claims Cook is into Asian guys.
Cook serves on Nike's board, which is why you'll see him sporting Nike shoes under his jeans around the Apple office.
"Come on, replace Steve? No. He's irreplaceable," Cook said recently, according to a person who knows him well. "That's something people have to get over. I see Steve there with gray hair in his 70s, long after I'm retired."
"By default Tim Cook would be the logical guy," says Toni Sacconaghi, an influential Apple analyst at brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein. "Yet that hasn't been spelled out. And the stakes are just higher at Apple, because Steve is larger than life, and Tim isn't a known quantity."
Though he's capable of mirth, Cook's default facial expression is a frown, and his humor is of the dry variety. Like everyone else at Apple, Cook dresses casually in jeans, his graying hair cropped close in the style of Lance Armstrong, whom he idolizes.
"Nobody would make Tim Cook CEO," says a Silicon Valley investor who travels in the Apple orbit. "That's laughable. They don't need a guy who merely" gets stuff done. "They need a brilliant product guy, and Tim is not that guy. He is an ops guy - at a company where ops is outsourced."
There's also the question of whether Cook even wants to be CEO - such a high-profile job would attract the kind of public scrutiny he has carefully avoided - or if he'd accept a job elsewhere if one were offered. People who know Cook say he professes a genuine love for Apple. "To me the company is about putting together pieces of the puzzle," Cook told someone recently, "not about getting personal visibility."
From some of the details above that don't concern his sexuality, Tim Cook most certainly wouldn't come across the same way as Jobs. It doesn't sound like he has a great sense of humour nor vision for products. There is also the hint that he can be swayed into going elsewhere - he's on Nike's board. This wouldn't happen with Steve because it's his company. From his own admission, he doesn't see himself taking that role either and plans on being retired while Steve is still at the company.
It sounds like this will happen within 10 years. For the CEO position, they need someone who can go the distance. Although Tim has been there a while, I mean go the distance from now. The only person remotely close that we see publicly would be Scott Forstall. I don't see an idealistic persona there though, more just someone who would connect well with the younger demographic. Steve Jobs will have thought long and hard about this time coming and he's tried to mould people to be like him and look for other people like him but that approach is flawed because you can't replace a mould-breaker by fitting other people into the same mould. The mould itself is just a by-product of the qualities that produce it so it's the qualities they need to look for. I actually get the impression from a few of the public figures there that they share similar qualities though so it's not all bad.
The question I would have is, what will Apple as a company look like in 10 years? Year after year, they've used superlatives to describe their achievements but there will come a time when that stops. With every company, there has to be a driving force to reach a certain Event Horizon and beyond that point, it doesn't matter. Think of a day when motherboards are so small and networks so fast that everyone is building machines that are the size of a mobile phone or laptop screen with capacitive multi-touch or a progression of it. When you just have a black square for a device, all you are left with is software and no need to innovate in hardware.
At this point, hardware manufacturers stop being great in their own right and become conduits for innovative soft-content just like TV manufacturers. If they have a desire to stand out in the crowd, they need to diversify and move off the well-worn path again and again. They can only do this with a visionary at the helm and Tim Cook doesn't seem to be the man to do this. Without one, I don't see Apple continuing to be the same company. They have enough reserves and product lifespans to last for a very long time though and well before that time, it's probably not going to matter.