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Apple CEO Tim Cook often sits with random employees at lunch

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
A new feature on Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook describes him as a down-to-earth leader who is easy to talk to, and makes people easily forget that he is the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world.

The cover story of the latest issue of Fortune details how Cook is changing Apple in its post-Steve Jobs era. The piece, written by Adam Lashinsky, kicks off by describing how Apple investors were shocked when Cook met and spoke with them at an investor meeting in February at the company's corporate headquarters.

Cook's style is a stark change from his predecessor, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who despised participating in such investor events. But despite the "shifts of behavior and tone" described in Lashinsky's article, he added that Cook is maintaining "most of Apple's unique corporate culture."

"In general, Apple has become slightly more open and considerably more corporate," he wrote. "In some cases Cook is taking action that Apple sorely needed and employees badly wanted. It's almost as if he is working his way through a to-do list of long overdue repairs the previous occupant (Jobs) refused to address for no reason other than obstinacy."

In doing things his way, Cook has also retained his disarming personality, which Lashinsky said most employees at the company seem to prefer. For example, Cook often sits randomly with employees in Apple's corporate cafeteria during lunch, while Jobs typically dined with design chief Jonathan Ive, who was knighted this week in his home country of the U.K.

Tim Cook at Foxconn
Apple CEO Tim Cook tours an iPhone production line at a Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, China, in March.


Cook has also instituted major changes at the company, such as a considerable focus on using renewable green energy, bringing in independent audits of Apple's overseas supply chain, and also allocating $45 billion over three years toward a stock dividend and share repurchase program. And all of those changes have been made while Cook oversaw the two most successful product launches in Apple's history with the iPhone 4S last October and the third-generation iPad this March.

The Fortune cover story includes comments from an unnamed CEO of "an influential tech company," who described Cook as "down to earth, noncorporate, detail-oriented, and disarming."

"He's casual, grounded, and easy to talk to," they said. "I forgot he's the CEO of Apple. And that was not my experience with Jobs."

Lashinksy's book on Apple's corporate culture, entitled "Inside Apple," became available earlier this year. It profiled iOS chief Scott Forstall as the company's "CEO in waiting," declaring him the current most likely successor to Cook.
post #2 of 73

I think most people agree that Tim is likable and a really great fellow all-around. I haven't heard much negative about him at all, I think he's very admired by the Apple community and seen as a positive influence at Apple.

post #3 of 73
In a way that's cool and Cook seems like a nice guy but if I'm at lunch shooting the shit with fellow co-workers whom I likely consider friends and perhaps blowing off some steam about this or that and surely taking a break, having the CEO come sit with me for the duration of my lunch might not be the best thing.

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post #4 of 73

Cook interacted with investors when he was COO so he's just continuing in that role. Obviously Apple's culture is going to be different without Jobs. It's not like Cook was going to start shunning investors and acting like a dick towards employees because his title changed to CEO.

post #5 of 73

I keep waiting to hear something bad about Cook. Never happens. He was a good choice.

post #6 of 73

CEO of company uses widely used management techniques. News at 7. 

post #7 of 73
Okay, he's a nice guy. But can he innovate?
post #8 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Okay, he's a nice guy. But can he innovate?

 

Innovate?

 

Why does he need to innovate?

 

He needs to manage.

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post #9 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

In a way that's cool and Cook seems like a nice guy but if I'm at lunch shooting the shit with fellow co-workers whom I likely consider friends and perhaps blowing off some steam about this or that and surely taking a break, having the CEO come sit with me for the duration of my lunch might not be the best thing.

 

Personally, I would love it if my boss came to sit with me for lunch.

 

... as long as he wasn't a dick about it and canned someone for something he overheard.

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post #10 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Okay, he's a nice guy. But can he innovate?

 

That's not his job. His job is to facilitate innovation and execute it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

In a way that's cool and Cook seems like a nice guy but if I'm at lunch shooting the shit with fellow co-workers whom I likely consider friends and perhaps blowing off some steam about this or that and surely taking a break, having the CEO come sit with me for the duration of my lunch might not be the best thing.

 

He doesn't have lunch with you every day. He does it once, and then moves on. It's perfectly ok once in a while.

post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Okay, he's a nice guy. But can he innovate?

From a product stand-point? That's not his job. That's what he has Ive, Forstall, Mansfield, and rest of his team for.. He's done a lot innovation in the supply chain and logistics. But overall his job is to run the company in a way that allows his talented people to innovate.
post #12 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

... as long as he wasn't a dick about it and canned someone for something he overheard.

"So I was at this bar last night and you wouldn't believe what I did in my drunken stupor. I left my iPhone prototype at the bar! I can't really remember what happened but I kind of recall this hot Korean girl coming up and saying hello to me. She was very touchy feely. You think she took it? I wonder if she worked for Samsung."

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #13 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


"So I was at this bar last night and you wouldn't believe what I did in my drunken stupor. I left my iPhone prototype at the bar! I can't really remember what happened but I kind of recall this hot Korean girl coming up and saying hello to me. She was very touchy feely. You think she took it? I wonder if she worked for Samsung."

 

, mused Cook as he sat with his employees at lunch.  lol.gif

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post #14 of 73
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

CEO of company uses widely used management techniques. News at 7. 

Well that's better than being fired on the elevator when the CEO asks you what you've been doing.
post #15 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

In a way that's cool and Cook seems like a nice guy but if I'm at lunch shooting the shit with fellow co-workers whom I likely consider friends and perhaps blowing off some steam about this or that and surely taking a break, having the CEO come sit with me for the duration of my lunch might not be the best thing.

 

You sound like a real clever guy...

post #16 of 73

So the CEO of the the company you work for, wants to join you for lunch, and you can't put off your BS session or to blow off steam for a day to talk with him??? REALLY????

post #17 of 73
Really who care who he sits with ? & it sounds creepy to me
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

CEO of company uses widely used management techniques. News at 7. 

 

Exactly.  And your boss is your boss, not your friend.  

 

It's nice enough that he does this once in a while and it's a positive move for both parties, but anyone who makes the mistake of thinking your boss is a "friend" or just "one of the team" or any of that BS is an idiot.  The boss can't ever be 100% genuine, open and equal with the employees and the employees can never *really* say everything they think to their bosses.  It's just the way the master/peon relationship works.  

post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

In a way that's cool and Cook seems like a nice guy but if I'm at lunch shooting the shit with fellow co-workers whom I likely consider friends and perhaps blowing off some steam about this or that and surely taking a break, having the CEO come sit with me for the duration of my lunch might not be the best thing.

Depends. If you're badmouthing him, them it's going to shut you up. But if you're talking about what you see are problems, them it just might encourgage you to keep talking.

I'm just concerned that this prevents him from spending time with Ives. He should do that too.
post #20 of 73

I always maintain you learn more from ground level employees than you do from upper level employees.

 

If upper mgmt of a megacorp does not have a clue what is happening, that's the beginning of the end of that megacorp.  Seen it lived it.

 

That said, Tim Cook does need to make sure Apple introduces innovative products.  I believe Apple is stabilizing and won't innovate much anymore.  Innovations will come from the next Apple currently headed by a 24 year old in a garage somewhere.  They won't be coming from Tim Cook, although it appears he was an excellent choice to be CEO of Apple the megacorp.

post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

, mused Cook as he sat with his employees at lunch.  lol.gif

As Tim is gay, I doubt a girl would I Teresa him that much. He doesn't seem to be the trawl the bar type. Besides, I think he's with someone.
post #22 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Exactly.  And your boss is your boss, not your friend.  

It's nice enough that he does this once in a while and it's a positive move for both parties, but anyone who makes the mistake of thinking your boss is a "friend" or just "one of the team" or any of that BS is an idiot.  The boss can't ever be 100% genuine, open and equal with the employees and the employees can never *really* say everything they think to their bosses.  It's just the way the master/peon relationship works.  

The boss should never act as a friend. But to sit during lunch with different people is a very good thing. It depends on the person. Some bosses are people friendly, and some aren't. I don't suppose sitting with Ellison during lunch would be comfortable. But sitting with Cook might very well be.

While my companies were much much smaller than Apple, employees liked having lunch with me from time to time. We could talk about what was happening, and what they thought might work. We all got a lot out of it.
post #23 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Okay, he's a nice guy. But can he innovate?

Steve Jobs said Tim wasn't a "product guy"
Tim is a smart guy, and I think he would agree. None of the descriptions of Tim include hubris in thinking he could he be the "next Steve Jobs"; Tim never expressed any such desire. What that probably means is that Tim would continue to foster talented people, and preserve the aspects of Apple's culture that allow it to continue making a difference.

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post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryuk View Post

Really who care who he sits with ? & it sounds creepy to me

 

the word around the Apple campus is that he really never listens to what the people he is eating lunch with have to say, he is just doing it to steal their french fries.  

post #25 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


Steve Jobs said Tim wasn't a "product guy"
Tim is a smart guy, and I think he would agree. None of the descriptions of Tim include hubris in thinking he could he be the "next Steve Jobs"; Tim never expressed any such desire. What that probably means is that Tim would continue to foster talented people, and preserve the aspects of Apple's culture that allow it to continue making a difference.

While he personally doesn't innovate as far as products are concerned, he probably knows "good" when he sees it.  Or at the very least he trusts others on his team to tell him what is good (Ives.)

post #26 of 73

This quote is exactly what I thought would happen when Jobs left Apple:

 

 

Quote:

 

"In some cases Cook is taking action that Apple sorely needed and employees badly wanted. It's almost as if he is working his way through a to-do list of long overdue repairs the previous occupant (Jobs) refused to address for no reason other than obstinacy."

 

 

 

It's the low hanging fruit, and I suspect that Apple over the next 5 years will be better off with Cook than it would have been with Jobs because of this. 

 

The 5 years *after* that, though, is a different matter -- that's when Cook will really be tested. My hunch is he'll pass the test with flying colors, but that's just a hunch -- there is risk. 

 

More generally, Apple is heading into a new phase in its history. It's a phase where it is a massive company, not a start-up or a reborn company. While it's important for Apple to retain the things that allowed it to disrupt so many other big companies, it must also adapt to the reality that it is now a big company itself. This will be a tricky thing to balance. Steve Jobs was unique in what he accomplished. Tim Cook is by definition unique in that he is the man who is following Steve Jobs. It will be his job to thread that needle. I'm optimistic he can do it. 

post #27 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Okay, he's a nice guy. But can he innovate?

You're giving Steve Jobs way too much credit. I'm going to assume that you assume Steve was the driving force of everything Apple did? Well while he did do some things, most of the work from the people under him. You're only as good as the people around you and Steve (and now Tim) had great people around them. 

 

Like others are saying, its not Tim's job to innovate. Steve didn't necessarily innovate either as much as you'd like to think he did. He just pushed others to innovate and he was the guy on stage talking about it. 

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post #28 of 73
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Originally Posted by melgross View Post


As Tim is gay, I doubt a girl would I Teresa him that much. He doesn't seem to be the trawl the bar type. Besides, I think he's with someone.

 

Thank you for over analyzing that quip. <slaps forehead>

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post #29 of 73

Apple may be taking a cue from how some say the Catholic church picks popes. They rotate between popes that focus on rank-and-file Catholics, on church beliefs, and on administration. Pope John Paul II was a 'people pope,' so he has been followed by a theologian. Since both of those often let finances slip, the next one is likely to be a good budget balancer. I'm not Catholic myself, but I do find it impressive that Catholicism is not only the world's oldest formal organization, but that its entire 'hierarchy' has only six levels (pope to lay) for its billion-plus members. I've worked for Boeing and sometimes you find almost that many levels of supervision just within one building.

 

At Apple, it appears that Pope Jobs, the dogmatist, has been followed by Pope Cook, a people person who, fortunately for Apple, also seems to have a knack for administration. It is a fortunate move for the company. I can only hope that the people-centric Cook opens the company up to more outside contact. Apple's refuse to accept criticism from users is rapidly becoming its main flaw, witness its stonewalling about the bad features in Lion.

post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

In a way that's cool and Cook seems like a nice guy but if I'm at lunch shooting the shit with fellow co-workers whom I likely consider friends and perhaps blowing off some steam about this or that and surely taking a break, having the CEO come sit with me for the duration of my lunch might not be the best thing.


Hmmm. Take advantage of the chance to spend a few minutes with one of the most powerful people in the world, or spend your lunch whining to the same people you do that with every day. 

Touch choice for an adult.

post #31 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post
Apple's refuse to accept criticism from users is rapidly becoming its main flaw, witness its stonewalling about the bad features in Lion.

 

This is unsubstantiated, of course.

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post #32 of 73
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

This is unsubstantiated, of course.

 

Of course.

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post #33 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post


Hmmm. Take advantage of the chance to spend a few minutes with one of the most powerful people in the world, or spend your lunch whining to the same people you do that with every day. 
Touch choice for an adult.

Don't get me wrong, I'd relish the opportunity but I assume that most people would act differently when around the CEO which means they are likely not being themselves and certainly not relaxed.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


The boss should never act as a friend. But to sit during lunch with different people is a very good thing. It depends on the person. Some bosses are people friendly, and some aren't. I don't suppose sitting with Ellison during lunch would be comfortable. But sitting with Cook might very well be.
While my companies were much much smaller than Apple, employees liked having lunch with me from time to time. We could talk about what was happening, and what they thought might work. We all got a lot out of it.

The Boss should not act as your friend, but if s/he is your friend its fine as long as you can be grown up about it. It can be challenging but grown ups in a modern professional environment should be able to separate work and friendship. But personality like you say, is key. 

post #35 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

Apple may be taking a cue from how some say the Catholic church picks popes. They rotate between popes that focus on rank-and-file Catholics, on church beliefs, and on administration. Pope John Paul II was a 'people pope,' so he has been followed by a theologian. Since both of those often let finances slip, the next one is likely to be a good budget balance...

 

 

This post seems like a bad joke IMO.  Catholic Popes are actually picked in a sort of free-for-all like situation amongst the Cardinals. The guy with the most political pull wins (unless he subsequently fails the testicular examination intended to prove that he's "not a girl").  

 

It has little to do with the particular qualities of the person involved (and yes, they are "persons" just like you and me), it's just plain old politics.  The cardinals are often deadlocked for days while they each try to curry favour with each other and wrangle it out.  There is a huge amount of documentation out there about this and in my experience, even many of the Catholic news agencies describe the process in a similar fashion when reporting on it. 

post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


The boss should never act as a friend. But to sit during lunch with different people is a very good thing. It depends on the person. Some bosses are people friendly, and some aren't. I don't suppose sitting with Ellison during lunch would be comfortable. But sitting with Cook might very well be.
While my companies were much much smaller than Apple, employees liked having lunch with me from time to time. We could talk about what was happening, and what they thought might work. We all got a lot out of it.

 

Agreed.  It's a positive thing for both parties if done right. 

post #37 of 73

FWIW, ever since I heard the (apocryphal?) story of being fired in an elevator by Steve for not being able to quickly explain how you help Apple, I've always had that elevator speech handy no matter where I work. Call me paranoid, but its a nice thing to have just for your own sake... 'Exactly what value do I provide here.' If you don't know that, you really should be somewhere else.

post #38 of 73

Find another picture of Tim... This one is WAY overused.

post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

 

Thank you for over analyzing that quip. <slaps forehead>

 

Hey Herm, I liked your quip, but what's the problem in pointing out that Cook is gay?  From hanging out on this site for a long time, it seems like the CEOs, including their personal lives, are of interest...

 

Anyway I hear Cook likes asian guys :b

post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

Cook interacted with investors when he was COO so he's just continuing in that role. Obviously Apple's culture is going to be different without Jobs. It's not like Cook was going to start shunning investors and acting like a dick towards employees because his title changed to CEO.

Exactly, Tim is being Tim just like he was before. He probably ate with random employees etc back then too. But he wasn't CEO so its not news.

As for the changes, some of them might have been Tim, some might have been Steve but for various reasons prep wasn't finished until after Steve died. Same with product designs and such

Frankly I think the media needs to get off the Tim Cook train. They are sliding into the same focus on the man not the products trap they created with Steve. And that was what killed he stock value a few years back because folks got to thinking Apple and Steve were the same. We don't need to repeat that with Tim, Scott, Sir J or anyone else.

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