Not just an industrial engineer, not merely a developer, rather a business executive in the top echelons of the great American dream, Tim Cook turns 57 today. But one wonders whether November 1, 2017 would be an off day for one of America’s most dignified and admired business icons?
Unlike the Batman, on whose watch Gotham is safe at all hours, on Tim Cook’s watch, Apple is preoccupied with work at all hours. Don’t you think?
There can be off days and lazy existences for employees of any thriving multinational and that’s all fine but what about its foremost leaders?
Is that Macbook still on, are the final slides to a gripping PowerPoint still being knotted into something substantial by Cook’s briskly moving fingers? Apparently, a visit to the Chinese mainland was pending and beckoning Cook’s attention for a while. China, of course is, amongst the largest consumers of Apple’s utterly refined marquee of products although also a market where brands like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are giving Apple some incredible competition.
But let’s dispense with silly titles for a while.
Quite like most top business execs in an America riding the high-tide of innovation and creativity, Tim Cook’s journey to the top ascendancy at Apple has been a memorable one, albeit being marked by stifling challenges. Not necessarily recognised as a connoisseur of innovation and design, concepts winged by the legendary Steve Jobs, Cook’s success has been attributed to his penchant for continuing the culture of innovation at Apple- the pillars responsible for the brand’s magnanimous success in the world.
But there was a time when one wondered how does one replace a man of the stature of Steve Jobs, isn’t it? Rather, a question in mainstream global media, not only restricted to American journals but one irking tabloids imbued with counter culture narratives was that if Steve Jobs could ever be replaced in the first place?
They don’t make men like that everyday, right?
So, in 2011, as Jobs exited a planet that he had adequately ‘Apple-d’ with a mind boggling mélange of creativity and utility, Tim Cook, a somewhat low-key figure but one emanating a sense of scholarly charm took over as the Chief Executive of an enterprise that currently stands at an operating profit of $8.7 billion.
Since then, you’ve seen the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 7, newly innovated concepts, previously unseen such as the wireless Apple Airpods, iPhone 8, as the stage is now set for witnessing the launch of the much-anticipated iPhone X, a product that business and tech journals have aptly summarized as “falling in love with tech has never been easy”.
But if you cut across popular culture and listical reads that sell on quick-reads such as the ‘10 smartest things that Tim Cook has done since donning CEO’s role at Apple’, you’d find that amongst the least celebrated of his achievements has been Apple’s commitment to safeguarding user data.
Earlier in 2017, when Cook reinstated users’ faith declaring the company doesn’t believe in sharing user data with governmental organisations in the name of administering civilian safety, heads were turned , but in respect and pure admiration for the brand and its chief engineer of reassurance, shall we say!
Let’s not forget, that Apple did not feature in the list of several organisations blamed by the now-famous whistleblower turned data-security advocate Edward Snowden for compromising privacy and breaching safety of millions and millions of users; a not so glorious account that included tech giants such as IBM, Microsoft and Google.
So if that does not tell us something about the fabric of utter incorruptibility in Cook’s career, one already checkered by his ‘anytime’ availability to employees- the Alabama-born answering emails even at 4.30 a.m- then what will?
As a dashing corporate leader, he chooses to dress simply, essaying grace over flawed ideas of gravitas and prefers to simply sip ‘aqua’ over liquor punched with glib. Tim Cook, it has to be said, is an ‘all-weather’ man tied to the fate of a brand looking to re-energize its fortunes in an era where the smartphone template continues to find gaudy competition world-over amidst times of increasing purchase power, with social media emojis striking more emotion than what one would find in real-life conversations.
That said, would you say there’s an irony about Tim Cook- a man who loves One Republic and became darling of the media on his carpool karaoke ride with James Corden- with him being born in a ‘Port-city’ named ‘Mobile’, in Alabama? One doesn’t think so!