Article: How was Steve Jobs as mentor? Tim Cook remembers the icon


How was Steve Jobs as mentor? Tim Cook remembers the icon

When Tim Cook joined Apple in 1998, the company was in turmoil. Yet one thing lured the future CEO into making that career move: the opportunity to work with a legend.
How was Steve Jobs as mentor? Tim Cook remembers the icon

Apple CEO Tim Cook paid tribute to Steve Jobs this week, marking 10 years since the death of the Apple co-founder and industry titan. In Cupertino, California where Apple is headquartered, the visionary's lessons still resonate.

Cook celebrated Jobs' legacy of challenging people and allowing them to "see the potential", not only of the world, but also of themselves. He counts the late business magnate as his own mentor. 

"Not a day goes by that I don't think about him," the CEO wrote in a staff memo, seen by Bloomberg.

Jobs believed: "People with passion can change the world for the better." This sentiment is echoed in the tribute, reminding people of the inspiration behind his creation of Apple – the iconic brand whose fusion of form and function gave rise to a generation of new-age consumer tech and amassed a loyal following. 

Today – despite its share of criticism – Apple continues to be on a mission to develop "wildly innovative tools that connect people, inspire them to think differently, and empower them to make their own dent in the universe," Cook said.

"I wish Steve were here to see the way his spirit lives on in all of your amazing work. But most of all, I wish he could see what you do next. Steve once said that his proudest achievements were the ones that were yet to come."

A veteran of Silicon Valley himself, Cook joined Apple in 1998 after Jobs convinced him to leave a comfortable post at Compaq to help him build an innovative new product – the game-changing iMac G3.

"Any purely rational consideration of cost and benefits lined up in Compaq's favour, and the people who knew me best advised me to stay at Compaq," he recounted in 2010.

But Cook came on board during a period of tumult at Apple. Back then, the company had been almost bankrupt, and the staff had low morale. Yet Jobs' future successor knew he couldn't walk away from the opportunity of working with the legend.

When Jobs took the future CEO under his wing, he knew he had found someone who shared his vision. "We could interact at a high strategic level," Jobs recalled in his biography.

The Apple co-founder, known fondly as the Wizard of Cupertino, "created the whole industry that I'm in," Cook said in an interview.

In his tribute this year, Cook said his mentor spent every day "imagining a future that no one else could see" and "working relentlessly" to bring that vision to life. 

"Steve was a singular figure," he said, "but he taught us all how to soar".

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Topics: Leadership, C-Suite, Culture

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