McGregor’s profile of Cook in Sunday’s Post was a gift to Apple investors.
Jena McGregor has made a career of covering a relatively narrow beat. She writes about the theory and practice of contemporary corporate leadership, most recently as lead writer of the Washington Post‘s On Leadership column. (See, for example, here.)
Steve Dowling, head of Apple PR, had an exclusive to bestow: An interview with Tim Cook to mark the 5-year anniversary (on Aug. 24) of Cook’s elevation from Steve Jobs’ right-hand man to Jobs’ successor.
Dowling could have picked any reporter—what editor would have turned him down? He picked McGregor.
The result, on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post, was a fortuitous pairing of talent and access—a gift both to Apple and to anyone with a stake in Apple’s future. Cook got a chance to frame 2016—a downer of a fiscal year—the way he sees it. Investors got a chance to feel better about their investments (flat year over year, but up more than 120% since Cook took over in 2011).
These bits struck me as material:
On the job of the CEO:
The traditional CEO believes his or her job is the profit and loss, is the revenue statement, the income and expense, the balance sheet. Those are important, but I don’t think they’re all that’s important… I have a maybe nontraditional view there. I get criticized for it some, I recognize. If you care about long-term shareholder return, all of these other things are really critical.
On falling iPhone sales:
I realize that the people who are focused on this 90-day clock say, “Oh, my God, the smartphone industry only grew by 1 percent or decreased by 6 percent.” You know, the global economy’s not that great right now. But if you’re in it for the long haul, this is the best market on earth… We have to report every 90 days because that’s the rules, but it’s not how we run the company.
On future products:
Products? We purposely don’t talk about that one. But you can imagine. Step back and say what’s Apple so great at? Apple is the only company that can take hardware, software and services and integrate those into an experience that’s an “aha” for the customer. You can take that and apply to markets that we’re not in today. There’s not a limitation that we can only do that in the smartphone area or in the tablet or Mac or watch area.
Is Apple doomed?
They were saying that about Apple in 2001. They were saying it in 2005. They were saying it in 2007 — ‘this stupid iPhone, whoever dreamed up this thing?’ Then they were saying that we peaked in 2010, then it was 2011. We got to $60 billion [in revenue], and they said you can’t grow anymore from this. Well, last year we were $230 billion. And, yes, we’re coming down some this year. Every year isn’t an up, you know. I’ve heard all of it before. And I don’t subscribe to it because it’s traditional thinking in a lot of ways: You can’t get large because you are large.
Here’s the link.