Maccast Members #127 - A Great Cook
V A Great Cook
V Opening
* I was on the Mac Show on the British Tech Network recently and we discussed the D10 conference and Tim Cook
* I forget who mentioned it, but someone said something to the effect that while Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs he is a pretty darn good Tim Cook. I thought that was brilliant.
* I think Apple fans need to remember and respect Steve Jobs and his accomplishments, but we also need to allow the successors to be evaluated on their own talents and mertits and not force them to live in the Steve's shadow
* I want to talk about Tim Cook and some of the things he's done and is doing since taking the helm at Apple
V Cook's personality
* Much more quiet and reserved, but incredibly eloquent and always polished
* He's a businessman's businessman.
* When he gets excited about something and let's it show in an interview I think you can know that it's a really big deal.
* He did seem to pick up Jobs "preying" gesture when is pauses to refelect on something he is about to say, or maybe Jobs picked that up from him, hard to say.
V At the AllThingsD Conference
V Tim seemed pretty convinced that the stuff at Apple right now is some of the best stuff that they have ever done
* This is something that Jony Ive also mentioned in a recent interview
* Of course they can't talk about it.
* Cook put it as, "The juices are flowing"
V Apple is very healthy
* "We've had a few decent quarters"
V "The iPad has been a knockout and I think we are in the first inning of it"
* Cook pointed out that consumers love it, business loves it (I would say, employees, maybe not all IT), education loves it
V Cook really believes that the tablet market will eventually surpass the PC market
* That more and more people will gravitate to a tablet or something like as as their primary computing device
V When asked about we they see PCs and tablets as seperate and not hybrid or converged devices.
* "You can do things with the tablet if you are not encumbered by the legacy of the PC" - On why PC and tablet are different.
* "I think that products are about trade offs and you have to make tough decisions, you have to choose. And the fact is, the more you look at a tablet as a PC the more the baggage from the past effects the product."
* "We didn't invent the tablet market, it was there, we invented the modern tablet".
V "At a macro level they (the tablet and the PC) are connected, but if you force them together I think the PC is not as good as it can be and the tablet is not as good as it can be."
* Interesting, that it seems the hardware stays diverged, but the OS'es seem to be converging.
* I think this makes sense though since I think Apple sees a future of connected devices with apps, information, and data that just follows you from device to device.
V The Mac has outgrown the market every quarter for 6 years
* Mossberg rightly points out that is from a relatively small base
* Cooks response, Mac has always been about making the best, not the most.
V The world has met Apple
* He used the example of the iPod becoming a product that helped Apple grow into developed markets
* Cook I think deserves a lot of credit for driving Apple to roll out iPads and the Apple retails stores into other countries
* The aggressive roll outs have paid off in many countries with Apple's raid popularity and market share rise.
V How is Apple different with you as the CEO?
* It's obvious that Steve's passing effected him in a significant and profound way
V Last last year someone "shook" him and said it's time to get on.
* Sadness replaced by intense determination to continue the journey
V Focus is key.
* "You can only do so many things great and you should cast side everything else".
* Owning the key technology of a product is very important. Steve was very laser focused on that.
V Doing things great, not only good or very good. Only accepting the very best.
* That's embedded in Apple.
* Apple has a culture of excellence that is key and I'm not going to witness or permit the change of it.
* Steve taught him that the "Joy is in the journey"
V Kara asked about him saying him saying "You don't want to permit it to change, but things do change"
* First she is a dolt because Tim was referring to not changing the intense drive to always strive for excellence
* Time then points out that part of doing that is not ever focusing on or being tied down by the past. You have a great success or failure move on and create the next thing.
* Can't replicate the culture of Apple and it's unique.
V Great story about Steve witnessing what happened at Disney after Walt passed
* They would sit around and ask what would Walt do
* He told Tim, don't ever do that. Just go and do what's right.
V I think we are seeing evidence of that
* Apple more openness with China
* Apple's paying dividends to investors and employees
V Apple showing off more of it's philanthropic and community efforts
* Matching gift program
* To whom much is given, much is expected. - Tim Cook says, this is embedded in me.
* They are some of Tim Cooks first marks on Apple
V On Secrecy
V "We are going to double down on secrecy with product"
* I think this will be seen in pulling even more of the processes in house
* We already see it with, processor design, maps
* They will start to handle more sides, end to end.
V But, more transparency on Social change
* Supplier responsibility and the environment
* In this area I want people to copy us
V On China
V Why Apple doesn't Apple run their own factories in China with Apple employees?
* Apple wants to do things better than anyone else and they know and recognize what those things are.
* They don't put their effort into things where they recognize that someone else can do those things as good as or better than Apple
* The legacy of the disruption. Apple wants to only get into things where they know they can make a significant and changing impact.
V If you watch how they aquire technologies, what the roll in, and how they use those technologies and talent to produce stuff you can see it.
* Examples: OS X (NextStep), A4 and A5 processors, Siri, soon mapping?
V Apple's core competencies are in engineering, operations, supply chain management are Apple's but manufacturing is left to strategic partners.
* Unfortunately those partners sometimes seem to burn Apple (Samsung, Google) and that sometimes drives Apple to be forced to find new partners or innovate themselves and move in-house
* Apple's partners seem to sometimes drive that greater need for secrecy.
V On Patent wars
* "It's a pain in the ass"
* "It's important that Apple not be the developer for the world"
* "We just want people to invent their own stuff"
V Feels that there is a problem with FRAND (Fair, reasonable, and non-discrimitory) not being used properly for standards essential patents. Like some 3G patents for example.
* Claims Apple has never sued someone over Standards Essential patents that they own.
* Believes it's fundamentally wrong to do that.
* A license and payment does need to be made though.
* Madding, a waste, a time-suck. It's overhead I wish didn't exist
* Patent lawsuits aren't a problem for innovation at Apple, they keep making stuff regardless.
* It's (Apple TV) is a Key part of the ecosystem
* Sold 2.8 million in 2011, so far have sold 2.7million in just 6 months
* Area of intense interest. Customers are satisfied with the product
* We are going to keep pulling the string and see what will happen
* If we controlled the key technology in making this product (a TV) could we make a significant contribution far beyond what others have done, Can we make a product that we would want?
V On content
* We have very good relationships with the content owners
* Have respect for them and don't want their stuff to be ripped off
V View us positively because we do care.
* Most movies are editied on a Mac (not for much longer)
* "I don't think Apple has to own a content business, we haven't had an issue in getting content".
* "getting content isn't an issue"
* Apple partnering well is key.
V A simple and elegant solution for content owners to sell content is the best thing we (Apple) can do for all parties
* My belief is that Apple wants to be the store for direct to consumer content regardless of source for all forms of media
* Didn't rule out Apple funding original content, but didn't seem excited by it either.
V On Facebook
* Because you have a point of view doesn't mean you can't work together
* Two people with a strong point of view can appreciate each other even more and their relationship is much longer lasting
* We want to provide customers with simple and elegant ways to do the things they want to do.
V On acquisitions
* We continue to buy companies
* Not ones that we seek to make public, if I don't have to (tell) I don't.
* I would rule out (buying) a big one, we aren't looking at one right now.
* Look to buy companies not for revenue, but great people, cool technology, great IP, and synergy with a product we are working on
* Not wired for buying companies for revenue, may buy a company for revenue.
V On Siri
* One of the most popular features on the iPhone 4S
* we've got some cool ideas about what Siri can do
* Siri has proven people want to relate to the phone in a different way
* Voice with context and personality and AI. It's profound.
* It is profound. It's key.
* We see unbelievable potential here.
* Has moved into the mainstream
* We're "doubling down" on it.
V On his role at Apple
* I am who I am and I'm focused on being a great CEO at Apple
* I love every minute of it (working at Apple). It's my oxygen.
V Closing thoughts
V Who's the curator at Apple?
V It's always moved (even under Steve).
* This was interesting because it seemed to dispel the belief that the buck stopped at Steve and he could kill a project
V At another point in the interview Cook also noted that he felt one of Steve's amazing gifts was the ability to do a complete 180 on his opinion of something and in an instant have you believe that he always believed the thing that he just changed his mind to.
* Adds some understanding to how you can get a video iPod when Steve said no one wants a video iPod.
* No one person could do it all
V What's your goal?
* I want to build great products
* Not a specific revenue goal
* If we do that the other things follow
V Not spending much time in laser focused in marketing and design, the way Steve did. He said he was all over the place
* Get the sense that Cook really believe in the powerful executive team at Apple
* Pointed out that many of the people he works with have been there for double digit years (this is rare in tech, especially in Silicon Valley).
V Seems to be very smart about the importance of the global marketplace for Apple
* Recognizes that a lot of Apple's growth potential is outside the US
* I think that's way we saw so much focus on China and international support with Maps and Siri at WWDC.
* "I never thought following the herd was a good strategy. You're destined to be average at best doing that"edited.
V Get's 1,000 of emails a day from customers and considers it a privilege
* Unique to the culture
* They talk to you like they are in your living room.
V Seems to focus on vetting technologies based on if they can fundamentally change behavior