Unlike Steve Jobs who operated like a non-boss boss, running the company as the creative, yet kind of horrible figurehead, Tim Cook is more staid, responsible and reasonable. You know, like a normal boss.
We knew Cook would be a different kind of leader than Jobs. For one thing, he's known to be nice. But this lengthy profile by Fortune Adam Lashinksy shows just how adult Cook is compared to Jobs and just how much that grownup behavior has helped Apple's bottom line -- for now.
Cook's maturity goes beyond his public rapport, which is a departure from Steve Jobs' in that he has one. Jobs stayed away from investors, photo-ops and interviews. Cook, as we already knew, likes to put on a good face. He talks to press and investors. When Apple looked like a slave labor enabler, Cook went to China and took smiley photos. As Lashinky explains, all of this has only furthered Apple's economic success.
The profile opens with an anecdote that humanizes Cook, reminding us how he differs from Jobs. Cook goes to a meeting, explains Lashinsky, acting like a leader should:
What shocked the Apple investors that day was that CEO Tim Cook popped into the room about 20 minutes into Oppenheimer's talk, quietly sat down in the back of the room, and did something unusual for a CEO of Apple: He listened. He didn't check his e-mail once. He didn't interrupt.
Steve Jobs wouldn't have bothered
We get moments like this sprinkled throughout Lashinsky's story, as when Cook cracks jokes with employees. Lashinsky describes him as jovial, compared to Jobs who did things in a much more Machiavellian way.
Participants left the Top 100 energized about Apple's near-term outlook, presumably having seen Apple's next iPhone and perhaps its long-awaited television product too. One veteran executive was "blown away" by what he had seen, says someone this executive spoke to afterward. Reports another person with access to top-level Apple executives: "People came away totally comfortable with where the company is headed."