Apple CEO Tim Cook is known for his secretive personality.
But Cook interacts with plenty of people every day, who have shared some of their experiences working with him on Quora.
One person who described himself as one of Cook’s direct reports noted his insane attention to detail.
“No one knows the detail of their business better than Tim,” the person said. “And you’d better know the detail of your part of his business as well.”
That insider also echoed a common complaint about working at Apple: the lack of a work/life balance. It would appear this is especially true at the executive level.
“Your life is your work,” the person said. “Your work is your life. There is no such thing as work/life balance.”
In “Steve Jobs,” Water Isaacson delivers a vivid portrait of Cook’s confident demeanor in the C-suite.
“Cook commanded situations with a calm demeanor, a soothing Alabama accent, and silent stares,” he wrote.
Isaacson illustrated Cook’s emotionless managerial style with this vignette:
At a meeting early in his tenure, Cook was told of a problem with one of Apple’s Chinese suppliers. “This is really bad,” he said. “Someone should be in China driving this.” Thirty minutes later he looked at an operations executive sitting at the table and unemotionally asked, “Why are you still here?” The executive stood up, drove directly to the San Francisco airport, and bought a ticket to China. He became one of Cook’s top deputies.
While both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have been demanding of their lieutenants, Cook seems to lack some of the abrasive energy that his predecessor was known for. He’s also apparently less hands-on than Jobs was, according to a New York Times profile of the CEO:
Lower-level employees praise Mr. Cook’s approachability and intellect. But some say he is less hands-on in developing products than his predecessor. They point to the development of the so-called iWatch — the “smartwatch” that Apple observers are eagerly awaiting as the next world-beating gadget. Mr. Cook is less involved in the minutiae of product engineering for the watch, and has instead delegated those duties to members of his executive cabinet, including Mr. Ive, according to people involved in the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to press.
Cook does have one important trait in common with Jobs: his tendency to start working before dawn.
“Tim wakes up really early and is very well capable of expecting you to reply back before the sun comes up,” said one anonymous insider. “But I don’t think there is a difference there. When Steve used to be on a roll a couple of years back, you’d rather not go home to sleep, [and] forget about an early morning email.”