Subscribe to The Atlantic and get 2 free issues

Tim Cook's Freshman Year: The Apple CEO Speaks

Cook reflects on his early days with Apple, how the company has changed in the past year, and what Steve Jobs told him before he died:

"So we started talking about what it meant. Again, this is when I am thinking, and I’m certain he’s thinking, that this is going to go on for a long, long period where he’s the chairman and I am CEO. So I’m trying to understand—how does he see this working? He had obviously thought very deeply about it.

"And as a part of this, I asked him about different scenarios to understand how he wanted to be involved as chairman. He said, 'I want to make this clear. I saw what happened when Walt Disney passed away. People looked around, and they kept asking what Walt would have done.' He goes, 'The business was paralyzed, and people just sat around in meetings and talked about what Walt would have done.' He goes, 'I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what’s right.' He was very clear."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 6, 2012
LENGTH: 33 minutes (8482 words)