When Tim Cook talks about Apple, he becomes rhapsodic. When asked by Bloomberg/Business week's Josh Tyrangiel in an interview this week whether he thought of himself as an “enormously responsible” person, Cook responded:
I love the company. A significant part of my life is Apple. Maybe some people would say it's all of my life. I would say it's a significant part. And you know, I feel both a love for it [and] I feel a responsibility. I think this company is a jewel. I think it's the most incredible company in the world, and so I want to throw all of myself into doing everything I can do to make sure that it achieves its highest, highest potential.
His self-professed love for and dedication to the company, where he has spent the last 14 years, mirrors how millions of customers relate to Apple. There's a cult of Apple, and Cook is now the high priest, though he humbly states that he's merely privileged to serve the faithful. He told Tyrangiel:
I've talked to many other CEOs who look at me like I have three heads when I talk about getting hundreds or thousands of customer e-mails in a day. It's a privilege. It's like you're sitting at the kitchen table. You're a part of the family. And we have to continue to honor that.
Cooks treats Apple like a sacred trust handed down from its co-founder, and he's on a media campaign to share his updated version of the Apple gospel. “In creating these great products, we focus on enriching people's lives — a higher cause for the product. These are the macro things that drive the company,” Cook said in the interview. He references “we” rather than “I” in his remarks, a reflection of his sense of himself as a reluctant public figure who values collaboration over confrontation.
And he wants to surround himself with those who share his deeply emotional attachment — drink the Kool-Aid — to the Apple brand. In describing his relationship to Apple design chief and Steve Jobs favorite Jony Ive, Cook said:
I love Jony. He's an incredible guy, and I have a massive amount of respect for him. What bonds us? We both love Apple. We both want Apple to do great things. We both subscribe to the same principles. We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe in collaboration. We both view Apple as here to make the best products in the world. So our values are the same.