Apple’s Tim Cook Barnstorms for ‘Moral Responsibility’

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“The reality is that the government is less and less functional for a long period of time and does not work at the speed it once was. And so it falls, I think, not only on business travel, but on everyone else Sectors of society to rise. “

This was Tim Cook, the boss of Apple, across the table by me about breakfast here in downtown Austin late last week at the end of a mini-tour across the country, where he focused on topics normally reserved for politicians Were: manufacturing, jobs and education.

He had just spent the previous day in Ohio where he produced CTS, a technology company that used the equipment that Apple used to test water resistance and dust protection for the iPhone and the Apple Watch. He then flew to Des Moines where he was planning to make an investment of $ 1.3 billion into a 400,000-square-foot data center near Waukee to help store huge amounts of information for his services like iCloud and FaceTime And move. And he came here to announce that Austin Community College is going to begin its 74,000 students a curriculum that Apple designed to teach them how to write code to create apps for iPhones. Austin is one of 30 community colleges that will offer the curriculum.

When Mr. Cook’s breakfast arrived-two scrambled white, crispy bacon (they had not his favorite turkey bacon), sugar-free grain with unsweetened almond milk-he described his week, interrupted by a visit the night before the L.B.J. Presidential Library, the museum of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“One of the things that hits you,” he said, “are all great acts, the legislation that has happened during his presidency.” His eyes widened as he introduced a few: “You have the Citizenship Act, the electoral law, you have Medicare, you have Medicaid, you have several national parks, you have head start, you have residential discrimination, you have jury discrimination.”

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“Regardless of your policy,” he continued, “you look at it and say,” My God “

Mr. Cook’s comments were not a dig for President Trump as much as they were a criticism of Washington’s seemingly eternal state of the gridlock.

And now Mr. Cook is one of the many managing directors in the country who seem to fill the void with his platform at Apple to wade into larger social issues that typically surpassed the mandate of senior executives in past generations.

He said he had never asked it to do so, but he felt that he had been pushed into the role, as practically every great American society had to take an internal political policy.

He was, for example, criticizing Mr. Trump for Charlottesville in a memo to his associates: “I disagree with the President and others who believe there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who give them To stand by standing for human rights. Match the two runs against our ideals as Americans. “

As I watched Mr. Cook over the years, I was fascinated to see how he was animated as he talked about big issues like education and climate change, as he speaks at Apple.

“I think we have a moral responsibility to grow the economy, help create jobs, contribute to this country and contribute to the other countries where we do business,” he said.

But there is a more nuanced version of Apple’s story – and Mr. Cook’s transformation of the company after the takeover as chief chef in 2011 – this is lost amidst the noise of nonstop chatter about the company in Silicon Valley and Washington.

When Mr. Cook, for example, announced the new data center in Waukee, he said it would run completely on renewable energies. But he slipped into another fact, which has largely remained unnoticed: in recent years, Mr. Cook has outsourced all companies in the US in the wind direction and solar energy – in their entirety.

“Today, we are 100% on renewable energies” in the US, he said about breakfast, “and we’ve met this in 23 other countries around the world.”

This is not to say, Mr. Cook, 56, runs an altruistic institution. Apple received $ 208 million in tax breaks from Iowa to find its data center there. The state has aggressively recruited technology companies, including Facebook and Microsoft, with deep subsidies. A Los Angeles Times columnist criticized the state as a “first-class Patsy” for making the deal with Apple, which will create 1,700 construction work, but only about 50 long-term jobs. Apple agreed to donate “up to $ 100 million” to the local infrastructure, including a youth sports complex, which is part of the tax recovery.

Mr. Cook is the most passionate when he talks about education that prompted the company to create the apprenticeship curriculum, estimated at $ 1.3 trillion of the world economy.

He hopes that the curriculum will become jobs. Last year, according to Apple, approximately 150,000 new jobs were created by the App Store. Apple has paid 5 billion dollars directly to app makers.

He said he chose to focus on the Community College curriculum instead of four-year colleges because “as it turns out, the Community College System is much more diverse than the four-year schools, especially four-year schools Sci. “He noted that” there is a certain diversity problem in tech, especially in coding and computer science. “

Apple already has the curriculum in Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania, among other states. “They want it to increase the diversity of the people who are there, both racial diversity, gender diversity, but also geographic diversity,” said Mr. Cook. “At the moment, the benefits of tech are sleeping to certain states.” (Like California).

Students who take the classes learn the Swift language, which is used to make apps on Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Admittedly, Mr. Cook does not help the students to write in the languages ​​for his competitors, but he said, “I think it is clearly transferable.”

He continued, with a laugh, “We know people are making a mobile app, many of them will do iOS apps and Android apps, and I wish they would not, but they’ll probably go.”

He added, “It’s not like I’m trying to make money for it, it’s a gift.”

How for Mr. Cook’s coding skills? “I could fail a bit.”

When we finished the breakfast before going to Austin’s Capital Factory, an incubator for tech start-ups, where he wanted to announce the new curriculum, I mentioned a question that some in Silicon Valley and elsewhere asked: Is his focus On Jobs and Speaking American flag a reference to something greater? After all, Mark Zuckerberg’s name is regularly disseminated in discussions about potential presidential candidates.

“I have a full-time job,” said Mr. Cook. “I appreciate the compliment,” he added with a bad look, “if it is a compliment.”


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