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Tim Cook interview: 4 things we learned from the Apple CEO

Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken at length with Fast Company about all things Apple – including the company philosophy post-Jobs. The full transcript is a fascinating read, but very long – so here are four things you won’t want to miss:

Apple Watch is smarter than other smart watches

“You’re working with a small screen, so you have to invent new ways for input. The inputs that work for a phone, a tablet, or a Mac don’t work as well on a smaller screen. Most of the companies who have done smart watches haven’t thought that through, so they’re still using pinch-to-zoom and other gestures that we created for the iPhone.”

“People didn’t realize they had to have an iPod, and they really didn’t realize they had to have the iPhone. And the iPad was totally panned. Honestly, I don’t think anything revolutionary that we have done was predicted to be a hit when released. It was only in retrospect that people could see its value. Maybe this will be received the same way.”

Steve Jobs taught the core values that endure today

“Steve felt that most people live in a small box. They think they can’t influence or change things a lot. I think he would probably call that a limited life. And more than anybody I’ve ever met, Steve never accepted that.”

It was his selection of people that helped propel the culture. He’s not given credit as a teacher. But he’s the best teacher I ever had by far. There was nothing traditional about him as a teacher. But he was the best. Steve’s greatest contribution and gift is the company and its culture. He cared deeply about that.”

Apple aren’t afraid to take their time and make mistakes

“Don’t ship something before it’s ready. Have the patience to get it right. We weren’t first on the MP3 player; we weren’t first on the tablet; we weren’t first on the smartphone. But we were arguably the first modern smartphone, and we will be the first modern smart watch — the first one that matters.”

“In my mind, there is nothing that’s incorrect about our model. It’s not that it’s not doable, it’s that we’re human sometimes, and we make an error. I don’t have a goal of becoming inhuman, but I do have a goal of not having any errors. We’ve made errors in the past, and we’ll never be perfect. Fortunately, we have the courage to admit it and correct it.”

Windows user experience will never match Apple

“The magic of Apple, from a product point of view, happens at this intersection of hardware, software, and services. It’s that intersection. Without collaboration, you get a Windows product. There’s a company that pumps out an operating system, another that does some hardware, and yet another that does something else. That’s what’s now happening in Android land. Put it all together and it doesn’t score high on the user experience.”

“Steve recognized early on that being vertical gave us the power to produce great customer experience. For a long while, that was viewed as crazy logic. More and more people have opened their eyes to the fact that he was right, that you need all those things working together.”

All quotes are from the Fast Company Q&A – definitely worth a read for more from Tim.

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