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Tim Cook talks privacy – Apple CEO’s Stanford commencement speech

Tim Cook has been celebrating with Stanford graduates, giving a commencement address which addressed various topics including privacy, optimism, preparation, and the late Steve Jobs.

Jobs himself famously dropped out of Stanford before going on to make waves with Apple, but he too has given the commencement speech at the college – 14 years ago. That address was referenced multiple times by Cook, who says that although the lessons taught back then still apply, today’s digital world is far different.

He also said that the months following Steve’s passing were the loneliest of his life, and despite the preparation, he didn’t initially feel “ready” to take over as CEO.

Of particular note was his sentiment about responsibility – slamming those who are keen to take credit for their creations but less keen to take the responsibility that comes with it. “If you build a chaos factory you can’t deny responsibility for the chaos.” This kind of talk only underlines Apple’s stance on user privacy, which it is taking increasingly seriously.

Cook also talked up the wonder of creating something bigger than yourself. “Whatever you do with your life, be a builder,” he said, urging the graduates to go out and build a better world.

He also touched upon the knock-on effect of the Stonewall riots as the 50th anniversary of the demonstrations approaches. Cook says he will “never stop being grateful for what they had the courage to build,” reiterating that Apple is determined to fight prejudice where it can.

“That brings me to my last bit of advice. 14 years ago, Steve stood on this stage and told your predecessors, “your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Here’s my corollary: You mentors may leave you prepared, but they can’t leave you ready.”

The full speech runs just over 15 minutes long, and can be seen in full on YouTube.