Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks to Students at Oxford University

Apple CEO Tim Cook today headed over to Oxford University for the opening of The Oxford Foundry, a new "innovation space" that's open to all University of Oxford students.

Cook was on hand to cut the ribbon at the new location, and afterwards, he sat down for a Q&A session with Oxford students alongside Oxford professors and administrators.


Because he was speaking to a group of students, Cook talked about his early life experiences, how he began to hunt for a job after leaving college, and his decision to join Apple. Early on, he said, his goal was to find a job that he loved. "I wanted to love the work I did," he said. "I no longer have that goal."

I realized the purpose of life wasn't to love your job, it was to serve humanity in a broad way. And the outcome of doing that would mean you love your job. I realized I wasn't in a place to do that, so sometime thereafter, I switched companies. [...]

It was only after joining Apple where my values and my work aligned, and that has made all the difference for me.

Cook says it wasn't an easy decision to join Apple. Everyone he talked to, his list of pluses and minuses, and his spreadsheets told him to stay where he was, but his intuition said something different, and he ended up going with intuitition. "That was one of the most important decisions of my life," he said. "Maybe the most important."

On designing products, Cook told students to "make products that you want to use" and the rest will follow.

You can bet if you love it, there are many other people out there that are going to love it too. That fundamental saying drives Apple.

Cook went on to explain that it's important to "stick close" to customers, listening to them and making yourself accessible to them. Cook said that's one of the reasons why Apple has retail stores, and it's also the reason why he gets up at "ungodly hours." "I like to spend my first hour going through customer emails," he said. "Because I want to know what they're saying. I want to know what they're feeling."

Cook said he takes inspiration from the artists, doctors, musicians, and others who use Apple products to change the world in some way. On failures, he says students just need to have faith that it will pass.

There will be times that you fail on a spectacular basis. I certainly have. You have to have the faith that it will pass. Look in the mirror and watch the person breathe. It didn't kill you. You're not dead. It's not the biggest thing in the world. It will pass. And I do that many times a day sometimes. Do that for a while and you won't have to remind yourself anymore. You'll be able to take these failures... and in fact, you'll view them not as failures but as things learned, and it won't be so detrimental.

Cook's interview, which can be watched above, also covered some of his thoughts on Steve Jobs, what he learned from working with Jobs, his view of augmented reality and the future, and his thoughts on who his heroes are.

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Top Rated Comments

Naraxus Avatar
87 months ago
Did he tell the students how best to nickle & dime customers & neglect product lines for years then release years-old tech as "new"?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MellowFuzz Avatar
87 months ago
I work two minutes walk away and had no idea this was going on today. Shame... I could have thrown a Mac Mini at him and screamed "Fire yourself!"
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
otternonsense Avatar
87 months ago
Another chance for Cook to pontificate with abandon. Steve, I’d pay an arm and a leg to hear him talk. But Cook? I don’t think this washed out corporate run of the mill ceo has anything to add other than platitudes. He can do the tech world a favor and go back to his spreadsheets.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wizard Avatar
87 months ago
If Cook were to listen to his own words he would be doing far more for he Mac line up. The machines are pathetically outdated and worse don't even meet customer needs anymore.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kaishockz Avatar
87 months ago
Tim got an white iPhone X
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
venusboy Avatar
87 months ago
Good for Cook, shame it’s a British uni, these days with leftist liberalist PC idiots, tutors and students. Shrivelled examples of the great establishments they used to be.

I hope the tech centre does some good for students though.
Universities and students have always been left-wing.... pretty much since the dawn of time.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)