Tim Cook Challenges Graduates to 'Think Different' in Duke University Commencement Address

Apple CEO Tim Cook today delivered the 2018 commencement address at his alma mater Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

tim cook duke
Cook challenged students to "think different" rather than accept the status quo, and to leave the world better than they found it, by following in the footsteps of leaders like Steve Jobs, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.

He also reflected on Apple's commitment to the environment, privacy, immigration, and gun control, supporting the Me Too movement against sexual harassment and students involved in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.


An excerpt from his speech:

The pace at which progress is possible has accelerated dramatically. Aided by technology, every individual has the tools, potential, and reach to build a better world. That makes this the best time in history to be alive. Whatever you choose to do with your life, wherever your passion takes you, I urge you to take the power you have been given and use it for good. Aspire to leave this world better than you found it.

I didn't always see life as clearly as I do today. But I've learned that the greatest challenge of life is knowing when to break with conventional wisdom. Don't just accept the world you inherit today. Don't just accept the status quo. No big challenge has ever been solved, and no lasting improvement has ever been achieved, unless people dare to try something different. Dare to think different.

I was lucky to learn from someone who believed this deeply—someone who knew that changing the world starts with following a vision, not a path. He was my friend and mentor, Steve Jobs.

Steve's vision was that great ideas come from a restless refusal to accept things as they are, and those principles still guide us at Apple today. We reject the notion that global warming is inevitable—that's why we run Apple on 100 percent renewable energy. We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy. So we choose a different path: collecting as little of your data as possible, and being thoughtful and respectful when it's in our care.

Cook's commencement address was similar to those he has delivered at a number of other universities in recent years, including at his undergraduate alma mater Auburn University in 2010, at George Washington University in 2015, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year.

Cook is a 1988 graduate of Duke's Fuqua School of Business and a member of the university's Board of Trustees.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

snowboarder Avatar
33 months ago
it would be great if Tim started to think different...
Score: 88 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Moshu Avatar
33 months ago
If thinking different means maximising profit margin by shutting down side-business like Airport routers, Mac Mini and bringing gimmicky Touch Bar to the Pro line while stripping it of the industry standard USB ports, SD card slot and the life-saving MagSafe adapter... then DON'T THINK DIFFERENT !!!
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thadoggfather Avatar
33 months ago
Think differently, as long as you follow his political indoctrination in lockstep

Sage Timmy
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menopause Avatar
33 months ago
Is this guy *ever* at the Apple campus? Judging from his tweets it’d seems he is everywhere else but. The kind of lavatorial quality control of products and services Apple is suffering under him is shameful and disgusting. He only seems to be interested in nothing more than cash in his fat pockets and biased, liberal, lopsided agenda-driven politics.

Just leave Apple and run for a Dem post already FFS, at least give Apple a bloody chance to get back to great products again!
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
apolloa Avatar
33 months ago
Tim Cook Challenges Graduates to 'Think Different' in Duke University Commencement Address....

Because someone has to when Apple doesn’t anymore...
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DakotaGuy Avatar
33 months ago

Tim Cook is a visionary. What a speech. Challenge the status-quo. Be the last to accept the world cannot be improved. Build a better way forward.

Tim Cook is not a visionary. Tim Cook is a conventional bean counting CEO who inherited a very popular and trendy brand from a true visionary. The brand is still popular enough they can paste the logo on most anything and it’ll sell like hot cakes, but poorly conceived and incomplete products like HomePod might not be saved by the brand name.

I actually wish Apple would encounter a financial set-back in the future so the board will realize it’s time to put a real visionary back in charge of this corporation. Apple isn’t doomed, but the wash-rinse-repeat formula won’t work forever.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...
0 Deals Hero

Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Deals to Plan For

Saturday November 21, 2020 10:00 am PST by
In the lead-up to Black Friday next week, we've been putting a spotlight on the best deals coming from various retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. In an effort to further prepare our readers for the best Black Friday deals, we're breaking down what we think should be on your radar for Black Friday in 2020. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
ipad pro 2020 display

Black Friday Week Kicks Off With Up to $150 Savings on 2020 iPad Pro

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:37 pm PST by
As we head into Black Friday week, we're seeing some of the best deals of the season so far, with Amazon and Best Buy today discounting the latest iPad Pro models by up to $150 at the lowest prices we've ever tracked on these models. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep ...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
macos big sur m1 macs restore issue

Apple Provides Instructions to Fix macOS Reinstallation Errors on M1 Macs

Sunday November 22, 2020 3:30 pm PST by
Shortly after the launch of Apple's new M1 Macs, we saw reports that attempts to restore and reinstall macOS on those machines right away could result in an installation error that would leave your Mac non-functional. Specifically, the error message would read: "An error occurred preparing the update. Failed to personalize the software update. Please try again." Over the weekend, Apple p...
max tech xcode benchmark m1 macbook

Video Demos Performance Differences Between 8GB and 16GB Apple M1 MacBook Pro

Monday November 23, 2020 2:54 pm PST by
All of the M1 Mac models use the same M1 chip, so the upgrade options are limited to SSD storage space and RAM. We haven't seen many comparisons that demonstrate the difference between a machine with 8GB RAM and the upgraded 16GB RAM option, but Max Tech today shared a video highlighting the performance between an 8GB MacBook Pro and a 16GB MacBook Pro. The video includes a series of...
iPhone 6s main

Rumor Claims iOS 15 to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and Original iPhone SE

Sunday November 22, 2020 9:25 am PST by
Apple will drop support for the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus in next year's release of iOS 15, according to a rumor shared today by Israeli site The Verifier. If the rumor is accurate, that would mean iOS 15 will be compatible with the following Apple devices: 2021 iPhone series iPhone 12 Pro Max iPhone 12 Pro iPhone 12 mini iPhone 12 iPhone 11 iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 11 Pro ...
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...