Apple CEO Tim Cook Urges GWU Graduates To Develop Moral Compass; “The sidelines are not where you want to live your life. The world needs you in the arena.”
May 18, 2015 Leave a comment
Apple CEO Tim Cook Urges GWU Graduates To Develop Moral Compass
The Huffington Post | By Irina Ivanova
Posted: 05/17/2015 3:36 pm EDT Updated: 5 hours ago
Apple CEO Tim Cook urged graduating George Washington University students to follow their values and find a job that helps them do good in a commencement speech delivered Sunday. Cook talked of justice and injustice in a speech that paid homage to Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter, delivered to a crowd on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., VentureBeat reported. The university expected about 25,000 people to attend the commencement exercises, according to the outlet.
The CEO mentioned the civil rights leader three times in his 20-minute speech, and said that King, along with Kennedy, had been one of his childhood heroes.
Cook, who grew up in Alabama, shared a story about his first visit to the nation’s capital in 1977, at the age of 16. On the trip, Cook met with then-President Carter right after meeting Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, who had opposed desegregation in the ’60s. (Wallace is perhaps best remembered for his 1963 inaugural address that called for “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.”)
“Meeting my governor was not an honor for me,” Cook told the graduates. “Shaking his hand felt like a betrayal of my own beliefs. It felt wrong, like I was selling a piece of my soul.”
It was very different from meeting America’s then-president, Cook said.
“Carter was kind and compassionate. He held the most powerful job in the world, and had not sacrificed any of his humanity,” he said. “It was clear to me that one was right and one was wrong.”
Cook ended with a call for graduates to live their values and change the world — and said that working at Apple had helped him do just that:
We believe that a company that has values and acts on them can really change the world. And an individual can too. That can be you. That must be you. Graduates, your values matter. They are your North Star. Otherwise it’s just a job — and life is too short for that. … You don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well. It’s a false choice, today more than ever.
Your challenge is to find work that pays the rent, puts food on the table, and lets you do what is right and good and just.
Words to aspire to.
Tim Cook to College Grads: Don’t Spend Your Life on the Sidelines (Video)
May 17, 2015, 1:00 PM PDT
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a challenge to the graduating class at George Washington University on Sunday: someone has to change the world — it might as well be you.
“The sidelines are not where you want to live your life,” Cook said during his commencement address to George Washington’s class of 2015. “The world needs you in the arena.”
The CEO spoke for 20 minutes, incorporating a handful of personal memories into the speech, like his first trip to Washington as a high schooler (he met President Jimmy Carter) and his first meeting with Apple founder Steve Jobs (“It changed my life.”).
Cook talked lots about Apple — these are potential employees after all — but he also challenged the students to use their job to make a difference regardless of where they end up working.
He mentioned his hero, Martin Luther King, Jr., multiple times as an example of how one person can make a lasting impact on the world.
“There are problems that need to be solved, injustices that need to be ended,” he said. “People that are still being persecuted. Diseases still in need of cure. No matter what you do next, the world needs your energy, your passion, your impatience with progress. Don’t shrink from risk and tune out those critics and cynics.
“History rarely yields to one person, but think and never forget what happens when it does. That can be you. That should be you. That must be you.”
Cook also started things off with a little humor, breaking the ice with a “please silence your cellphones” announcement before getting into the speech.
“For those of you with an iPhone, just place it in silent mode,” he said. “If you don’t have an iPhone, please pass it to the center aisle. Apple has a world-class recycling program.”
It’s graduation season, so Cook isn’t the only CEO passing down advice to college grads.Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel gave the commencement address to USC’s Marshall School of Business on Friday. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff addressed graduates at UC Berkeley on Saturday.
Apple CEO Tim Cook tells graduates: Values and justice belong in the workplace
May 17, 2015 8:48 AM
Apple chief executive Tim Cook delivered the commencement address to the graduating class of George Washington University today. His speech spoke directly of justice, injustice, and his optimism that values belong in the workplace.
Cook mentioned Martin Luther King, Jr. three times in his address, including at the very beginning and at the very end. He called King and former president John F. Kennedy two of his early heroes from childhood, at a time and place in Alabama, where Cook grew up, where those two were not held in high regard by most of the people around him.
The ceremony took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., not far from the base of the Washington Monument, which was visible directly behind the stage. The university said that it expected a crowd of 25,000, including about 6,000 graduates of the university.
“It was here that Dr Martin Luther King challenged Americans to make real the promise of democracy,” Cook began. “It was here that President Ronald Reagan called on us to believe in ourselves, and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds.”
Cook told an anecdote of how he first visited Washington in 1977, when he was sixteen, after winning an essay contest. Before traveling to the nation’s capital, he and other Alabama students visited Montgomery, where they met with then-governor George C. Wallace — who had opposed desegregation in the 1960s.
“Meeting my governor was not an honor for me,” Cook said. “Shaking his hand felt like a betrayal of my own beliefs. It felt wrong, like I was selling a piece of my soul.”
In Washington, he said, he got to meet President Jimmy Carter, and he contrasted Carter and Wallace: both from the South, both governors or former governors, but very different in their values.
“Carter was kind and compassionate. He held the most powerful job in the world, and had not sacrificed any of his humanity,” Cook said.
Between Wallace and Carter, Cooks said, “It was clear to me that one was right and one was wrong.”
Cook went on to say that it is important to remain true to your values.
“It’s about finding your values, and committing to them. It’s about finding your North Star. It’s about making choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything.”
Twenty years after his trip to Washington, Cook said, “I met someone who made me question everything. … That was Steve Jobs.”
It was 1998. Jobs had founded Apple, been forced out, and had recently returned “to find it in ruins,” as Cook put it.
“He didn’t know it at the time, but he was about to dedicate the rest of his life to rescuing it and to leading it to heights greater than anyone could imagine.”
“His vision for Apple was for a company that could turn powerful technology into tools that were easy to use. Tools that could help people realize their dreams and change the world for the better.”
At the time, Cook said he had retained his values, but kept them out of the work sphere. “I felt work was work,” Cook said, and it was important to be professional and valueless in work. That left him feeling “adrift and rudderless,” like Apple, Cook said.
“Steve didn’t see it that way. Steve was an idealist. He convinced me that if we worked hard, and made good products, we too could change the world.”
“I took the job, and it changed my life,” Cook said. “It has been 17 years, and I have never once looked back.”
He continued by saying how Apple retains an optimism that its products can improve the world.
“At Apple, we believe that work is not about improving your own self. It’s about improving others’ lives as well.”
For example, he said, the company’s technologies can help blind people read. It can help people who live in remote areas stay connected. And, with an indirect reference to many recent videos of police brutality, Cook talked about smartphones’ roles in social justice.
“People who witness injustice and want to expose it — and now they can, because they have a camera in their pocket all the time.”
We believe that a company that has values and acts on them can really change the world. And an individual can too. That can be you. That must be you.
Graduates, your values matter. They are your North Star. Otherwise it’s just a job — and life is too short for that.
You don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well. It’s a false choice, today more than ever. Your challenge is to find work that pays the rent, puts food on the table, and lets you do what is right and good and just.
Find your North Star. Let it guide you in life and work and in your life’s work.
Now I suspect some of you aren’t buying this. I won’t take it personally. It’s no surprising that people are skeptical — especially here in Washington. … A healthy amount of skepticism is fine, but too often in this town it turns to cynicism. …
Maybe that’s just the world that we live in. But graduates, this is your world to change.
Before closing, Cook took a moment to point out some of the values of Apple and of Silicon Valley. (He did, however, note that he is a “proud son of the South” and that he will always love the South.)
In Silicon Valley, he said, people believe that any problem can be solved, no matter how difficult. There is “a very sincere sort of optimism.”
This extends to Apple, as well, Cook said.
“A friend of mine at Apple likes to say that the best way to solve a problem is to walk into a room full of Apple engineers and proclaim ‘This is impossible.’ I can tell you, they will not accept that — and neither should you.”
“Great progress is possible, whatever line of work you choose. There will always be cynics and critics on the sidelines, tearing people down. And just as harmful are those people with good intentions who make no contribution at all.”
Cook cited King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” which referred to the “appalling silence of the good people,” and urged people to get off the “sidelines” and into active work pursuing justice, health, and more.
The sidelines are not where you want to live your life. The world needs you in the arena. There are problems that need to be solved. Injustices that need to be ended. People that are still being persecuted. Diseases still in need of cure.
No matter what you do next, the world needs your energy, your passion, your impatience for progress.
Don’t shrink from risk. And tune out those cynics and critics. History rarely yields to one person — but think, and never forget, what happens when it does.
That can be you. That should be you. That must be you.
Before leaving the podium, Cook took out an iPhone 6 and snapped a photo of the crowd.
Apple CEO tells George Washington U. grads to live by values
May. 17, 2015 5:17 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on graduates of George Washington University to find their values and commit to living by them to help change the world.
Cook spoke Sunday to 6,000 graduating students on the National Mall in Washington and took a picture of the crowd with his iPhone.
Cook says his predecessor, Steve Jobs, set out to make Apple a company could help people realize their dreams and make the world better. He says Apple’s products have empowered people.
Cook says now people who witness injustice and want to expose it now can because they have cameras in their pockets all the time.
The CEO of the world’s most valuable company says graduates can do well and do good in the world by staying true to their values.