Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Announcing The Information’s newest Course: How To Run a Startup. Sign up here for an 8-day course on how to be a great startup leader.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Apple

Tim Cook and Contradicting the Founder-CEO

In Silicon Valley, people like to talk about there being two types of CEOs: the “visionary founder” who started the company or the “professional manager” who steps in when the founder leaves or is pushed aside.

And there’s no doubting which of the two people prefer. Founder-led companies thrive, the stereotype goes (think Google and Facebook). Those run by non-CEOs struggle (think Twitter and Microsoft). Indeed, even when Satya Nadella took the reins at Microsoft, the company sought to legitimize the move by saying Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates would be spending more time at the company. The cult of the founder is strong.

I’ve been thinking about this oversimplified framework when it comes to Tim Cook, a CEO who has been in the news even more than usual this week amid talk of Apple building a car. (A little more on that later.)

Stuck in the particularly large shadow of one founder, Cook is challenging the stereotype in new ways—which becomes particularly clear when one debunks misconceptions that still exist about his management style.

What Is The Information?

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Get access to our reporters and other top executives with monthly deep-dive calls into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

What else is included in my subscription?

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Annual Subscriber only benefits:

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Crypto Newsletter

Our experts investigate the latest in the crypto world to keep you in-the-know about the movements of digital currencies.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles

Asia Semiconductors

Qualcomm’s China Venture Shows Risks of Beijing’s Tech Ambition

By Aaron Tilley, Wayne Ma, and Juro Osawa

Apple Semiconductors

Behind Qualcomm Truce, a Setback for Apple’s Chip Independence

By Nick Wingfield and Aaron Tilley

Amazon Google Facebook Apple

Tech Earnings Spotlight Growth Concerns

By The Information Staff

Amazon Google Apple Markets Policy

A Chill for Acquisitions as Big Tech Scrutiny Intensifies?

By Nick Wingfield

And while it is clear Cook isn’t a “product guy,” it’s simply wrong to see his role as a perfunctory manager and product dummy. Indeed, you can see his role clearly with the Apple Watch.