A generation has grown up in the shadow of 9/11, two subsequent wars and one huge recession. Graduates face dim job prospects and heavy burden of student loan. Yet Tim Cook of Apple urges them to follow their North Star. It must be you, he said.
He must be kidding!
It’s Washington, where skepticism morphs quickly into cynicism. He mentioned meeting Wallace and Carter, the latter more humane and honest.
Then his meeting with Steve Jobs, a hard-to-work-with 3rd shift co-worker.
Steve was credited with saving the music industry from Napster.
Tim Cook is still finding his footing in history, still “thinks different”.
Teilhard de Chardin suggested that human had appeared suddenly and “quietly” thousands of years ago. But will together face one end point, the Omega.
Instead of “the mass living in quiet desperation”, Tim Cook suggests “the mass empowered with pocket phones/cameras to be in the arena, not sitting on the bench”.
Graduates want to hear “what’s in it for me”, not “how together we can make a difference” (bring out the guitar and the harmonica, and take a selfie while at it).
At least, his “painted house” Alabama story ( hand-writing his Rural Electrification Contest speech to qualify for the White House tour) speaks volumes. Young Clinton was in one of those tours as well. Good impressions last forever. In Tim Cook’s case, he finally owned his I-phone to take a pic of George Washington University graduates, his commencement audience.
This audience know they cannot allow recent history to repeat itself i.e. One World Trade Center must stand tall and financial instrument crooks must be jailed and stay there.
So ethics and economics can co-exist, doing well and doing good at the same time. Apple has made good on its promises, from improving worker’s conditions in its China factories to doubling down on minorities hiring in Cupertino.
Apple space ship might be unmanned but will be inclusive.
It starts at the top, not just “think different”, but “be different”.
The more authentic it allows itself to be, the harder for the likes of Samsung to play catch up. After all, you can copy someone’s invention, but you cannot reproduce his identity. Maybe Chardin was right about combining all the brain powers in the noosphere (collective consciousness) – today’s equivalent of supercomputing power in the cloud – to process information, to do well and to do good. It must be you