Making Tim Cook CEO…
Don’t get me wrong I like and respect Tim; he’s smart, accomplished, I like his stance on encryption, the list of great things I can say about Tim is longer than… well it’s long.
The problem is, he was COO… COO’s of big Fortune 500 companies generally don’t make for good CEO’s of high tech innovation focused companies.
It’s not their fault, the COO’s job is standardizing processes, cutting costs, improving supply chain consistency. These are deeply analytical jobs and seem to put leaders into a certain mindset that is not easily changed. It’s a mindset focused on consolidation and risk elimination.
The CEO needs creativity and needs to have a focus that seeks out strategic opportunities for growth and expansion, and they need to engage in intelligent risk taking sometimes by being willing to invest in risky development projects that fizzle out into nothing.
Because for every iPhone, there were probably dozens of terrible ideas that were supported until they died, that failed as products, that had to be redirected until they were unrecognizable, etc.
I like Tim; he helped Apple do things that needed to get done. He fixed their terrible supply chain. He even implemented smart and automated cost saving measures. Every “Steve Jobs” needs a COO like Tim Cook to help them really get things done; to balance their creative chaos. Unfortunately, when you have a COO in charge it squashes the “Steve Jobs” types.
Let’s talk about iPhone colors; I think it’s a perfect example. Under Steve Jobs we had black and white. I suspect those colors drove Tim crazy. On multiple years, the black or the white phone release (or initially available quantity) was delayed (or reduced) because of manufacturing problems. Stark colors show any tiny light leakage and are notorious for showing manufacturing imperfections. It’s like having a black or white car; even a tiny bit of dust immediately stands out… The manufacturing defect rates must have kept Tim up at night, but they looked fabulous.
What did Tim do? He dumped black and white for “space grey” and “silver” (aka dark grey and light grey); colors that are much more forgiving on the manufacturing process.
It’s like replacing a little black dress with a grey one; it might be cheaper, but it’s not the same thing. No one is pushing Tim and forcing him to deal with creative chaos because there’s no one above him to say “Sorry Tim, black and white just look better so figure it out.” That’s what a CEO needs to do when his COO says “hey we can save some money if we make these phones in shades of grey instead of black and white.”
Good COO’s need someone like that who can push them… It seems like Tim doesn’t have a person who can do that for him.
SOURCE – QUORA https://www.quora.com/What-has-been-Apples-biggest-strategic-mistake-since-Steve-Jobs%E2%80%99s-death