Tim Cook and unifying the system

The ruling passed to allow gay marriage in the United States has come a long way. Probably further than I can possibly fathom. The people who stood up for marriage equality, the protests, the legal battles all took the subtle steps leading to a huge burst in emotion following the ruling — a bubble that has been growing for generations.

It can be hard to try to comprehend the experience in its entirety because there isn’t one thing you can put your finger on. As a straight African male, I can’t possibly say I do. But in some way I try to imagine having the same feeling, especially for a person of color born in a relatively free world, with as little oppression as there ever was before — the restrictions placed on a human being just because of who they are or what they look like.

As a person who closely follows technology, I do have people that I admire for their work. Not only the people who have pushed the boundaries of what can be possible with computers which we now use to perform complex calculations, or the people who build the frameworks to connect so many people around the world, reducing distance to mere taps away. When it comes to influence — breaking the lines set by social boundaries — establishing equality is a part of that admiration.

One of those people is Tim Cook, the CEO at Apple.

His influence at Apple can be tied to how close he was to Steve Jobs, a relationship that we know as little as he intends to voice about it. As successor to the visionary Jobs, his task at Apple was not only to live up to the company’s legacy but to grow outside of what was expected. It can be hard to live up to expectations, because everyone has a different expectation. Some may have dreamed of an Apple that was just the same as Jobs had wanted it to be, but now under Cook it may be more than it could have ever been under his predecessor.

Cook’s anatomy

Trying to understand how the Apple CEO has brought the company together to become the most valuable company in the world is no easy task, but we can have an idea from how the CEO handles his personal life, what he believes in and the ilk.

For one, he has always stood for equality. He came out a little over a year ago about his sexuality and how he intends to empower those battling to live in a working environment with their sexuality. Before coming out, people always suspected he could be gay. A CNBC host even accidentally ousted the CEO during a live show but the story went up in the air without any clear acknowledgement or development. The day he came out confirmed our suspicions, and it was a positive step for the LGBT community. Of course, not everyone was openly welcoming to the idea of the CEO coming out. A Russian company named ZEFS, responded by taking down an iPhone sculpture as a result. But that was to be expected.

This same brash, hostile behaviour/response can be found within any boundaries — including racial. At one point, my brother was travelling to South Africa using public transportation. During his ride, a white brunette male came up to him and uttered a few insulting words.

“Look, there goes your mother”

He was pointing to a female baboon crossing the highway, taking cover into the savanna. It had a baby on its tummy, the baby holding on as the mother went on. My brother looked out the window as the animal faded into the distance, and back to the guy who was now standing there with a sinister smile on his face. My brother did not respond, he knew fighting back wouldn’t make him a better person. He accepted that this guy’s actions didn’t mean the guy knew any better as well.

So no, taking down that iPhone sculpture didn’t make the ZEFS any better too.

The System

If I had to pick one of Tim Cook’s greatest strengths it would be unifying the system — any system. While Steve was known for leading up a strong team that could produce revolutionary products, Tim on the other hand can make sure these products work together seamlessly. In the 90s, around Steve Jobs’ return to Apple, the company had lots of unsold inventory lying around. Steve hatched a plan. He hired Tim, and the company successfully cleared a whole lot of it.

Now in Tim’s hands, Apple has been able to create products that can work together in harmony. Things like handoff, continuity allow you to off-hand tasks between your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple Watch. This level of functionality is hard to find elsewhere and Tim is all too proud to emphasize this fact — leading to his famous “only Apple” saying. Since this sense of unity carries over to how people relate to each other, this same unity is something only fit to have happened in our time, a time where we are all ever-so-connected through technology and other substantial means. And I couldn’t ask for a better time to be alive.

This piece was written to show how boundaries can only define us if we only let them, by recommending and sharing not only do you support this but you also appreciate how much this means to you.

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