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Anonymous Apple employees reveal what it’s like to work for Tim Cook

Updated Oct 30th, 2014 9:22AM EDT
What It's Like To Work At Apple

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Despite the fact that all of its products now leak long before they are formally announced, Apple remains one of the most secretive technology companies in the world. Of course, it makes sense that the most valuable company in the United States would want to protect its secret sauce, so one can’t exactly blame Apple for closing itself off to the public, for the most part.

Then again, when a company is as secretive as Apple, it makes the private bits and pieces that do manage to trickle out far more tantalizing — and some juicy bits and pieces were shared recently when several anonymous Apple employees shared some details surrounding what it’s like to work for Apple CEO Tim Cook.

FROM EARLIER: Apple designer walks away from job, dishes dirt on what it’s like to work there

Tim Cook had some giant shoes to fill when he took over for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in the summer of 2011, less than two months ahead of Jobs’s untimely passing. The ride has certainly been bumpy since then, but Apple’s market capitalization has never been as high as it is right now, and the company just enjoyed its biggest ever product launch with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Clearly, Cook is doing something right.

We rarely get a behind-the-scenes look at how Cook operates at Apple, but a few anonymous Apple employees recently took to Quora (via Business Insider) to shed light on what working for the world’s most powerful tech CEO is really like.

“My experience with Tim was as a report of one of his direct reports. He interviewed me,” one unnamed Apple employee said. “I participated in weekly revenue reviews with him. This was the basis for my perspective.”

He went on to list five key points about working for Cook:

  1. No one knows the detail of their business better than Tim. And you’d better know the detail of your part of his business as well.
  2. Your life is your work. Your work is your life. There is no such thing as work – life balance.
  3. There is no time for small talk, only purposeful communication in small bite-sized pieces.
  4. Charm is for bracelets.
  5. Building your career through job changes makes you a job hopper (read: untrustworthy). Endurance rules.

A different anonymous employee compared Cook’s management style to that of previous Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and said that he actually prefers Cook.

“I think on the whole I prefer Tim to Steve,” he wrote. “While both mostly make their decisions on the basis of their intuition, Tim is less caustic about it – he’s certainly never dressed me down in the same way, and I’ve never been in a meeting with him where he’s done this to anyone else on my team.”

The anonymous Apple employee continued, “He’s also much better at acknowledging work well done, while Steve generally just assumed that good work was its own reward, Tim will take time to praise individuals that have performed over expectation.”

On the flip side, he noted that Cook can at times be even more demanding than Jobs.

“On the minus side, he starts way earlier than Steve did in the last few years, and when you’re working on something critical he expects that you do too,” he explained. “That means that when he sends you an email at 5am that demands a response, if it’s not returned quickly he lets it be known that he expects more.”

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.