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库克:走出乔布斯的阴影

更新时间:2014-3-6 13:33:53 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

The Job After Jobs
库克:走出乔布斯的阴影

Shortly after Tim Cook succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple in August 2011, he told a confidant that he got up every morning reminding himself just to do the right thing -- and not to think about what Steve would have done.

But Jobs's ghost loomed everywhere after he died from pancreatic cancer two months later. Obituaries of Apple's visionary founder blanketed the front pages of newspapers and websites. TV stations ran lengthy segments glorifying the changes he brought to the world.

In New York, publisher Simon & Schuster rushed out Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs a month early -- with a sleek, Apple-esque cover featuring a photo blessed by the late CEO. Apple chose the same image as the tribute photo on its home page. The photo was so quintessentially Jobsian that his friends and colleagues marveled at how he still seemed to be orchestrating the narrative from beyond the grave.

Even the ritual remembrances unfolded as though Jobs had staged them himself. A memorial service on a Sunday evening at Stanford University was organized by his longtime event planner, and the guest list read like a Who's Who of notables in Jobs's life: Bill Gates, Larry Page, Rupert Murdoch and the Clinton family, among others. Joan Baez, Jobs's onetime girlfriend, sang 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.' Bono performed Bob Dylan's 'Every Grain of Sand.' Yo-Yo Ma brought his cello and played Bach -- a personal request from Jobs before his death. Jobs was gone but not gone. Somehow he had transcended death to obsess over the launch of one last product: his own legacy.

Tim Cook, whom Jobs had personally picked as Apple's new CEO, was at the service, but attendees gave the former chief operating officer little thought. Even as he took control of Apple's empire, Cook couldn't escape his boss's shadow. How could anyone compete with a visionary so brilliant that not even death could make him go away?

The genius trap had long been set for Jobs's successor. Apple had been defined by him for more than a decade. Design, product development, marketing strategies and executive appointments -- all hinged on his tastes. Apple's accomplishments weren't Jobs's alone, but he had taken credit for most of them, which further fed his legend. One employee even owned a car with the vanity plate 'WWSJD': What Would Steve Jobs Do?

The next CEO didn't have the quasi-religious authority that Jobs had radiated. Cook's every decision would be examined by current and former employees and executives, investors, the media and Apple's consumers. He would also have to contend with the sky-high expectations that Jobs had conditioned the public to have for Apple.

Cook was a seasoned businessman and arguably a better manager than Jobs. He was organized, prepared and more realistic about the burdens of running a company of Apple's size. But no one could beat Jobs at being Jobs -- especially Cook, his polar opposite.

If Jobs was the star, Cook was the stage manager. If Jobs was idealistic, Cook was practical. But without Jobs, Cook had no counterweight to his dogged pragmatism. Who would provide the creative sparks?

The succession was complicated by the fact that no one knew who Cook really was. The new CEO was a mystery. Some colleagues called him a blank slate. As far as anyone could tell, Cook had no close friends, never socialized and rarely talked about his personal life.

The quiet, self-contained Cook grew up as the second of three brothers. In his early years, the family lived in Pensacola, Fla.; his father worked as a shipyard foreman, and his mother was a homemaker. They later moved to Robertsdale, Ala., a small, predominantly white town near the Gulf of Mexico that was quiet, stable and safe. In high school, he was voted 'most studious.' He represented his town at Boys State, an American Legion mock legislature program, and won an essay contest organized by the Alabama Rural Electric Association on the topic of 'Rural Electric Cooperatives -- Challengers of Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.' Outside of class, Cook was appointed the business manager of the yearbook because he was meticulous and good with numbers.

Cook began his career at IBM after graduating from Auburn University with a degree in industrial engineering. Later he added an M.B.A. from Duke. After 12 years, he moved to a small Colorado computer reseller called Intelligent Electronics Inc., where he nearly doubled the firm's revenues. He was plucked by Compaq and moved to Houston. One day a headhunter called: Apple was looking for a senior vice president of world-wide operations. 'Why don't you come and meet Steve Jobs?' the recruiter asked.

Cook joined Apple's executive team in the spring of 1998, while the company was in the throes of restructuring and desperate for a capable executive who could make Apple's manufacturing process more efficient. Unlike his predecessors, who sat with the operations team, Cook asked for a small office cater-cornered to Jobs's on the executive floor. It was a shrewd strategy -- staying close to the boss to be attuned to his thinking.

From the start of his Apple tenure, Cook set colossally high expectations. He wanted the best price, the best delivery, the best yield, the best everything. 'I want you to act like we are a $20 billion company,' he told the procurement team -- even though Apple then had only about $6 billion in annual revenues and was barely eking out a profit. They were playing in a new league now.

To some, Cook was a machine; to others, he was riveting. He could strike terror in the hearts of his subordinates, but he could also motivate them to toil from dawn to midnight for just a word of praise.

Those who interacted only passingly with Cook saw him as a gentle Southerner with an aura reminiscent of Mister Rogers. But he wasn't approachable. Over the years, colleagues had tried to engage him in personal conversations, with little success. He worked out at a different gym than the one on Apple's campus and didn't fraternize outside of work.

Years earlier, when Apple was about to ship its movie-editing software, iMovie, Jobs wanted his executives to test it out by making home movies. Cook made his about house hunting and how little one got for one's money in the late 1990s in Palo Alto real estate. While amusing, the movie revealed nothing about him.

Apple under Jobs was a roller coaster, but Cook's operations fief was orderly and disciplined. Cook knew every detail in every step of the operations processes. Weekly operations meetings could last five to six hours as he ground through every single item. His subordinates soon learned to plan for meetings with him as if they were cramming for an exam. Even a small miss of a couple of hundred units was examined closely. 'Your numbers,' one planner recalled him saying flatly, 'make me want to jump out that window over there.'

Cook had made a particular point of tackling Apple's monstrous inventory, which he considered fundamentally evil. He called himself the 'Attila the Hun of inventory.'

Meetings with Cook could be terrifying. He exuded a Zenlike calm and didn't waste words. 'Talk about your numbers. Put your spreadsheet up,' he'd say as he nursed a Mountain Dew. (Some staffers wondered why he wasn't bouncing off the walls from the caffeine.) When Cook turned the spotlight on someone, he hammered them with questions until he was satisfied. 'Why is that?' 'What do you mean?' 'I don't understand. Why are you not making it clear?' He was known to ask the same exact question 10 times in a row.

Cook also knew the power of silence. He could do more with a pause than Jobs ever could with an epithet. When someone was unable to answer a question, Cook would sit without a word while people stared at the table and shifted in their seats. The silence would be so intense and uncomfortable that everyone in the room wanted to back away. Unperturbed, Cook didn't move a finger as he focused his eyes on his squirming target. Sometimes he would take an energy bar from his pocket while he waited for an answer, and the hush would be broken only by the crackling of the wrapper.

Even in Apple's unrelenting culture, Cook's meetings stood out as harsh. On one occasion, a manager from another group who was sitting in was shocked to hear Cook tell an underling, 'That number is wrong. Get out of here.'

Cook's quarterly reviews were especially torturous because Cook would grind through the minutiae as he categorized what worked and what didn't, using yellow Post-its. His managers crossed their fingers in the hopes of emerging unscathed. 'We're safe as long as we're not at the back of the pack,' they would say to each other.

Cook demonstrated the same level of austerity and discipline in his life as he did in his work. He woke up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and hit the gym several times a week. He ate protein bars throughout the day and had simple meals like chicken and rice for lunch.

His stamina was inhuman. He could fly to Asia, spend three days there, fly back, land at 7 a.m. at the airport and be in the office by 8:30, interrogating someone about some numbers.

Cook was also relentlessly frugal. For many years, he lived in a rental unit in a dingy ranch-style building with no air conditioning. He said it reminded him of his humble roots. When he finally purchased a house, it was a modest 2,400-square-foot home, built on a half-lot with a single parking spot. His first sports car was a used Porsche Boxster, an entry-level sports car that enthusiasts called the 'poor man's Porsche.'

Even his hobbies were hard-core: cycling and rock climbing. During vacations, he never ventured far. Among his favorite spots were Yosemite and Utah's Zion National Park.

Cook placed Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. among his heroes, and photos of both men hung in his office. In a statement that hinted at how Cook viewed his relationship with Jobs, he said that he admired the way RFK had been comfortable standing in his brother's shadow. The martyred senator embodied everything that Cook strove to be -- hardworking, principled and charitable.

As tough as Cook was reputed to be, he was also generous. He gave away the frequent-flier miles that he racked up as Christmas gifts, and he volunteered at a soup kitchen during the Thanksgiving holidays. He had also participated in an annual two-day cycling event across Georgia to raise money for multiple sclerosis; Cook had been a supporter since being misdiagnosed with the disease years before. 'The doctor said, 'Mr. Cook, you've either had a stroke, or you have MS,' ' Cook told the Auburn alumni magazine. He didn't have either. His symptoms had been produced from 'lugging a lot of incredibly heavy luggage around.'

In August 2011, a few months before Jobs died, Cook sent his first email as CEO to employees. 'I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change,' he wrote. 'Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that -- it is in our DNA.' He added, 'I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.' He signed the memo simply, 'Tim.'

After Jobs's death, Apple's employees rallied around Cook. But privately, many were anxious. Employees in departments that had heretofore had little to do with Cook worried about how their jobs might change. The operations team, familiar with his tough management style, worried about life becoming even more intense.

In his first days as CEO, Cook made two key moves. First, he promoted Eddy Cue, Apple's enormously popular vice president for Internet services. Cue had been Jobs's guy, managing the iTunes group and eventually all of Apple's Internet services. He was Jobs's deal maker as well, negotiating with music labels, movie studios, book publishers and media companies. When Cook finally made him senior vice president, it generated goodwill inside and outside the company -- and turned an important Jobs loyalist into a key Cook ally.

Cook's second decision was to start a charity program, matching donations of up to $10,000, dollar for dollar annually. This too was widely embraced: The lack of an Apple corporate-matching program had long been a sore point for many employees. Jobs had considered matching programs particularly ineffective because the contributions would never amount to enough to make a difference. Some of his friends believed that Jobs would have taken up some causes once he had more time, but Jobs used to say that he was contributing to society more meaningfully by building a good company and creating jobs. Cook believed firmly in charity. 'My objective -- one day -- is to totally help others,' he said. 'To me, that's real success, when you can say, 'I don't need it anymore. I'm going to do something else.' '

The moves signaled a shift to a more benevolent regime. Though still shuttered to the outside eye, Apple felt more open internally. The new CEO communicated with employees more frequently via emails and town-hall meetings. Unlike Jobs, who always ate lunch with the design guru Jonathan Ive, Cook went to the cafeteria and introduced himself to employees he didn't know, asking if he could join them. Without Jobs breathing down their necks, the atmosphere was more relaxed. Cook was a more traditional CEO who infused Apple with a healthier work environment.

Cook proved a methodical and efficient CEO. Unlike Jobs, who seemed to operate on gut, Cook demanded hard numbers on projected cost and profits. Whereas Jobs had reveled in divisiveness, Cook valued collegiality and teamwork. Cook was also more visible and transparent with investors.

Not everyone was so enamored. The changes Cook made were perceived as signs of increasing stodginess. The yearning for more subversive days was also palpable. Skeptics soon began expressing doubts about Apple's future, especially after the rocky launch of Siri, its virtual personal-assistant feature.

'Without the arrival of a new charismatic leader, it will move from being a great company to being a good company,' George Colony, the CEO of technology research firm Forrester Research, wrote in a blog. 'Like Sony, Polaroid, Apple circa 1985, and Disney, Apple will coast and then decelerate.'

Above it all, the specter of Steve Jobs still hovered -- somewhere beyond reproach and accountability, beyond the tangle of human fallibility. His successors remained stuck here on Earth.

2011年8月份接替史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs)当上苹果公司(Apple)的CEO之后不久,蒂姆·库克(Tim Cook)对一位密友说,他每天早上都提醒自己,只管把事情做对就行了,不要去想换作史蒂夫会怎么做。

但在乔布斯两个月后死于胰腺癌之后,他的幽灵还是无处不在。悼念想象能力超群的苹果创始人的讣文铺天盖地地出现在报纸头版和网站上。电视台拿出漫长的时段来歌颂他给世界带来的改变。

纽约西蒙与舒斯特出版公司(Simon & Schuster)提前一个月赶制出沃尔特·艾萨克森(Walter Isaacson)的乔布斯传记,简洁大气的苹果式封面上印着一张获得这名已故CEO认可的照片。苹果在其网站主页上也采用同一张照片作为遗照。这张照片是典型的乔布斯风格,以至于朋友和同事都惊叹:他似乎在墓穴中仍在引领着故事的进程。

就连悼念仪式好像也都是乔布斯自己筹划的。斯坦福大学(Stanford University)在一个周日晚上举行的追思会,是由乔布斯长期以来的活动策划人组织的,来宾名单就像是一个在乔布斯的人生中扮演过重要角色的名人录,如比尔·盖茨(Bill Gates)、拉里·佩奇(Larry Page)、鲁珀特·默多克(Rupert Murdoch)和克林顿夫妇等。乔布斯曾经的女友琼·贝兹(Joan Baez)吟唱了《战车轻摇》(Swing Low, Sweet Chariot),波诺(Bono)演唱了鲍勃·迪伦(Bob Dylan)的《每粒细沙》(Every Grain of Sand)。马友友带来他的大提琴,演奏了巴赫的乐曲──这是乔布斯生前亲自提出的请求。乔布斯走了,却又没走。他以某种方式摆脱了死亡的束缚,将其转化为自己最后一件产品的发布──他自己的精神遗产。

被乔布斯亲自提拔为苹果新CEO的蒂姆·库克参加了追思会,但客人们没怎么关心这位曾经的首席运营长。尽管已将苹果帝国纳入自己的掌管之下,库克还是无法逃脱他老板的阴影。一个如此才华横溢以至于死亡都无法让他消失的梦想家,有谁能够跟他竞争呢?

这个天才陷阱早就为乔布斯的继任者布置好了。苹果被他定义了10多年。设计、产品开发、营销策略、高管任命,什么都围绕着他的口味而转。苹果的成就不只是乔布斯一个人的成就,但大部分成就的功劳都归在了他的身上,这又进一步加重了他的传奇色彩。一名员工的自选车牌甚至是“WWSJD”,即“乔布斯会怎么做?”(What Would Steve Jobs Do?)

新任CEO没有乔布斯身上那种近乎宗教色彩的权威。库克的每一项决策都要经过在职和离职的员工与高管、投资者、媒体以及苹果消费者的检验。他还需要应对乔布斯让公众对苹果产生的极高期望。

库克是一位经验丰富的商人,也可以说是一位比乔布斯更优秀的管理者。他井井有条、未雨绸缪,对于运营苹果这么大一家公司所背负的担子有着更加清醒的认识。但没人能比乔布斯更像乔布斯,更何况是与乔布斯截然相反的库克。

如果说乔布斯是主演,那么库克就是舞台监督。如果说乔布斯是理想主义者,库克就是实用主义者。但没有乔布斯,库克顽固的实用主义就得不到制衡。谁来点燃创意的火花?

让接班更加复杂的是,没人了解库克到底是怎样的人。这位新CEO是一个谜。有些同事称他是一张白纸。据大家所知,库克没有亲密朋友,从不参加社交活动,很少谈及私人生活。

稳重、沉默寡言的库克在家中的三兄弟中排行老二。早年他们家生活在佛罗里达州的彭萨科拉(Pensacola),父亲在船厂当领班,母亲是个家庭主妇。后来他们搬到亚拉巴马州的罗伯茨代尔(Robertsdale)。那是墨西哥湾附近一座以白人为主的小城,宁静,稳定,安全。上高中的时候,他被投票评为“最好学”的学生。他曾代表罗伯茨代尔参加美国退伍军人协会(American Legion)举办的模拟议会项目“Boys State”,并在亚拉巴马地方电力协会(Alabama Rural Electric Association)举办的一次作文比赛中夺得冠军,比赛题目是“电力合作社:昨天、今天和明天的挑战者”。在课堂之外,库克被任命为学校年鉴的业务主管,因为他做事一丝不苟且擅长跟数字打交道。

库克毕业于奥本大学(Auburn University),拿到了工业工程学位,步入职场的第一份工作是在IBM。后来他又在杜克大学(Duke University)拿到了MBA学位。12年过后,他跳槽到科罗拉多州一家名叫“Intelligent Electronics Inc.”的电脑经销公司工作,将该公司的营业收入提高了将近一倍。后来他被康柏(Compaq)挖走,搬到了休斯顿。一天一位猎头打电话过来说,苹果在找一名高级副总裁负责全球运营。那位猎头说:“何不过来见见史蒂夫·乔布斯呢?”

库克在1998年加入了苹果的高管团队,当时这家公司正在经历重组的阵痛,急需一名有能力的经理人来提高制造流程的效率。和那些跟运营团队坐在一起的前任不一样,库克在高管楼层要了一间与乔布斯办公室斜对角的小办公室。那是一条聪明的策略──和老板待近一点,跟他的思维合上拍。

从进入苹果工作开始,库克便设定了异常远大的目标。他想得到最优的价格,最优的送货服务,最优的产量,最优的一切。他对采购团队说:“我希望你们的行事方式就像是来自一家200亿美元的公司。”其实那时候苹果的年收入只有60亿美元左右,并且才勉强实现盈利。现在他们跟当初已经不是一个重量级了。

在有些人看来,库克是一台机器;在另一些人看来,库克令人着迷。他可以在下属心中引起恐惧,但同样也可以激励他们为了得到一句赞扬从黎明忙到半夜。

只是偶尔跟库克打交道的人觉得他是一位和蔼的南方人,有一股电视节目主持人“罗杰斯先生”(Mister Rogers)那样的气质。但他不是一个平易近人的人。多年来,同事们曾经试图与他进行私人的交往,基本上都没有成功。他去锻炼的健身房并不是苹果园区里的那一家,在工作之外,他也不跟人套近乎。

多年之前,在苹果的影片编辑软件iMovie即将推出的时候,乔布斯希望手下的高管通过制作家庭电影来进行测试。库克的影片讲的是找房子的过程,以及在90年代末的帕洛阿尔托(Palo Alto)房地产市场房价是多么贵。虽然很搞笑,影片却没有揭示有关他自己的任何东西。

乔布斯治下的苹果是一部过山车,但库克治下的运营部门却是井井有条、纪律严明。库克知道运营流程中每一个步骤的每一个细节。每周一次的运营会议上,他都会详细研究每一个条目,一场会议有可能开上五六个小时。下属很快学会像准备考试一样准备和他一起开的会。甚至几百件的小差错都会被细究。据一位规划师回忆,库克曾直截了当地说:“你的数字让我想从那边的窗户跳出去。”

库克曾大张旗鼓地处理苹果的庞大库存。他认为库存从根本上讲是邪恶的。他将自己称为“横扫库存的匈奴王阿提拉”。

跟库克开会有时候让人害怕。他表现出一种带有禅意的平静,不多说一句话。他会一边喝激浪汽水(Mountain Dew)一边说:“说说你的数字,把表格打开来。”(有些员工很好奇,他摄入那么多咖啡因为什么没有变得躁动起来。)当库克把注意力对准某个人的时候,他会用各种问题敲打他们直到满意。“为什么?”“什么意思?”“我不明白。为什么不说清楚?”很多人都知道,他会把同一个问题连续问上10遍。

库克也明白沉默的威力。他用片刻沉默实现的效果,是乔布斯大喊大叫所无法实现的。当有人回答不出问题的时候,库克就会一言不发地坐着,其他人盯着桌子,在位子上动来动去。这种沉默是如此强烈,如此让人不安,会议室内所有人都想逃走。不动声色的库克目不转睛地盯着局促不安的对方,手指都不动一下。有时候他会边等回答边从口袋里掏出一块能量棒,只有包装纸哗啦哗啦的响声才打破了寂静。

就算是在苹果不讲人情的文化中,库克开会时的严厉也是很突出的。有一次一名来自另一个小组的经理来参加会议,非常震惊地听到库克对一名下属说:“数字错了,滚出去。”

库克的季度评估尤其折磨人,因为他会推敲每一个细枝末节,用黄色便签纸把他认为有用的和没用的内容加以归类。他手下的经理们祈祷着能够毫发无损地出来。他们相互之间总是说:“只要不是排在末尾,我们就安全了。”

在生活中,库克也像在工作中一样严格、自律。他早上4点30分或五点钟起床,每周去健身房锻炼多次。他全天都吃蛋白质棒,午餐吃得很简单,比如鸡肉米饭。

他的精力非常人能比。他可以飞往亚洲停留三天,然后飞回来,在早上七点钟着陆机场,到8点30分的时候,已经在办公室就一些数字问题盘问某人了。

库克的节俭也是不讲人情的。他曾在一栋灰暗的、没有空调的农场风格楼房里租了一套房子,一住就是多年。他说这让他记住自己卑微的出身。当他终于买下一栋房子的时候,面积也就2,400平方英尺(约合223平方米),建在一处半幅地皮上,只有一个停车位。他的第一辆跑车是二手的保时捷Boxster。这是一款入门级跑车,跑车迷们称之为“穷人的保时捷”。

甚至他的爱好也属于硬派:骑行和攀岩。度假期间他从不远游,最喜欢去的地方包括优山美地国家公园(Yosemite National Park)和尤他州的宰恩国家公园(Zion National Park)。

库克崇拜的人包括罗伯特·F.肯尼迪(Robert F. Kennedy)和马丁·路德·金(Martin Luther King Jr.),他的办公室悬挂着两人的照片。在一份暗示库克如何看待他与乔布斯关系的声明中,他说他敬佩罗伯特·肯尼迪如何坦然地站立在哥哥的阴影之下。这位被刺杀的参议员展现了库克努力争取的所有品质:刻苦,自律,慈悲。

尽管库克的严厉是出了名的,他也是一个慷慨的人。他把自己积累的常旅客里程当作 诞礼物送给别人,并在感恩节假期去食物救济站当义工。他还曾参加一场横跨佐治亚州的年度两日骑行活动,为多发性硬化患者捐款。自从多年前被误诊为多发性硬化以来,他一直是此类活动的支持者。库克对奥本大学校友杂志说:“医生讲,库克先生,你要么是得了中风,要么是得了多发性硬化。”结果他两样病都没有。他的症状产生于“携带重得不得了的行李”。

2011年8月,离乔布斯去世还有几个月的时间,库克以CEO名义向员工发出第一封电子邮件。他写道:“我想让大家相信,苹果不会改变。史蒂夫打造了全世界独一无二的公司与文化,我们将坚持这种公司与文化──它是我们的DNA。”他还说:“我相信我们最好的岁月还在前方,我们将同心协力,继续让苹果成为一个像现在一样神奇的地方。”这份内部邮件的签名就是简单的“Tim”(蒂姆)。

乔布斯死后,苹果的员工在库克身边时是很振作。但在私下场合,很多人充满焦虑。在原先跟库克没有多大关系的部门,员工们担心他们的工作会发生怎样的变化。熟悉库克严厉管理风格的运营团队,则担心日子会更加难熬。

在当上CEO的头几天,库克采取了两项至关重要的行动。一是提拔苹果人望极高、负责互联网服务业务的副总裁埃迪·库伊(Eddy Cue)。库伊是乔布斯的得力助手,曾管理iTunes小组,最后负责管理苹果所有的互联网服务业务。他也是乔布斯的交易撮合者,跟音乐公司、制片公司、图书出版商和传媒企业谈判。当库克最后把他提拔为高级副总裁的时候,此举在公司内外都释放出善意,并把一位重要的乔布斯追随者变成了库克的关键盟友。

库克的第二个决定是启动一个慈善项目:在员工捐款的基础上投入同等金额的善款,每人每年最高一万美元。这也受到了广泛的欢迎:之前苹果没有公司配套捐赠项目,很久以来一直是许多员工的心头之痛。乔布斯觉得配套捐赠项目尤其无效,因为捐赠款项根本不足以带来改变。乔布斯的一些友人相信,要是有更多的时间,他或许会采纳一些项目,但乔布斯曾经说过,通过做好公司、创造就业,他对社会的贡献更有意义。库克坚信慈善事业。他说:“我的目标是有朝一日全身心地帮助他人。对我来说那才是真正的成功,那时候你可以说,‘我再也不需要它了,我要去做别的事情’。”

这两项举措标志着苹果转向一个更加亲切的机制。虽然外界仍然知之甚少,但在内部苹果给人的感觉是开放了很多。新CEO通过电子邮件和恳谈会与员工交流得更加频繁。乔布斯总是跟设计大师乔纳森·艾夫(Jonathan Ive)一起吃午饭,而库克总是去食堂,向他不认识的员工作自我介绍,问能不能跟他们一起吃饭。没有乔布斯紧紧盯着,气氛变得更加放松。库克是一名更加传统的CEO,给苹果注入了一种更加健康的工作环境。

事实证明库克是一名有方法、有效率的CEO。乔布斯似乎是凭着直觉在管理,而库克要的是有关预期成本与利润的客观数据。乔布斯享受彼此之间的争执,库克看重共同领导与团队合作。库克在投资者面前抛头露面的时候更多,也更加透明。

不是所有人都如此倾心于他。库克带来的改变被看作是苹果越来越无趣的兆头。对更具颠覆性的岁月的渴望也很明显。怀疑派很快开始对苹果的未来表达质疑,特别是在虚拟私人助手“Siri”磕磕绊绊地发布之后。

科技研究公司Forrester Research的CEO乔治·克朗尼(George Colony)在一篇博客里写道:“如果没有一个魅力四射的新领导人上台,苹果就会从一家了不起的公司变成一家还算不错的公司。跟索尼(Sony)、宝丽来(Polaroid)、1985年前后的苹果以及迪士尼(Disney)一样,苹果将会空档滑行,然后减速。”

总之,史蒂夫·乔布斯的幽灵仍在上空盘旋,超脱于责备与问责之外,超脱于一团乱麻的人性弱点之外。他的继任者们却只能滞留在尘世之中,承受着种种的束缚。

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