Today I want to share with you a video from our archives. In it I compare and contrast Steve Jobs and Tim Cook and tackle the issue of which one of them makes a better CEO.
To answer the question, “Was Steve Jobs a Better CEO than Tim Cook?” you first have to understand the difference between a startup CEO vs. an established CEO.
Steve Jobs and Tim Cook are completely opposite types of CEOs. On one side you have Steve Jobs, a startup CEO who was driven by crisis. Tim Cook is driven by stability and performance. Steve Jobs was driven by being unpredictable. Tim Cook is driven by being predictable. Steve Jobs was driven by hording cash. Tim Cook has cash, and wants to spend it.
Steve Jobs got a lot of criticism for hording cash, but as a startup entrepreneur, when you’re there and going through it, you realize how close you are to going out of business. Because of that, you see the value of having cash on hand, because when you don’t have it, that’s when you go out of business.
Since Tim Cook came along later, he doesn’t know what it is to go through that. He came in to cash, so is more open to wanting to acquire companies, but Jobs wanted everything to be self-created, inside out. They had completely different ways of thinking about it.
Now who is right and who is wrong? Who is better, who is weaker?
Both of them are needed. There isn’t one that’s more important than the other. Obviously a Steve Jobs gave birth to the opportunity, which is very, very important, but Tim Cook came in and stabilized the opportunity. This is important because investors like to see a company with stability.
One drives, the other one needs to know how to drive and stabilize together. But if done the right way you can have an incredible opportunity for them to do so. It’s just knowing that a Tim Cook wouldn’t make a startup CEO and a Steve Jobs would not necessarily make the best established CEO with no crisis to solve.
If you understand the difference between a startup CEO and an established CEO and position them properly, you have a winning formula.