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专访库克:苹果为改变世界而生|《财富》独家

Adam Lashinsky 2017年09月22日

当被要求解释苹果如何改变世界的时候,库克做出了乔布斯式的回答:“我们的产品”。

 

在接受《财富》独家专访时,苹果CEO蒂姆·库克畅谈这家科技巨头如何通过投资可再生能源和教育等领域来实践其企业使命。对于矢志改变世界的苹果来说,最重要的途径当然是制造一系列畅销世界的产品。

史蒂夫·乔布斯有句名言,“我们在这里是要给这个宇宙留下印记。否则的话,为什么我们还要存在下去呢?”假如有一家公司自觉地专注于产生影响——用《财富》杂志年度榜单的行话说,就是改变世界——它就是苹果。

然而,对于乔布斯而言,他寻求让苹果在这个宇宙留下的印记,几乎完全围绕着创造一批足以改变人们生活的新产品。这些产品不仅华丽,有用,而且很有趣,让人惊喜连连,但它们自身几乎跟“善行”无关。尽管它带有嬉皮士般的虚饰,并展开了一系列贴心的市场营销,但乔布斯治下的苹果是一台效率惊人的赚钱机器,社会事业基本上都留给了其他人来做。

56岁的苹果首席执行官蒂姆·库克在职业生涯的中期加入该公司。尽管他展现出了一位改变信仰者的热情,但他的商业头脑丝毫不亚于乔布斯。当被要求解释苹果如何改变世界的时候,他立即回答:“我们的产品”。

但就它如何将其社会意识投射到世界,以及它在企业界的地位而言,库克执掌的苹果是一家彻底改变的公司。在2008年一篇题为“史蒂夫背后的天才”的封面报道中,《财富》执行主编亚当·拉辛斯基首次向读者推介这位未来的苹果掌门人。三月下旬的一天,库克接受了拉辛斯基的专访,畅谈苹果对自身作为一股向善的力量的看法。

库克的一些表述令人惊讶,包括为什么他拒绝设立企业基金会。或者苹果的一些医疗保健措施(它源自为苹果手表设计的应用)并没有明显的赚钱模式,可能永远不会。

库克还描述了这样一幅图景:苹果的慈善活动和其他在商业上有益的善行,与该公司的产品开发精神是一个有机整体。它试图做相对较少的事情,以更好地保持专注。苹果最大的优先事项包括可再生能源(它自己运营一套主要依赖这类能源的设施),教育(它专注于从幼儿园到社区学院的编码教学),以及医疗保健——比如,通过与全球基金会合作的“红色产品”计划,该公司已经为抗击艾滋病毒事业筹集了1.3亿美元。

最后,库克指出,通过其“应用程序经济”,苹果为美国创造了200万个工作岗位,为世界其他地区创造了“数百万个”就业机会。他认为这是苹果为社会做出的最大贡献。对于苹果来说,所有这一切都回到了其产品本身。此时此刻,大约10亿个苹果产品正在给这个宇宙留下印记。

《财富》杂志:苹果是否改变了世界?

蒂姆·库克:是的,我认为苹果以多种方式改变了这个世界。在我看来,苹果改变世界的首要方式是通过我们的产品。我们为人们制造产品,这些工具能够帮助用户做他们此前无法做到的事情,使他们能够创造,学习,教学或玩耍。或者做一些非常棒的事情。

这就是我们改变世界的主要方式。我们也试图通过我们经营公司的方式来改变世界。无论是非常专注于环境,以确保我们没有留下碳足迹,还是以100%的可再生能源来运营我们的公司。

我们支持人权事业,因为苹果向来致力于为每个人制造产品。可以说,如果人们在世界任何地方被视为二等公民,那么这一目标就很难实现。

我们认为,教育是一种旨在促进平等的绝佳途径。所以,我们竭力将教育带入主流。现在,我们的工作重心是编码,因为我们认为编码是世界上每个人的第二种语言,无论他们是否从事科技类工作。我认为,即使你并不是科技工作者,编码也非常重要。

我们试图倡导人们的隐私权,因为我们生活在一个技术可以做很多事情的世界,但有些事情它不应该做。所以,我们非常努力地保护人们的隐私和安全,并希望帮助他们防止坏事。

所以,我们试图用我们运营公司的方式来做所有这些事情。但我们改变世界的主要方式永远是通过我们的产品。因为我们以这种方式触达了如此多的人。

你说,苹果致力于制造每个人都能使用的产品。但苹果的经营策略是制造高价位,高利润的高端产品。这就是为什么你们现在是世界上最有价值的公司。

嗯,不是高利润。我不会用那个词。有很多公司的利润要比我们高得多。我们基于产品的价值定价。我们尝试着制造最好的产品。这意味着,我们不会制造商品类产品。我们无意贬低制造这类产品的人;这是一个很好的商业模式。但它并非我们涉足的业务类型。

但如果你浏览我们的产品线,你今天可以用不到300美元购买一部iPad。你也可以购买一部同样价位的iPhone手机,这取决于你选择的产品类型。所以说,这些产品并不是为富人制造的。倘若我们是为富人制造这些产品,我们的活跃设备数量显然不会超过10亿,因为任何看到这个数字的人都会认为它相当庞大。

谈谈围绕苹果生存的经济。

不妨想想苹果正在赋予人们——特别是开发商——多大的权力。我们正在为开发人员提供的工具,不仅仅是设备,还包括一套随同设备一起使用的开发工具包。这样一来,他们就可以利用自身的激情和创造力来构建产品。

然后,苹果商店给予他们面向全世界销售的能力。以前不可想象的是,你可以坐在你的地下室,经营一门全球业务。所以,在世界上每个国家,一批企业家正在涌现出来,做自己想做的事情。

我们也制造产品。但我们自己不做,而是第三方为我们制造。在美国,我们有很多这样的合作伙伴。在美国之外,也有许多公司为我们制造产品。但我们用这种方式创造了大量工作岗位。通过应用经济和产品,当然还包括我们自己聘用的员工,我们已经为美国创造了200万个就业机会。

为世界创造了多少就业机会?

数百万。

最近,苹果似乎对健康领域很感兴趣。这是一门潜在的赚钱业务,还是某种更加无私的事业?

几年前,我们开始研发苹果手表。我们专注于健康。健康的真谛不仅在于监测活动,还包括对你的健康进行某种测量——人们通常不会进行这种测量,至少不会进行持续性测量。比如你的心脏。很少有人戴心脏监护仪。所以当我们致力于研发苹果手表的时候,我们开始意识到,我们能做的事情远比这样一款智能设备更加深刻。

我们对这个领域很感兴趣。是的,这是一个商机。如果你仔细观察的话,你会发现,医疗活动是经济体中最大或第二大组成部分,这取决于你正在跟哪个国家打交道。在这一领域,设备层面的关注焦点从来都不是纯粹地致力于制造伟大的产品。人们关注的焦点向来是制造某种能够通过保险公司、联邦医疗保险和联邦医疗补助获得补偿的产品。所以在某些方面,我们正在将一个全新的视角带入这个领域,并且说,“忘记所有这一切吧。什么样的产品会帮助人们?”

真正让我们惊讶和高兴的是,拜其监控心脏的功能所赐,这款设备事实上能够通过其收集的数据提醒人们,他们有问题。这会激励他们去看医生:“看看我的心率数据。有什么问题吗?”不少人已经发现,要不是及时就医,他们很可能已经不在人世了。

我们也发现——在某种程度上是出于好奇心的偶然发现——人们从事健康研究的方式仍然非常老派。许多研究机构还在投放分类广告,以鼓励相关受众踊跃参加。我们推出软件开发工具ResearchKit,并且让它成为一个源泉,以便人们从事规模庞大的研究。事实上,我们利用这个平台进行了世界历史上规模最大的疾病研究,比如帕金森病等等。老实说,我们还没有赚到一分钱。但我们认为,这种事情对社会有利,所以我们就做了。它最终将引领我们走向何方?我们将拭目以待。我今天不能回答。

健康领域还有很多潜力可挖。我们正在进行大量研究,具体细节我不方便告知。其中一些显然是商业项目,另一些显然不是。还有一些目前还不清楚。我认为,对于苹果的未来来说,这是一个庞大的领域。

现在有很多公司都成立了基金会,但苹果还没有。为什么?

这是一个很好的问题。我们曾经仔细考虑过。

什么时候?

我曾经在2012年初审视过这个问题。

出于多方面的考量,我决定不这样做。根据我的判断,一家公司成立基金会的风险在于,它有可能成为另一个与公司没有联系的实体。它有另一套董事班子。有时候,他们会独立做出合理的决策。总之,它成为另一个不相关的实体。这是我不希望在苹果看到的。我希望每个人都参与其中,因为我认为,我们之所以拥有如此大的力量,能够做如此多事情,是因为我们更加强大,是因为我们足够团结,是因为我们全力以赴。

我们从事的公益事业并不多。但我们试图全力以赴,做到最好。

从产品的设计和开发,到我们使用的材料,我们一直致力于保护环境。在制造方面,我们一直在关注可再生能源。每当建立一个数据中心的时候,我们总是确保它使用的是可再生能源。在地球日,我们希望所有的苹果店都行动起来,设法让客户意识到他们能做的事情。我们试图让所有人参与其中,是因为这样做可以产生更大的影响。我们可以成为池塘中的涟漪。倘若我们成立一家基金会,我担心它会成为10个、12个、20个或50个人做的事情。突然间,对于苹果的12万员工来说,它就成为与他们无关的事情。人们来这里工作,是为了改变世界。所以,我认为这应该成为苹果不可或缺的一部分,而不是转交给一家基金会的次要任务。

有没有人不同意你的决定?

我收到了一些建议。这些建议都是跟建立一家基金会相关。但我自己的判断是,当你真的开始询问5个为什么的时候,他们最终给出的理由都是,其他人都这样做了。或者因为一些人觉得,通过成立一家基金会,你可以向外界发出一个讯号:你真的很关心社会。我认为这几乎就是一种营销手段。我们“做善事”不是为了宣传自己。这绝非苹果的营商之道。我意识到,建立一家基金会可以获得税收优惠等好处。但我的观点是,如果你想做善事,你需要最大化做善事的方式。

我认为,有12万人作为后盾,我们能做的善事远远多于让12个人坐在一个角落里制定决策。我不是批评这样做的人。我想也许他们找到了一种不错的方式。但苹果不是这样。

让我们谈谈教育。我知道,这是史蒂夫·乔布斯酷爱的事业。

他对教育市场非常感兴趣,但不止于此。他非常热衷于学习。史蒂夫是一位终身学习者,他知道终身学习的价值。而且他觉得,传统的教育方式并不奏效。

他认为现代教育的一大要素就是数字教室。所以在不同阶段,他一直在推动苹果设备进入课堂,最初是Mac电脑——实际上,在Mac电脑问世之前,他就推动苹果电脑进入课堂——然后是iPad。因为他看到了iPad可以释放出来的力量,他希望所有使用课本的孩子都能用上iPad,因为他看到许多孩子背着重达50磅的书籍行走在街上。一个仅有50磅重的小孩竟然背着50磅的书籍!此外,书籍很单调,没有什么令人兴奋的地方。所以,他花费1000万美元打造了一本教科书,以显示另一种可能性。

现在,我们试图将这种策略推向下一步。我们的下一步是,我们认为每个人都应该学习编码。这不仅仅是因为现在懂编码的人存在巨大缺口,还因为我们认为,技术的本质正在日益水平化,而不是垂直化。很多人认为,技术像其他事物一样,是一种垂直化技能。我真的不这样认为。我认为,技术已经变得非常水平化。

但在进一步观察之后,我们发现有多个问题。一个问题是,编码被认为是计算机科学家的工作,它是针对某种类型的学生的,一种非常技术性的学生。所以我们创建了一个新的编程语言Swift。Swift的整个概念是,你创造了一种易于使用苹果产品的编程语言。所以每个人都可以学习。然而,它足够强大,可以编写你梦想的最复杂的应用程序。然后,我们开始思考,我们还能做什么。于是,我们就推出了Swift Playgrounds,这是一套面向小学四五年级那个年龄段的课程。它就开始起飞了。所以我们退后一步,为整个K–12阶段的学生开发了一个更大的课程,即“人人都能编码。”

所有这些课程都是免费的。世界各地的任何人只要想学习,都可以获得这套课程。我们推出了多个语言版本。在过去一年半左右,我们学到了不少东西。但我们意识到,我们还没有触及社区学院。我们需要进入社区学院。令我们惊讶的是,我们已经建立了30个社区学院系统。

相对于技术行业的其他公司,苹果在保护隐私方面的立场一直很强硬。技术行业是否正在进一步转向苹果的立场?

我不认为有很多人像我们一样把隐私问题置于最重要的优先事项。我所看到的是,随着用户社区的不断扩大,隐私的重要性正在增加。安全性的重要性正在呈指数级增长。这是因为黑客事件频发,关于此类事件的报道不绝于耳。我认为,现在没有碰到这类问题,或者没有听闻信用卡信息失窃等问题的人恐怕不是很多。

所以我觉得,人们将更加重视这个问题,我相信的一幕终将发生,因为那些不遵循客户意愿的公司不会做得太好。所以,我认为这意味着更多的公司将更加重视隐私问题。

我希望这一幕发生,因为我们的数据非常私密,我们的个人信息是私人信息。此外,这些设备可以让你的生活变得更好,但你也希望它们足够安全。

许多人将iPhone和iPad视为不良社交行为的工具,例如容易分心,一些孩子长时间地盯着屏幕。你怎么看?

我们的整个前提是,将我们的产品与人融为一体。因此,如果你仔细想想苹果手表的功能,除了我们刚刚从健康角度谈论的所有内容之外,你会发现,它允许你保持一定程度的连接,而不会完全沉浸其中。所以,如果你只想要某些人给你发消息,那么你只需等待那个重要信息。

或者有一些你真正需要的通知,你可以在这里做其他事情,或者进行这样的谈话,而不是等待,不断地拿起设备查看。

此外,随着iOS 11 (iPhone和iPad的最新操作系统)的推出,当你开始旅行,启动汽车的时候,你会发现你的手机不会接收通知。如果你拿起手机,说“我没有开车,”它就会给你发送通知。如果你想的话,你可以将这些推送关闭。但我们一直尝试着帮助人们保护自己,帮助人们做正确的事情。

我认为所有的公司都应该这样做,真正想明白消费者如何使用他们的产品。使用一款产品有点像吃健康的食物。真的很棒。但你有可能吃太多的健康食物,你也有可能过度使用某种设备。

这款手表还有一个呼吸应用——我发现你没戴苹果手表。它会经常提示你进行一分钟的呼吸运动。如果你这样做一个星期,那么在这个星期结束的时候,你就会惊奇地感到你的呼吸多么顺畅。不这样做的话,你根本体会不到。

你自己做吗?

我做。有时候,它会在不方便的时候点击我,而我不能做。但我可以让它随后提醒我。它真的会给你带来惊喜。所以,我们一直在尝试着思考这一切。

但这个问题显然要比一款呼吸应用或一款安全应用更大。

这是许多事情的集合。如果你想全天无休地使用这个设备(他指向自己的iPhone),我可能不会阻止你,也许不应该。因为这就是我们生活的国家。你拥有这种自由。但作为这款设备的提供者,我应该考虑一些可能对你有帮助的事情。在这方面,我们真的很努力。

最后一个问题。似乎有充分的证据表明,相当大一部分公众认为,公司是坏的,它们并不是一股向善的力量。你显然相信,有一家公司是一股向善的力量。你是否认为公众的关切是正当的,公司需要做得更好?

我认为,像其他任何东西一样,有些公司是好的,有些不是。所以,我认为你不能一概而论。就像人一样。大多数人都是热心肠。但偶尔,你也会遇到不那么热心的人。所以,我认为公司也是这样。我不认同“所有的公司都好”或“所有的公司都不好”那种说法。我认为,生活没有这么简单。

《财富》榜单的终极目标毕竟是庆贺那些正在对世界产生积极影响的公司。

我们将永远致力于改善这个世界。这是我们在上世纪70年代创建苹果的动机。今天,它仍然是我们的动机。它是我们的驱动力。我们想做正确的事情,而不是容易做的事情。因为我们做的很多事都不容易。一路走来,我们遭遇过不少挫折。但我们总是尝试做正确的事。(财富中文网) 

译者:Kevin

IN AN EXCLUSIVE Q&A, CEO TIM COOK TALKS ABOUT HOW THE TECH GIANT IS EMBRACING ITS CORPORATE MISSION BY INVESTING IN EVERYTHING FROM RENEWABLE ENERGY TO EDUCATION TO, YES, WORLD-CHANGING PRODOCTS.

“WE’RE HERE TO PUT a dent in the universe,” Steve Jobs once famously said. “Otherwise why else even be here?” If ever a company was self-consciously focused on making an impact—changing the world, in the argot of Fortune’s annual list—it’s Apple.

And yet, for Jobs the dent that he intended for Apple to make in the universe revolved almost totally around creating new products that would change people’s lives. Those products would be gorgeous and useful and fun and surprising, but rarely “good” in and of themselves. Despite a hippie-dippie veneer and earnest marketing, Apple under Jobs was a ruthlessly efficient moneymaker that largely left social programs to others.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, 56, who joined the company in the middle of his career and has assumed the zealousness of a convert, is no less commercially minded than Jobs. And when asked to explain how Apple changes the world he answers immediately with two words one can imagine Jobs saying too: “our products.”

But Apple under Cook is a company transformed in terms of how it projects onto the world its social awareness and its place in the corporate community. Fortune executive editor Adam Lashinsky, who first profiled Cook in a 2008 magazine cover story titled “The Genius Behind Steve,” sat down with the CEO in late March to discuss Apple’s view of itself as a force for good.

Some of what Cook said is surprising, including why he personally rejected the idea of establishing a corporate foundation. Or that some of Apple’s health care initiatives—which sprang from apps designed for the Apple Watch—have no discernible model for making money and may never.

Cook also paints a picture of Apple’s philanthropic and otherwise commercially beneficent activities as of a piece with the company’s ethos on product development: It tries to do relatively few things so as to better focus on them. Apple’s biggest priorities include renewable energy (it runs its own facilities overwhelmingly on them), education (it is focused on teaching coding from kindergarten through community college), and health care (including the $130 million it has raised for HIV/AIDS through its PRODUCT (RED) partnership with the Global Fund).

Ultimately, Cook sees Apple’s greatest societal contribution coming through the 2 million U.S. jobs it believes it creates through its “app economy” as well as the “many millions” more it supports in the rest of the world. For Apple, everything comes back to its products, about a billion of which are denting the universe at this very moment.

FORTUNE: Has Apple changed the world?

TIM COOK: Yes, I think in numerous ways. I think the No. 1 way Apple changes the world is through our products. We make products for people that are tools to enable them to do things that they couldn’t otherwise do—to enable them to create or learn or teach or play. Or do something really wonderful.

So that’s the primary way we change the world. We also try to change the world by the way we run the company. And whether that’s being very focused on the environment and making sure that we have a no-carbon footprint, essentially, or running our company on 100% renewable energy.

We advocate for human rights, because Apple has always been about making products for everyone. And, arguably, if people are treated as second-class citizens in any part of the world, then it’s kind of hard to accomplish that objective.

We believe education is a great equalizer. And so we try our best to bring education to the mainstream. And right now our major thrust is in coding because we think that coding is the sort of the second language for everyone in the world. And that’s regardless of whether they’re in technology or not. I think that you don’t have to be in technology for coding to be very important.

We try to advocate for people’s privacy because we are living in a world where technology can do lots of things, but there’s things that it shouldn’t do. And so we try very hard to protect people’s privacy and security and hopefully keep some of these bad things at bay for them.

So we try to do all of those things in the way that we conduct ourselves and run the company. But the primary way we will always change the world is through our products. Because we touch so many more people in that manner.

You say that Apple makes its products for everyone to be able to use. But Apple’s business strategy is to make premium-priced, high-margin, high-end products, which is why you’re the most valuable company in the world.

Well it’s not high margin. I wouldn’t use that word. There’s a lot of companies that have much higher margins. We price for the value of our products. And we try to make the very best products. And that means we don’t make commodity kind of products. And we don’t disparage people that do; it’s a fine business model. But it’s not the business that we’re in.

But if you look across our product lines, you can buy an iPad today for under $300. You can buy an iPhone, depending upon which one you select, for in that same kind of ballpark. And so these are not for the rich. We obviously wouldn’t have over a billion products that are in our active installed base if we were making them for the rich because that’s a sizable number no matter who’s looking at the numbers.

Talk about the economy that exists around Apple.

Think about Apple empowering people, particularly developers. The tool that we’re giving developers is not only a device but the developer kit that goes with the device so that they can in turn utilize their passion and creativity to build their product.

And then the App Store gives them the ability to sell to the world. It wasn’t imaginable that long ago that you could sit in your basement and run a global business. And so there’s entrepreneurs springing up in every country in the world and doing things they want to do.

We also manufacture. We don’t do it ourselves but we have third parties manufacturing for us. We have a ton of companies within the United States that do that; we have a ton of companies outside the United States that do that. But we create a lot of jobs in that way. Between the app economy and manufacturing, and then of course our own employment, we’ve created over 2 million jobs in the U.S.

What’s the corresponding figure for the world?

It’s many millions.

Recently Apple has become interested in health. Is this a potential moneymaker, or something more altruistic?

We started working on the Apple Watch several years ago. And we were focused on wellness. And wellness was about activity monitoring and also about performing some measurements of your health that people were not measuring, at least continually. Like your heart. Very few people wore heart monitors. So when we got into working on the watch we began to realize that the things that we could do were even more profound than that.

We’re extremely interested in this area. And, yes, it is a business opportunity. If you look at it, medical health activity is the largest or second-largest component of the economy, depending on which country in the world you’re dealing with. And it hasn’t been constructed in a way where the focus at the device level is making great products from a pure point of view. The focus has been on making products that can get reimbursed through the insurance companies, through Medicare, or through Medicaid. And so in some ways we bring a totally fresh view into this and say, ‘Forget all of that. What will help people?’

One of the things that we’ve learned that we’ve been really surprised and delighted about is this device, because of the monitoring of the heart, has essentially alerted people through the collection of the data that they have a problem. And that spurred them to go to the doctor and say, ‘Look at my heart rate data. Is something wrong?’ And a not-insignificant number have found out if they hadn’t come into the doctor they would have died.

We also discovered, somewhat by happenstance out of our curiosity, that the way that research was being conducted was sort of an old-world kind of thing. People were still putting classified ads in to try to get subjects to sign up. We put out ResearchKit [a software developers tool] and made it a source so that people could run enormous-sized studies. And there have been studies in Parkinson’s and so forth that literally are the largest studies ever in the history of the world. And we’re just scratching the surface right now. There’s no business model there. Honestly, we don’t make any money on that. But it was something that we thought would be good for society and so we did it. Will it eventually lead us somewhere? We’ll find out. I can’t answer that today.

There’s much more in the health area. There’s a lot of stuff that I can’t tell you about that we’re working on, some of which it’s clear there’s a commercial business there. And some of it it’s clear there’s not. And some of it it’s not clear. I do think it’s a big area for Apple’s future.

Why does Apple not have a foundation the way so many companies do?

That’s a really good question. We looked at it in some detail.

When?

I looked at it in early 2012.

And I decided not to do it. And here’s why. When a company sets up a foundation, there is a risk, in my judgment, of the foundation becoming this other thing that is not connected to the company. It has a separate board of directors. They make reasonably independent decisions sometimes. It becomes a separate thing. I don’t want that for Apple. I want everybody involved. Because I think that the power that we bring, the things that we can do is because we’re stronger—it’s with our unity there. It’s when we put all of ourselves in it.

We don’t work on that many things. But we try to put all of ourselves in it.

With the environment we’re working from the design and development of our products, the kind of materials that we use. In manufacturing we’re looking at the renewable energy sources. When we put a data center in, we want to make sure that’s with renewable energy. On Earth Day we want all of our stores involved in making our customers aware of things they can do. We try to get all of us involved because it makes a much bigger difference. We can be the ripple in the pond then. If we had a foundation, my fear was it becomes something that 10 or 12 or 20 or 50 people do. And all of a sudden for the 120,000, it’s just this separate thing out there. People work here to change the world. So I think that should be integral to what the company does. Not peripheral in a foundation.

Did anyone disagree with your decision?

I got several recommendations, all of which were to set up a foundation. But I think my own judgment was when you really started asking the five whys, they all eventually landed on, because everybody else has done it. Or because some people felt that by having a foundation it was a signal that you cared. I see that as marketing almost, and we don’t ‘do good’ to market. That’s not what we’re about. And I realize there’s tax benefits with a foundation and all that kind of stuff. But look, again my perspective is, if you want to do good you maximize how to do good.

My view, we do a lot more good with a 120,000 people behind it than we would putting 12 people over in a corner to make decisions. I’m not criticizing people that do that. I think maybe they found a way and maybe it’s great. But it wouldn’t be Apple.

Let’s turn to education, which I know was a passion of Steve Jobs.

He was very interested in education as a market, but more than that. He was very keen on learning. And Steve was a lifelong learner, and he knew the value of it. And he felt that the traditional education approaches were not working.

And he thought one element of modern education was the digital classroom. And so at various stages, in early days, he was pushing Macs in classrooms. Actually pre-Mac he was pushing Apple computers in classrooms. And then iPad. Because he saw what iPad could unleash, he wanted to get all the textbook guys on the iPad because he saw kids walking with these 50 pounds of books, this little kid that weights 50 pounds trying to carry 50 pounds of books. And also that the book was flat. That there was nothing exciting. So he went out and spent $10 million on one textbook to show what was possible.

What we’ve tried to do is take that now to the next step. And our next step was we think everybody should learn coding. Not only because there’s a huge shortage of people that know how to code today, but because we see technology increasingly horizontal in nature and not vertical. A lot of people think of technology as kind of a vertical like all the others. I don’t really see that. I see that technology has become very horizontal.

But when we looked at it we found that there were multiple issues. One issue was that coding was viewed as being for computer scientists, that it was for a certain type of student, a very technical kind of student. And so we created a new programming language called Swift. And the whole concept of Swift is you make a coding language that has the ease of use of our products. And so everybody can learn it. Yet, it’s powerful enough to write the most complex apps that you’d ever want to dream up. And then we thought, well, what else can we do, and so we came out with Swift Playgrounds, a curriculum for say K4, K5, sort of in that age range. And that began to take off. And so then we took a step back and we made a bigger program for all of K–12 called “Everyone Can Code.”

And all this curriculum stuff is free. Anybody can have it that wants it around the world. We’ve done it in multiple languages. And then with things that we’ve learned over the last year, year and a half or so, we thought, We’re not hitting community colleges. And we need to hit community colleges. To our surprise we’ve already got 30 community college systems set up.

Apple has taken a hard line on privacy, relative to others in the tech industry. Is the industry moving more toward Apple’s position?

I don’t think there’s very many people that place it at the top of the list as we do. What I do see is that the broader user community, the importance of privacy is increasing. And the importance of security is exponentially increasing. And that’s because of all of the hacks, all of the reports of things that have gone on. You would be hard pressed to find very many people that haven’t had a problem I think, or heard of a problem from credit cards to whatever.

And so I think people appreciate it more and what I believe will occur, because companies that don’t follow customers don’t do very well, and so I think that will mean that more companies will put a higher priority on it.

And I hope that happens because our data is very private, our personal information is private stuff. And also, these devices can make your life so much better, but you want them to be secure.

How do you deal with the fact that many people view iPhones and iPads as tools of bad social behavior, like distractedness and children who stare for too long into a screen?

Our whole premise is to infuse our products with humanity. And so if you think about what the watch does, other than all the stuff we’ve already talked about from a wellness point of view, one of the things the watch does it allows you to have a curated level of connection without being absorbed in it. And so if you just want certain people to be able to message you or whatever, you’re waiting for that important message.

Or there’s some kind of notification that you really need, you can do that here and sort of be in the moment in a conversation. As opposed to waiting and continually picking this thing up to find out.

Also, with iOS 11 [the newest operating system for the iPhone and iPad], when you start traveling, you’re going to find out your phone is not going to accept notifications when you start moving in the car. And if you pick your phone up, you can say, “I’m not driving,” and it will give them to you. And if you want you can go in there and turn that off. But we’re trying to help people protect themselves and help people do the right thing.

I think that all companies should do that, to really think through how their products are used. Using a product is somewhat like eating healthy food. It’s really great. But you can eat too much of healthy food. And you can use something too much.

The watch also has—I see you’re not using one—but there’s a breathing app on here. And every so often it will tap you and prompt you to go through a one-minute breathing exercise. If you did this just for one week, it’s amazing how you’ll feel at the end of the week vs. not doing it.

You do it?

I do it. Sometimes it taps me at an inconvenient time and I can’t. But I can go in there and prompt it later. And it’s sort of a “Whooo ...” So we really do try to think about all of this.

But surely the problem is bigger than a breathing app or a safety app.

It’s the set of many things. If you want to use this 24 hours a day [he motions to his iPhone], I’m probably not going to prevent you and probably shouldn’t. Because that’s the country we live in. You’re free to do that. But I ought to, as the provider of that, think through some things I could do that might be helpful for you. And we really try hard to do that.

Very last thing. There appears to be ample evidence that many parts of the public believe that corporations are bad, that they’re not a force for good in the world. You clearly believe one corporation in particular is a force for good. Is it a valid concern though on the part of the public and do corporations need to do better?

I think that corporations are like anything else in that there are some that are good and some that are not. So I don’t think you can paint all with one brush. Just like people. Most people are really big hearted. But occasionally you meet somebody that’s not. And so corporations are like that too, I think. I don’t subscribe to “all are good” or “all are bad.” I think life is not simple like that.

The ultimate objective of Fortune’s list, after all, is to celebrate companies that are making a positive impact on the world.

We will always try to change the world for the better. That was the motivation behind creating Apple when it was created back in the ’70s. And it’s still the motivation today. It’s what drives us. We want to do what’s right, not what’s easy. Because a lot of what we do is not easy. And we take some spears along the way. But we always try to do what’s right.

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