Tim Cook, Jony Ive and Laurene Powell Jobs talk about Steve Jobs at Code Conference

On a rare occasion, Tim Cook, Jony Ive, and Laurene Powell Jobs got together for an interview with Kara Swisher at the Code Conference. They got together to talk about Steve Jobs and his legacy, and also announce the Steve Jobs Archive, which is a collection of artifacts on Apple’s co-founder.

Code Conference 2022, organized by Vox Media, was hosted by Kara Swisher, who has interviewed many popular names in tech like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and many more, over the years. This was her last session at a Code Conference, and she used it to interview guests that most Apple followers are familiar with.   

Tim Cook, Jony Ive and Laurene Powell Jobs talk about Steve Jobs at Code Conference

Tim Cook, Jony Ive, and Laurene Powell Jobs’ thoughts on Steve Jobs

The interview started with a video that showed Steve Jobs’ appearances over the years at Code and All Things Digital conferences over the years, where Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg interviewed him. One of the memorable interviews was where both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates attended the same session.

Tim Cook, Jony Ive, and Laurene Powell Jobs started with what they thought Steve Jobs’ would think of the situation of Apple and the world at the moment. Cook responded:

“I believe and hope that he would be proud of a day like this. I think that in the greater world he would be troubled by a lot of the things he sees, the partisanship and division in the world. He would be proud that we’re living up to principles like privacy and protecting the environment. I think it would be mixed, but I hate to project what he would think today.”

To the same question, Laurene answered:

“That’s an impossible hypothetical but because we knew him so well for a long time, in many ways he inhabits each of us. For me, often the way I make sense of the world is that I have the resonance of his voice in my head. He would be very disappointed in the political climate. Not only the polarization, but he loved our country so much. He loved California. He loved the ideal of our world, what it allowed individuals to become; the personal liberties but also the connectedness and the responsibility for one another. He would not be quiet.”

She also added that Steve Jobs wouldn’t be on Twitter if he was alive today, but he would still find a way to speak easily. Kara said that Steve Jobs thought that Apple’s attempt at social media “Ping” sucked and that he hated social media in general.

Ive responded to the same question too:

“Jobs would be mad slash furious. Combined with that sort of compassion and ideals that Laurene described. Both of those are fabulous fuels to be effective. He would have brought his curiosity and lack of fear to have ideas. He certainly would have felt there’s an imperative here. Fury and love I think are wonderful fuels, and I would expect there would be a mixture of both.”

When the discussion moved to privacy, Tim Cook said:

“It was Steve, who ingrained in the company the value of privacy, and it’s only grown since. Aask people, ask them repeatedly, Privacy is a fundamental human right. This is a world where people begin to do less and think less, they alter their behavior because they’re being watched. This is not a world that any of us want to live in. He saw that clearly. He would have put up a fight along the way. We believe people should be empowered to make that decision in a simple and straightforward manner, not buried 95 pages deep in a privacy policy somewhere. We are not trying to be a regulator, Kara, this is all about giving people choice.”

On design, Kara said:

“A lot of the things that are privacy violations have been rolled out without care, without intentionality, without thought about the consequences,”

Jony Ive added:

“It’s easy to define carelessness. I think care is very often felt and not necessarily seen. That sort of care that Steve talks about — the carpenter that finishes the back of the drawer. You do it not because there’s an economic interest, but because it’s the moral thing to do.”

“We would have sat there on a Sunday afternoon and talked about the wire that’s tied up — the only reason that you are there is that you think our species deserves better. It deserves thought. You feel connected.”

“Care is seeing people as more than just a revenue stream.”

Laurene spoke about Steve Jobs’ aesthetic sense:

“Steve early on in his life developed out a very full aesthetic sense, certainly before I did. He noticed details of everything. The way that the floor meets the walls meets the ceilings, the way the lights are recessed or not recessed. The way the sconce design allows for illumination. He was very aware of both the physical and natural environment.”

“He really loved California. The natural beauty and the light of it. That allowed him to have a much broader sense of what his life could be. People make fun of us because we couldn’t agree on a sofa or chairs, so for many years we had neither. It took many years.”

On the topic of Apple’s size as a company and the power it has, Tim Cook said:

“We don’t think about it that way. We think about our values. That’s the lens we look at it through, not the lens of power and wielding it.”

“In many ways it’s still run the way Steve set it up. It’s still a functional company, we don’t have mini P&L statements. We have someone that owns software and someone that owns hardware and someone that owns design.”

“Steve ran a 9:00 am meeting on Mondays at Apple, which still takes place. We don’t sit around saying what would Steve do, he told us not to do that. But the reality is that he was the best teacher I’ve ever had, and those teachings live on.”

When talking about competition, Tim Cook also pointed out that Samsung is the leader in terms of market share, and also highlighted other companies like Google and Huawei. Cook also said that digital advertising is not a bad thing, but pointed out that using people’s data without informing them is not correct. When asked about RCS, Cook said that users don’t ask about it which is why they don’t put any energy into it.

The interview ended with each of them saying one word to define Steve Jobs:

  • Cook: Curiosity
  • Laurene: Radiant
  • Jony: Pure

The video of the interview is not online yet. We will update this post once it is made available.

You can also check out Steve Jobs Archive to see some videos and audio clips from Apple’s co-founder.

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