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Insights: Why Apple Doesn’t Need a Foundation to Change the World

September 08, 2017 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated April 30, 2020 17:39 PM UTC

The tech mega-giant was number 3 on the 2017 Change the World list.

[MUSIC PLAYING] Apple is quite pleased to be ranked high on Fortune's annual changed the world list, because this is a company that with, quite a good deal of justification, feels that it makes a contribution to the world through its normal business activities. When I asked Cook at the very beginning of the interview, how does apple change the world? The very first thing that he referenced is Apple's products. And we make products for people that are tools to enable them to do things that they couldn't otherwise do. That enabled them to create or learn or teach or play. Do something really wonderful. I think that's quite warranted and that is one of the reasons that Fortune put Apple so high on its change the world list. Apple has really changed the way people behave in their everyday life and while there are downsides, it's made the world a better place for a lot of people, and the company recognizes that. We did a project called CareKIt. People are not in a great frame of mind when they're getting out of hospital, and so we developed a very simple app that enables the patient to know exactly what to do, helps push the patient to do those, and communicates back to the doctor. There's no business model. We did it because we thought, this is something that needs to be done, so we did it. I asked Cook why Apple does not have a foundation. Almost every big company has a corporate foundation for corporate giving, and his answer really struck me. 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, it becomes a separate thing. I don't want that for Apple. I want everybody involved. My perspective is, if you want to do good, you maximize how to do good. My view, we do a lot more good with 120,000 people behind it than we would putting 12 people over in the 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. What's a little bit surprising about Apple under Tim Cook's leadership is that if you think back to five years ago when he first became CEO, he was this quiet southerner who had toiled in the shadow of one of the world's most famous men. And almost ironically, Cook has been the one who has really brought to the fore a consciousness about Apple being a good company. This will likely be one of the legacies of Tim Cook, and I think a surprising one. I don't subscribe to the all are good or all are bad. I think life is not simple like that. There are some that are good and some that are not. We put all of our ourselves into being a force for good. We see that as our role in life. That was the motivation behind creating Apple when it was created. It's still the motivation today. It's what drives us. [MUSIC PLAYING]