Comfort To Chaos

“In 1998 Steve Jobs convinced me to leave Compaq to join a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy.”

It’s the time for commencement speeches, offering graduates all kinds of advice on how to venture forth in the world, diplomas in hand. At his commencement address at Tulane, Tim Cook shared the story of how he decided to take a big risk, walking away from then-thriving Compaq for a company few expected would rise again.  What led Cook to take this risk? Not the lure of the products Apple was then trying to sell or the ones to come. It was “about the values that brought the inventions to life.”

At the time, Cook, a Compaq VP, had turned down recruiters’ offers to join the near-bankrupt Apple quite a few times. Eventually he decided he ought to at least talk to its CEO. As Cook reports, Steve Jobs shared his vision that Apple “can build things that help us imagine a better world and then make it real.” This powerful idea, no doubt presented by Jobs with passion, energy, and a clear vision of the future he had in mind, captured Cook’s imagination, causing him to take the leap from comfort to chaos.

We all know how this turned out.

There are several powerful messages in this story for both recent grads and business leaders many years removed from commencement. Learn them well.










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