On Saturday, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was recently acclaimed as an even better leader than the legendary Steve Jobs, carved out a morning from his very busy schedule to deliver a commencement speech for the 2019 graduates of Tulane University in New Orleans.
Back in February, when Tulane confirmed Cook as its commencement speaker for this year, the university’s president Mike Fitts touted that the Apple CEO, who enjoys the reputation as one of the world’s most workaholic bosses, “represents the kind of success we hope all of our graduates can attain.”
But as soon as Cook stepped up to the podium on Saturday, his message to Tulane’s graduates became the very opposite of what was expected of him—instead of presenting himself as a role model for the young graduates in the audience, Cook encouraged them to challenge older generations’ successes and to find their own.
“In some important ways, my generation has failed you,” Cook said. “We spent too much time debating, too focused on the fight and not enough on progress.”
“You don’t need to look far to find an example of that failure,” he continued, pointing to an example that no one understands better than those living in the natural disaster-dogged New Orleans: climate change.