Last Tuesday's "Let's Talk iPhone" Apple event was the first time that Apple CEO Tim Cook had the opportunity to run the show for a major product introduction. In the past, of course, most Apple product announcements were "Stevenotes," with the late CEO Steve Jobs wowing the audiences with whatever new products were coming out of Cupertino. Nick Wingfield of the New York Times discussed Cook's different presentation style in a post on the Bits blog.
Wingfield noted that Cook left the demonstrations of new products to his colleagues, in particular Eddy Cue, Scott Forstall, and Phil Schiller. He quotes Van Baker, a Gartner analyst, as saying that Cook was smart to avoid being like Steve Jobs: "I think one of the things Tim did was to, in essence, put a stake in the ground and say 'I'm not Steve, don't expect me to be Steve.'"
As Wingfield says, the number of iPhone 4S units presold during the first 24 hours of availability seems to show that it doesn't make much of a difference who is telling Apple's story. But former Mac evangelist and current venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki appeared to criticize Cook's style in a Sunday blog post, notes Wingfield. In his post titled "What I Learned From Steve Jobs," Kawasaki wrote that "Real CEOs demo." What's Kawasaki's objection to letting the product guys handle the product show and tell? "Maybe it's to show that there's a team effort in play. Maybe. It's more likely [if the CEO doesn't demo the product] that the CEO doesn't understand what his/her company is making well enough to explain it. How pathetic is that?"
I'm hoping that Kawasaki was not singling out Cook with this comment, and would hope that he'd point out Cook's positives with two of the other bullet points in his post: "A players hire A+ players" and "Real CEOs ship." What are your thoughts on Cook's presentation style and the comments from Guy Kawasaki? Leave your comments below.