Apple CEO Tim Cook — Intuition, Preparation and Execution

 A living personification of the Auburn Creed

This blog post is all about pride. It begins with a speech by the most famous (non athlete), and perhaps the most successful alumnus of Auburn University since it was founded as the East Alabama Male College in 1856. And it ends with a stirring video of  Auburn’s marching band followed by the powerful Auburn Creed that was written in 1945, the year that I was born.

As for the pride. I am proud of Tim Cook, I am proud of Auburn University and I am proud to be an Auburn graduate. I am also thankful that I followed my “intuition” as Tim suggests in his speech and now find myself fully prepared for the most important career of my life. And it all began at Auburn University.

I graduated from Auburn in 1968 with a degree in Industrial Engineering after earning my way through school, working alternate quarters as a co-op student in industry — with the Southern Railway System in Washington, DC, and Atlanta. I later earned an MBA at the University of Hawaii while serving as an officer in the United States Coast Guard.

Tim followed me exactly fourteen years later; also studying Industrial Engineering, also working as a co-op student and later also earning an MBA at another university. Also like me, his career took a very different path than the one that he had envisioned back when he was an MBA student at Duke. And we can thank his trust in his own intuition for that.

As for the speech, it is a commencement address to the 2010 graduating class of Auburn University. As I listened to that 18-minutes speech for the first time this week, I felt a great deal of pride as I learned about this great man — and how he had prepared himself for the distinguished career that lay before him. While watching, even though I have never met him in person, I began feeling that I know this man, and that it made me proud to hear his wisdom, integrity and humility taking its rightful place on the global stage.

Ladies and Gentlemen — my fellow Auburn graduate — Mr. Tim Cook

Here’s what that great speech means to me — borrowing a few quotes from Tim:

As the Auburn Creed implies, success in life is not dependent on luck, but rather on work, hard work. Yet for the most important decisions in your life, trust your intuition to find what you love, then work with everything you have to prove it right. Intuition, relentless preparation and execution, that’s what Mr. Tim Cook is all about.

For a little more insight into this great man, here is the email that he sent to his team at Apple, upon assuming the CEO position when Steve retired in August.  (un-confirmed)

“Team: I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I’ve ever made and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve’s optimism for Apple’s bright future. Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees.

We are really looking forward to Steve’s ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman. I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.

I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is. Tim

With an apple gracing the cover of our book, maybe it will attract his attention.

As a fellow Industrial Engineering graduate, I know that Tim Cook knows a great deal about improving processes. I also know that he’s a “big picture guy” and I look forward to possibly working with him someday on my favorite “big picture” — the global feeding model of the human race. As for improving processes, I am confident that there has never been a greater process improvement opportunity in the history of the world.

Reputed to be a health fitness enthusiast and a believer in the Auburn Creed, I expect that Tim Cook will be sensitive to our mission of promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth — and he may even wish to take a key leadership role in our “great food revolution of the twenty-first century.” Now wouldn’t that be insanely great?

For another great speech by Tim’s former boss, Steve Jobs, click here for the video and the text version. Steve Jobs — 2005 Stanford Speech — Video and Print

Now how about a little Auburn music — from the SEC Championship game — December 2010 from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta — the Auburn University Marching Band.

When I first saw this video on YouTube, I noticed the first comment beneath it — and I had just been thinking the exact same thing.

“If this doesn’t give you chills, you need to find yourself  another team. War Eagle!


I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.

I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.

I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.

I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.

I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.

I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.

I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by “doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.”

And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.

-George Petrie (1945)

Both Auburn grads, J. Stanfield Hicks and J. Morris Hicks , working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

As for some of the “most famous” Auburn graduates mentioned earlier, Bo Jackson and Charles Barkley might give Tim a run for his money on that count — at least for now.

One more thing, thanks to my good friend, Tim Dunne, for inspiring this blog. If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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1 Response to Apple CEO Tim Cook — Intuition, Preparation and Execution

  1. Lonnie Wall says:

    The Auburn Creed – The quote is from Micah 6:8, and is similar to Deuteronomy 10:12 ” – – What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” – Thank you for sharing this with us.

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