appleinsider logo
Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

In MIT speech, Tim Cook says Apple offered him a 'higher purpose'

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday delivered the 2017 commencement address for students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in which he claimed that joining Apple gave him fundamental meaning in his life.

"I tried meditation. I sought guidance and religion. I read great philosophers and authors. In a moment of youthful indiscretion, I might even have experimented with a Windows PC. And obviously that didn't work," Cook said about his time before Apple. Prior to being recruited by Steve Jobs in 1998, Cook worked at two major PC companies, IBM and Compaq.

Cook said that after Jobs brought him onboard, he "finally felt aligned" with a company that "brought together challenging, cutting edge work with a higher purpose," as well as "a leader who believed that technology which didn't exist yet could reinvent tomorrow's world." He also credited the work with satisfying a personal need to "serve something greater."

"I was never going to find my purpose working some place without a clear sense of purpose of its own," Cook added. "Steve and Apple freed me to throw myself into the work and embrace their mission and make it my own. How can I serve humanity? This is life's biggest and most important question."

The executive lastly suggested that if graduates pursue a similar path, humanity has an optimistic outlook.

"Always remember there is no idea bigger than this: as Dr. Martin Luther King said, we are all bound together in a single garment of destiny. If you keep that idea at the forefront of all that you do, if you choose to live your lives at that intersection between technology and the people it serves, if you strive to create the best, give the best, and do the best for everyone — not just for some — then today all of humanity has good cause for hope."

Cook toured the MIT campus on Thursday, meeting students and faculty. A number of Apple workers are MIT graduates.

The CEO has delivered other commencement speeches in the past, reaching as far back as his start with Apple as senior VP of worldwide operations.