Tim Versus Zuck

I feel like this is painfully obvious to say, but I don’t remember actually reading it anywhere:

There’s a reason why Apple is fundamentally about privacy, and it’s because of Tim Cook.

At a very personal level, I think Tim Cook really understands what privacy means. I’m basing this on my own experience growing up gay in the South. I knew pretty early on that coming out wasn’t going to be easy, and having the abiltiy to control that experience was vitally important. My guess is that Tim Cook had a similar experience, and a lot of his product decisions have reflected that.

Aside: There’s probably something here around Tim’s micro product decisions, which put a premium on privacy features, and his macro company decisions, like continuing to do business in China. My sense is he protects the individual choices, but not necessarily the societal choices.

In contrast, as an upper-middle class straight white male, Mark Zuckerburg has never really had to worry about privacy. There wasn’t much that he had to really keep secret. There’s never really been a part of his life that he couldn’t share. Facebook reflects that ability to live out in the open.

Where this should be talked about is in D&I training. This is why you want different experiences and viewpoints in the room when you’re developing product experiences. Although this is a nice story, I also wonder how much of this is because Apple is fundamentally a hardware company, and one that can charge a premium for a better product experience. Facebook, in contrast, is an advertising company. It will be interesting to see how Facebook Meta changes as it becomes more of a hardware company.