Tim Cook Explains ‘What Makes a Good Year for Apple’ in New Interview

In an exclusive new interview, CEO Tim Cook says that Apple is always focused on “products and people” over Wall Street expectations.

Speaking with Fast Company after the publication named Apple the world’s most innovative company, Cook speaks about the Cupertino company’s culture and various approaches that have led to such innovative products such as the iPhone X, AirPods, and HomePod.

Cook was first asked what makes a good year for Apple, and what the company focuses most on.

“Stock price is a result, not an achievement by itself,” he explains. “For me, it’s about products and people. Did we make the best product, and did we enrich people’s lives? If you’re doing both of those things–and obviously those things are incredibly connected because one leads to the other—then you have a good year.”

During his tenure as Apple CEO, Cook says he’s only had good years. “I’ve only had good years. No, seriously,” he said.

“Even when we were idling from a revenue point of view – it was like $6 billion every year – those were some incredibly good years because you could begin to feel the pipeline getting better, and you could see it internally. Externally, people couldn’t see that,” Cook continued.

Cook also spoke on the company’s newest addition to its roster, the HomePod smart speaker, dismissing any notions that the wireless device “follows” in the footsteps of the Amazon Echo.

“I wouldn’t say ‘follow,'” Cook told Fast Company writer Robert Safian. “I wouldn’t use that word because that implies we waited for somebody to see what they were doing. That’s actually not what’s happening. What’s happening if you look under the sheets, which we probably don’t let people do, is that we start projects years before they come out. You could take every one of our products–iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch–they weren’t the first, but they were the first modern one, right?”

The Apple CEO continued to explain that his company is “not in it for the money” with Apple Music, describing that the music streaming service is more about ensuring that artists are funded in order to have a “great creative community,” rather than pulling in a profit.

“Music is a service that we think our users want us to provide,” Cook says. “It’s a service that we worry about the humanity being drained out of. We worry about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world, instead of the art and craft.”

“You’re right, we’re not in it for the money,” Cook continues. “I think it’s important for artists. If we’re going to continue to have a great creative community, [artists] have to be funded.”

Tim Cook’s comments are similar to many he’s made in the past, and obviously the CEO is quite proud of the things Apple has accomplished over the years, but the full interview is still a worthwhile read for those interested in the company’s culture and philosophy.