Who made Apple successful? America’s deification of the entrepreneur

Strictly speaking, Tim Cook is not an entrepreneur since he didn’t start Apple — he simply replaced the irreplaceable Steve Jobs. Since then, the company has increased in value by $350 billion.

Since Apple’s success has continued without Jobs, is this a reflection of the talent of the less charismatic Cook?

“Tim Cook has created as much value as Steve Jobs,” says a headline in Quartz above a photo of a triumphant Cook.

“How high can he go?” asks the caption.

Buried down in the report is a note of realism: “How much credit does a CEO deserve for the performance of his company?”

I guess Apple’s 98,000 employees deserve to share some of the credit alongside their new leader.

And then there are the people who actually make the products that Apple sells, but who don’t even get the honor or financials rewards of being Apple employees.

Apple doesn’t make anything. It simply designs products and unless those designs were transformed into physical devices by human hands and machines operated by people, the designs themselves would remain nothing more than wonderfully intricate dreams.

While Apple has come to embody the dream of American free market capitalism, the people who turned that dream into a reality aren’t American — they’re mostly Chinese — but from Apple and its admirers, they receive virtually no credit.

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