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Tim Cook angrily rejects political proposal asking for profits-first policies


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vansmith

 
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Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
Witness the many non-profit corporations.
I think you just touched on something important - corporations are commonly divided into profit/non-profit because profit generation is the main determiner of what constitutes the goals for a corporation. In other words, profit is inextricably linked to what characterizes a corporation. That doesn't really have much to do with anything here other than that Apple very much falls into the "for profit" sector.

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Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
Apple has profit as a major part of its vision, but it isn't the sole goal, and I believe that was the message Tim Cook was trying to get accross.
Profit certainly is the sole goal though. While the company pursues other ventures, they're all done in the pursuit of generating products to sell for a profit. For example, building a new factory that is environmentally "green" is done so that the company grows and makes more money. Otherwise, why would you build a new factory? For example, Apple's Maiden data center may be very "green" (see here) but it was designed and built to help drive revenue growth and not as some exhibition for how Apple is environmentally conscious to the exclusion of financial growth. In other words, all parts of the corporate vision ultimately feed into the fiscal one.

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I have to disagree. If profit was the sole goal of Apple Corp, and thus the shared vision of the employees who implement that vision, it wouldn't be the marvelous profit engine it is.

Apple succeeds so wonderfully at making money because it was founded by, and continues to be staffed by, people whose only interest in life isn't money.

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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vansmith

 
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Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
If profit was the sole goal of Apple Corp [...] it wouldn't be the marvelous profit engine it is.
That's not how business works though . Businesses are profitable because they want to be so, not as the consequence of decisions that are made exclusive of choices designed to increase profit.

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Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
Apple succeeds so wonderfully at making money because it was founded by, and continues to be staffed by, people whose only interest in life isn't money.
Some people might be invested (excuse the word choice) in the company for non-financial reasons but the company is designed around the growth of revenue. If it wasn't, the profit margin wouldn't be considerably larger than other consumer electronic companies. For reference: Apple's profit margin is 21.28%, Samsung's is 13.32%, Sony's is 1.38% and HP's is 4.73% (to name a few). The company is run by people who, at the end of the day, do what they do as business people to make money. Are they driven by some passion? Sure but their role as executives at a business subordinate passion to profit (otherwise, Apple wouldn't be successful).

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Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
That's not how business works though . Businesses are profitable because they want to be so, not as the consequence of decisions that are made exclusive of choices designed to increase profit.
Businesses are (or rather, need to be) profitable because it's impossible to run at a loss indefinitely. Even non-profits / not-for-profits have to actually turn a profit regularly to stay operational. The difference in those is that all profits go back into the company, not investors.
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We may have to agree to disagree, but I think you are misreading what I am saying. I never said profit was not a motive, or even the major motive, it just isn't the only motive. None of us as individuals are totally one-sided, why would we expect that of groups.

I'll end with this question, do you truly believe Elon Musk is solely motivated by ROI?

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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vansmith

 
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Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
Businesses are (or rather, need to be) profitable because it's impossible to run at a loss indefinitely. Even non-profits / not-for-profits have to actually turn a profit regularly to stay operational. The difference in those is that all profits go back into the company, not investors.
Absolutely. And, as you mentioned, for profit corporations seek profit for the sake of profit, non-profit seek it for the purposes of fiscal solvency. Apple is very much the former in that it seeks profit for the sake of profit.

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Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
We may have to agree to disagree, but I think you are misreading what I am saying. I never said profit was not a motive, or even the major motive, it just isn't the only motive. None of us as individuals are totally one-sided, why would we expect that of groups.
I know you weren't saying that and I agree. Apple does a lot of work that doesn't have direct connections to profit production. That said (and this might be where we disagree), I think that everything Apple does is at a minimum indirectly driven by profit. Green initiatives? It buys them publicity for the sake of increasing positive corporate exposure.

If something is made public by a corporation, I have a hard time believing that the public disclosure wasn't strategic. This happens for all corporations and happens in really common ways. Take for example same-sex marriage (see here for a list for example): many that supported it showed their support through advertisements, perfect symbolism for how support for causes get tied back to the promotion of a product.

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I'll end with this question, do you truly believe Elon Musk is solely motivated by ROI?
At least partially. He wouldn't have sold off PayPal for ridiculous sums of money nor would he have made Tesla public if he wasn't. He also wouldn't be selling Tesla cars with a 32% profit margin (source). Does he do some interesting stuff that isn't motivated by profit? Sure but he does a substantial amount of for-profit work.

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I don't think we're that far apart.

Bottomline is what makes people (especially those who run corporations) get up in the morning. There are those who eat, sleep and drink dollars. And there are those to whom dollars are a counter and resource in the grand game.

Profit and success gives them the credential and resource to do that which truly stirs their juices. These are the sort that push the envelope of what is possible, and draw us into the future with their dreams.
Not those to whom dollars are an end unto themselves.

I am hopeful, based on Tim Cook's response, that he is at least partly of the first group, rather than solidly in the second (which I had initially feared).
If so, he may have the vision to keep Apple on track rather than sliding into the mediocrity of so many of our corporations.

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
If so, he may have the vision to keep Apple on track rather than sliding into the mediocrity of so many of our corporations.
It would certainly seem that he has adopted the Apple ethos which I think should allay any fears that the company is going to change drastically for the worse. While I don't think their vision is entirely unique (like any other company, they certainly adapt the practices of others to some extent), they are in a relatively small club when it comes to being environmentally conscious (and this report would suggest that the company is going to stand by this).

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Funny, i have always learned, in economics in college, and as an investor, that a publicly owned corporation's first responsibility is to make a profit!
Everything else comes in down the totem pole!
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Funny, i have always learned, in economics in college, and as an investor, that a publicly owned corporation's first responsibility is to make a profit!
Everything else comes in down the totem pole!
Don't think anyone has said anything different. Corporations that aren't profitable don't endure. But, corporations whose ONLY vision is the almighty dollar generally don't end up as profitable as those who desire and strive to excel beyond the strict bottom line.

Honestly, I'm getting a bit tired of rehashing this so I probably ought to just let it rest. But, I will give one more example, professional sports. Professional football is a HUGELY profitable business, and you can be sure that those who manage it strive to maximize profits.

Still, many if not most of those who manage and execute the business of football, also love the game of football, and desire to excel in it, as well as make a lot of money along the way. Teams, coaches, players, managers want to win games and championships because that is a path to great profit. But, they also want to win because they are human beings with multi-faceted outlooks on life like all of us.
People as individuals rarely make every decision for coldly logical reasons. Anyone who has worked long with people finds that groups of people together don't have that much better track record. And, for better or for worse corporations are groups of people run by individuals and groups of people, and decisions that affect the bottom line will be made by those same people the way they always have been.
Some will be well reasoned and calculated decisions in accordance with best business practices. Many more won't.

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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