Meeting Eddy Cue

Brendan Quinlan/ June 9, 2013/ 2013

Eddy Cue is Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services and is a member of Apple’s ten-person senior management team. He is a 24-year Apple Veteran and played a major role in creating the Apple online store in 1998, the iTunes Music Store in 2003 and the App Store in 2008. Today he oversees Apple’s content stores including the iTunes Store, the App Store and the iBookstore, as well as Siri, Maps, iAd and Apple’s iCloud services. He graduated from Duke University in 1986 with a bachelor’s Computer Science and Economics.

Between class with Matt Christensen, a talk by our program director Kimberly Jenkins, and a workshop on the power of networking, Friday (May 31) was already a long day for us. However, it was far from over. As we boarded the shuttle leaving Apple University at 3 pm, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement in the air. We were on our way to meet Eddy Cue in his office at a different Apple complex in Cupertino. As a huge Apple nerd myself, I was ecstatic to meet him. But first, we made a quick stop at The Company Store on Apple’s Infinite Loop office complex. After many of us picked up some apparel and other products, the shuttle made its way to the Results Way office complex. We were greeted by Cue’s secretary and were informed that he is waiting for us in his office. After a few minutes, she took us in.

Walking into Eddy Cue’s office, it is impossible not to notice that he is an avid Duke Basketball fan. My roommate, Michael Marion, recalls regularly seeing him at basketball games in Durham. His walls were full of pictures of the team. After asking us about our majors, he led us to a nearby conference room where we could all sit down.

One of the first points Cue talked about is the unique culture of Silicon Valley. “Here, people believe anything is possible”, said Cue. When he was a senior in college, the IBM PC had just came out, and he recalled that his goal in life was to get a job at IBM. It was not until later in his life that Cue had the thought that he could go out and do something totally new.

Another point Cue talked about is passion and not being afraid to explore new things.. Many people in the valley are often so passionate about what they do that it doesn’t really feel like a job to them. His advice to us after we go into the real world was to find something we are passionate about. While he started as a programmer at Apple, he soon explored other endeavors within the company. “I always relished the opportunity to go out and figure something new”, he said. Believing that he was smart enough to learn new things quickly was a key belief early-on in his career.

Cue also shared his opinions about the healthcare industry. He says most doctors today know how to treat the effects and symptoms of various diseases rather than their cause. He also compared medicine today, as advanced as it is, to the computer industry of the 1950’s. He believes that there’s a lot of room for innovation in the healthcare sector. Cue noted that one of the difficulties in advancing medicine is that everyone is different and responds to treatments differently. He imagined a future where doctors would be able to analyze their patients’ DNA in order to deliver customized treatment.

Finally, Cue discussed how he leads. He recalled always being able to lead others as a kid in sports and other settings by intuitively knowing what makes people tick. He says that to be a leader you have to like people because there will always be problems and issues you’ll have to deal with. Cue said that he likes being able to do more than he can do on his own by leading others. He also mentioned that, when you lead a large unit, the people you work with can either make you look really good or really bad.

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