An example of someone I find trustworthy but not authoritative is Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. In a recent event at Apple’s new flagship store in Chicago, Cook spoke about the benefits of diversity and the culture/feel of Chicago — two areas that he has little experience in. First, although Cook praised diversity throughout the interview, he fails to properly advocate for that value on the job. Apple, like most large tech companies in Silicon Valley, is notoriously undiverse. Although I agree with Tim Cook that diversity is important, it means little coming from him because he has the power to do something about it but chooses not to. Similarly, his comments on the city itself may be true, but he lacks the authority to speak about. Cook was raised and educated in the South and forged his career in Silicon Valley, hundreds of miles away from Chicago. As a result, his comments on the city may be true, but they don’t mean much. He lacks the experience, and therefore the authority, that a Chicago native has when describing their city.
My second example is of someone whose authority I respect but I still don’t trust them. David Fouse recently wrote an op-ed in Fox News titled “The NFL Protests’ Hidden Lesson: Don’t Let Your Brand Get Hijacked By Politics.” Fouse himself has the authority to speak on the issue — he has two degrees, including one from the University of Virginia, and has worked as a consultant at KPMG and as a partner at a public relations firm. Additionally, he’s been following the NFL for years. However, I don’t trust him because I disagree with the conclusions he draws. To me, tackling racism is a question of morality, not an organization’s bottom-line. When he comes out against NFL players’ protests, to me that indicates that he places ‘rules and traditions for the sake of rules and traditions’ over the lives of actual people. This makes me question his moral judgement, and as a result, it makes me doubt the conclusions he draws.