I’ll never forget the first time I met Dean 5 1/2 years ago during my first week at Apple. Everyone was welcoming and helpful, but Dean stood apart in his enthusiasm when he approached me and said “hey Randy, I’m excited to meet you and really interested in getting to know you, let’s go to lunch” So little did I know that he would become my boss. And what a great one he was for those of us who were lucky enough to work for him.
There are many stories that we can tell about Dean, but I can’t pick just one. Because it’s not about any one story but rather my collection of experiences with him that truly defined his character for me. Because character is not what you do one time but character is built by what you do repeatedly that becomes a habit. Everyone has their good days and their bad days, but Dean made every day a great day not only for himself but for everyone around him.
Dean always used to say to his team “the view is worth the climb.” And to me two things stand out about Dean here.
First is that Dean elevated our team to climb to greater heights than we ever would have imagined. Dean’s drive and passion were infectious and really fueled our team. And that ability to inspire is what made Dean a great leader. He’d get so excited…I can’t tell you how many times we’ve have to have him slow down and rewind. He always put company goals first which meant he pushed to do the right thing for Apple even if it sometimes meant a little more work for himself or his own team. OK sometimes it was a lot more work and even on Sundays. Even after I moved on from his team last year we were still very close and we’d often lean on each other for advice. So at work I find myself asking “what would Dean do?”
Second but even more important to me was that Dean made that “climb” fun and motivating. We all looked at our product launches with great pride (and no one was prouder than Dean) but it’s how you get there that really matters. Apple can be a really challenging place to work, but Dean’s unending support and positive energy made it manageable and rewarding for all of us to make that climb together. For team building he even took us indoor skydiving and go-karting (of course the competitor in Dean had to beat all of us in go-karting).
Dean treated people with respect and had that Midas touch in communicating during the most difficult situations. And I speak not just for me but for everyone who worked with him. Even when he disagreed he’d say “sorry I don’t follow you Randy” or just give that look that said “come on you can do better than that”. We could always depend on him to be approachable and he made time for us whenever we needed it. When the team needed direction in China he would be up in the middle of the night to talk on the phone with us. He connected with everyone.
Dean loved his family more than anything in the world (the Sharks and Apple may have been close seconds), and he walked the walk as he was able to balance work and family far better than anyone I have ever known. But he understood that others have families too and was compassionate in how he managed his team. He trusted us to get our jobs done and he supported me to manage my own travel so that I could spend as many weekends at home with my family as possible. So he would encourage me take that Monday flight or try to get home on Friday if possible. Because Dean knew what a difference it makes to be able to spend those extra weekends with family.
It is sad that so many of the new folks at Apple will not get chance to know you, but I can guarantee they will learn a whole lot about you. We are all better off for knowing you as each of us will carry a piece of you in our hearts and minds as we move forward. Losing you is a tremendous loss, but I know that you want us to focus on remembering what you gave us rather than what we lost.
They say that nice guys finish last but, Dean Dupuy finished first in my book.
You were a great boss and mentor to me, but you were an even greater man. You will be missed. May you rest in peace.