THE boss of Apple revealed his top tip for starting up a business at an exclusive talk in Oxford last night.

Tim Cook also shared his secret method for coping with failure, which involves looking in a mirror.

The CEO of the world's largest technology company was speaking at Oxford University's new entrepreneurial hub the Oxford Foundry on Hythe Bridge Street.

The Oxford Times:

Mr Cook, who took over the top job at Apple following the death of founder Steve Jobs in 2011, was in conversation with Oxford University Dean Peter Tufano.

He started by telling Mr Tufano how he had realised shortly after graduating from Duke University, North Carolina, what the purpose of life was.

He said: "I realised... the purpose of life wasn't to love your job it was to serve humanity, and the outcome of that would mean you love your job."

The Oxford Times:

Speaking about Apple's astronomically popular products like the iPhone, iPad and iPod, he said: "You want to make something that you love and you can bet people out there will love it too.

"I get up at an ungodly hour because I like to go through customer emails: I like to be in touch with what they're saying."

Mr Tufano then asked Mr Cook to tell the students gathered at the talk his top piece of advice for a young entrepreneur starting out in the world.

The Oxford Times:

Mr Cook said: "If you're starting a business, if that's your goal, my recommendation is recruit the friends of yours who are not like you.

"If you're an engineer, get someone from the liberal arts; if you're from the UK make sure you get someone from the Middle East or China or America or wherever: find people who are different than you but where the common thread is that they want to change the world by creating the product or service that you also want.

"If you can find that group of people - that is the kernel for creating a successful business."

The Oxford Times:

Mr Tufano responded by saying: "Oxford is ideal for that because everyone here is a minority, it's a big melting pot."

He then asked Mr Cook for his best ways of being 'resilient' at times of great pressure and failure.

Mr Cook said: "I keep a voice in my ear saying 'this too shall pass,' and I have faith that it will.

The Oxford Times:

"There will be times that you will fail on a spectacular basis and I have little failures every day, but you have to have the faith that it will pass, and the only thing you have to do to remember that is look in the mirror and watch that person breath: it didn't kill you, you're not dead.

"I do that many times a day sometimes, and once you do that for a while you won't have to remind yourself any more you will take these failures and you won't call them failures anymore you will call them things you love."

One of the Dean's last questions to the Apple boss was where he found inspiration.

The Oxford Times:

Mr Cook said: "I look to heroes and I look to how our products are used: I like to meet the doctor who's using our products; with the musician who's using our products to make music; people who are using our products to heal; to teach.

"Last night I went to the Royal Academy and went from artist to artist to see how they were using our products - it's like unbelievable medicine."

Mr Cook also said that one person he had met who exceeded his expectations was the Pope.

He added: "My expectation was so high and he exceeded it.

"When you meet him there is a feeling that comes over you that is indescribable, meeting someone who is so pure and is so focused on improving lives."