Following Steve Jobs’ decision to step down from the position of Apple CEO yesterday, the internet is awash with reaction pieces and opinions from some of the industry’s biggest names. MacRumors points to a rather humorous anecdote from Google’s Vic Gundotra, in which he pays tribute to Steve’s meticulous attention to detail — which Gundotra believes every CEO should have.
Back in January, 2008, before Apple launched the App Store and the iPhone 3GS, Steve Jobs was preparing his Macworld San Francisco keynote where he would show off web apps for the iPhone and custom home screen bookmarks.
However, there was something Steve wasn’t happy about with Google’s web app, and so he called Gundotra while he was at church on a Sunday to talk about it:
“Hey Steve – this is Vic”, I said. “I’m sorry I didn’t answer your call earlier. I was in religious services, and the caller ID said unknown, so I didn’t pick up”.
Steve laughed. He said, “Vic, unless the Caller ID said ‘GOD’, you should never pick up during services”.
I laughed nervously. After all, while it was customary for Steve to call during the week upset about something, it was unusual for him to call me on Sunday and ask me to call his home. I wondered what was so important?
“So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I’ve already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow” said Steve. “I’ve been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I’m not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn’t have the right yellow gradient. It’s just wrong and I’m going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?”
It’s kind of funny that as the CEO of what is now one of the world’s largest companies, Steve still had time to worry about the littlest things. You and I probably wouldn’t have ever noticed that the second ‘O’ in the Google icon wasn’t the right gradient of yellow, but Steve did, and he made sure it was fixed.
But in the end, when I think about leadership, passion and attention to detail, I think back to the call I received from Steve Jobs on a Sunday morning in January. It was a lesson I’ll never forget. CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. On a Sunday.