Jobs Made Google Change Their App Logo Because They Didn’t Use The Right Shade of Yellow



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.

Gundotra continues:

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.

  • Tristan Gonzaga Chua

    there will not be another steve jobs, at least for the nxt thousand years!!!

  • Saj

    Thats attention to detail and whats needed if you want to make it big. True perfectionist.

  • Christian Orense

    beautiful.very beautiful.

  • John Neumann

    I actually understand this. As a designer, one rule of thumb is that yellow, especially yellow letters will disappear when placed directly over a white background. A personal peeve of mine. 

  • Matt Saunders

    Interesting, but I’d have told him to take a run and jump…

  • theguycalledtom

    Where did the coloured Google logo appear on the iPhone?  In the maps app?

  • guest

    That’s right matt, because you are the man and no one fucks with you!

  • matthewdlyons

    Interesting. I have to say, though, that the headline doesn’t fairly characterize the point of the story. It’s about the attention to detail. The fact that it was Google seems secondary, if not irrelevant. If anything, the exchange points out the respect people have for Jobs’ leadership, even with competitors.

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  • JayeDee369

    That’s a good story, I’m posting this in my job board at work-maybe some managers and directors will take heed to it. The little things are what make our lives better and if more people dealt with the little things, then the big things wouldn’t be so over whelming.

  • Gheedsgreed

    Vic Gundotra is awesome

  • Wayne Roth

    it was driving me nuts too, it was too golden, not yellow-y enough.

  • LukealiciousX

    “…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:”- That makes me feel good inside