August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs story...

A sort of answer to those who imagine that Apple's success is just a matter of "marketing."

The wrong yellow gradient:

Steve Jobs called up Google's Vic Gundotra on a Sunday morning to get an urgent fix for something they were working on, and Gundotra was gracious enough to share the story on Google+.
"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?"

Of course this was okay with me. A few minutes later on that Sunday I received an email from Steve with the subject "Icon Ambulance". The email directed me to work with Greg Christie to fix the icon....

You can see the offending icon at the link.

I can only think of a few comparable business leaders. Henry Ford was the same sort of obsessive perfectionist. And Walt Disney. (Terry recommended the book Walt Disney, by Neil Gabler, in a comment at my post on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Good book! I was astonished to discover that the ambitious 20,000 Leagues was the company's first live-action film made in the US. They had made a couple of films in Britain, including Treasure Island, to use money that was stuck there due to post-war currency controls.)

* Update: This also is an indicator of why Apple has always been lousy at anything network-ish. Networks of any kind are inherently messy and imperfect. They can never be gem-like objects. Apple's attempts with things like dot.mac and iDisk and Moblle.Me have been huge disappointments. I'm hoping that iCloud will break the jinx.

Posted by John Weidner at August 25, 2011 8:21 AM
Weblog by John Weidner