Google Senior VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra took to his Google+ profile to reflect on his time working with Steve Jobs on the occasion of his departure from Apple. And the story Gundotra chose to share, about the day he got a phone call from Steve Jobs on a Sunday morning, is destined to become one of those all-time classic tech anecdotes.
As the story goes, Gundotra was responsible for all of Google's mobile applications at the time, which meant regular contact with Steve Jobs. But he had never called on a Sunday morning before, and Gundotra was in religious services. He called Jobs back as soon as he could:
"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?"
The next day, Gundotra received an e-mail with the subject header "Icon Ambulance," directing him to work with Apple's Greg Christie to fix the icon.
Gundotra now heads up all of Google's developer and mobile initiatives, and is currently best known as the mastermind behind the Google+ social network. But he says he never forgot that call.
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.
To one of the greatest leaders I've ever met, my prayers and hopes are with you Steve.
This story's been making the rounds - Gundotra has garnered +15572 on that Google+ post at the time of writing (with 8000 shares), and it's earned a front-page appearance on Reddit with almost 1400 upvotes. Apparently, Gundotra isn't the only one who appreciates Jobs' eye for detail.