One Sunday morning, January 6th, 2008 I was attending religious services when my cell phone vibrated. As discreetly as possible, I checked the phone and noticed that my phone said "Caller ID unknown". I choose to ignore.
After services, as I was walking to my car with my family, I checked my cell phone messages. The message left was from Steve Jobs. "Vic, can you call me at home? I have something urgent to discuss" it said.
Before I even reached my car, I called Steve Jobs back. I was responsible for all mobile applications at Google, and in that role, had regular dealings with Steve. It was one of the perks of the job.
"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?"
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.
Since I was 11 years old and fell in love with an Apple II, I have dozens of stories to tell about Apple products. They have been a part of my life for decades. Even when I worked for 15 years for Bill Gates at Microsoft, I had a huge admiration for Steve and what Apple had produced.
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.
As pointed out in that last thread about Carol Bartz, this is a turbulent year for tech CEOs:
-Eric Schmidt out as Google CEO
-Steve Jobs steps down as Apple CEO
-Carol Bartz fired as Yahoo CEO
One wonders what the impact will be on the output of these firms.
For Google, it's meant cutting down the number of products they offer dramatically and focusing on the growing ones, like Google+. In my opinion they killed some pretty amazing products, but sometimes you've got to take the tough decisions for long term growth.
For Apple, we might hope for "business as usual", given all the upcoming products have been in the pipeline for awhile. The real test comes next year, as new products are developed without Jobs' guidance. (How far along is the rumored Apple television?)
For Yahoo, it's hard to imagine a new CEO who could put them back on a growth path. The new leader may have to sell the company or at least some of its assets.
The Twitter Building, 795 Folsom, which Twitter will be phasing out of, sold along with 250 Brannan, 275 Brannan is on the chopping block, 301 Brannan will be sold which houses StumbleUpon, Hearsay Labs and formerly Slide, 144-156 2nd sold and fully leased in weeks, 875 Howard which is now fully leased with tech companies, 140 2nd will be sold, currently boasting Fwix and Topsy and formerly StumbleUpon and Formspring.
The tenants that live in these buildings are not your high credit, mature professional services companies. They are fledgling startups, high growth gaming companies, and some "teenagers" in tech. The world is watching and investing in our startups!
Does this heightened activity show signs of continued growth for technology, gaming and the general Bay Area market, or does this raise red flags of a bubble?
- HelloOfficeFounder and CEO, 2015 - present
- 42FloorsFounder, 2012 - 2015
- University of California, BerkeleyEconomics and Political Science, 2003 - 2008
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