Details. Details. Details. DETAILS.

I believe that one of the (few) defining characteristics of successful* people is their attention to detail. By observing more closely, by seeing more than just the initial observation, one has more information to work with, to analyse and to draw conclusions from.

I’ve posted this story in support of this statement, and while it is focused on the success of Apple, I’d argue that it scales to other (non-business) areas too.

*Success in the context of this sentence can be taken to mean in different areas, including but not limited to: financial, sport, relationship, spiritual.

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…The message left was from Steve Jobs. “Vic, can you call me at home? I have something urgent to discuss” it said.

“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…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.

via Vic Gundotra, Google’s VP of Engineering, Google+

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