Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011-36 - Icon Ambulance...

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.

~ Vic Gundotra


"A man's accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail."

~ John Foster Dulles


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011-35 - Practice makes winners...

Small things, repeated over and over again, are vastly more powerful and influential than big things done just once.
Truly successful people realize that meaningful, lasting success does not, can not, come overnight. Great accomplishments are not one-time efforts, but rather the culmination of a long line of repeated efforts.
The gold-medal Olympic swimmer does not just show up at the competition and win the race. For years beforehand, she practices her start, her stroke, her turn, her breathing, fine-tuning each aspect to the nth degree. Often the race is won by mere hundredths of a second. Yet the effort needed to win that race is measured in years.
Success in any endeavour comes from consistent, determined, focused effort. The way to guarantee that you'll be at the right place at the right time, is to be at the right place ALL the time. Stay focused every day on the habits of success.

~ Ralph Marston

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

~ Aristotle


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011-34 - Make it count...

Today is special. When it is over, it will be gone forever. You only have one chance to make today a productive, important one.
Each moment is an golden opportunity for you. Each moment is a chance for you to learn, to grow, to create value, to produce wealth, to make a positive difference in your own life and the lives of other people.
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows. What you do today can change the world. Today is the key. If not today, then when?
What have you always wanted? What have you always dreamed of being, doing, or having? Today is your opportunity to go for it. Today is your day to take the first step, to take positive action, to take control of your life and your future.
Today is only here once. Use it while you have it. Make it count, make it special as only you can do.

~ Ralph Marston


"Spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday."

~ Brian Tracy


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2011-33 - Rescue at sea...

Years ago, in a small fishing village, a volunteer rescue team was formed to help in cases of emergency. One night the winds raged, the clouds burst and a gale force storm capsized a fishing boat at sea. Stranded and in trouble, the crew sent out an S.O.S. The captain of the rescue rowboat team sounded the alarm and the villagers assembled in the town square overlooking the bay. While the team fought their way through the wild waves, the villagers waited restlessly, holding lanterns to light the way back.
An hour later, the rescue boat reappeared and the cheering villagers ran to greet them. Falling exhausted on the sand, the volunteers reported that the rescue boat could not hold any more passengers and they had to leave one man behind. Even one more passenger would have capsized the rescue boat and all would have been lost.
Frantically, the captain called for another volunteer team to go after the lone survivor. Sixteen-year-old Hans stepped forward. His mother grabbed his arm, pleading, "Please don’t go. Your father died in a shipwreck 10 years ago and your older brother, Paul, has been lost at sea for three weeks. Hans, you are all I have left."
Hans replied, "Mother, I have to go. What if everyone said, 'I can't go, let someone else do it?' Mother, this time I have to do my duty. When the call for service comes, we all need to take our turn and do our part." Hans kissed his mother, joined the team and disappeared into the night.
Another hour passed, which seemed to Hans' mother like an eternity. Finally, the rescue boat darted through the fog with Hans standing up in the bow. Cupping his hands, the captain called, "Did you find the lost man?" Barely able to contain himself, Hans excitedly yelled back, "Yes, we found him. Tell my mother it’s my older brother, Paul!"

~ Author Unknown


"Duty is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less."

~ Robert E. Lee quotes


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011-32 - Common Ground...

Every person has a unique perspective. And yet, the things we all have in common are far more numerous than our differences.
Behind every difference of opinion, behind every disagreement, behind each conflict there is common ground. And that common ground can be the starting point for resolving the conflict.
Finding common ground does not mean giving in or forcing the other person to accept your point of view. Instead, it means discovering the areas in which you already share a similar perspective.
It is well worth the effort to find things upon which everyone can agree. For that sets the stage for true understanding.
Often, every person seeks the same ultimate outcome, and the disagreement is about the details of how to get there. Even when you are unable to agree, it is always possible to understand.
Seek to focus on that understanding, and work to find common ground. It is from that point that everyone involved can begin to create real value for all.
~ Ralph Marston

"Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery."
~ Joanne Kathleen Rowling