He'd been battling pancreatic cancer for at least five years, and he knew that his time was likely running out. In fact, he was about to take a six month leave of absence to focus on his health issues, and appoint Tim Cook as acting CEO. But at the same time, Apple was enjoying a renaissance. The iPhone was less than two years old, and the App Store had been going gangbusters. The company's stock price was at the start of a climb that would continue almost uninterrupted for nine years.
Shoemaker was in charge of the app approval process. He'd only been on the job for three weeks in fact, and the volume of submissions was skyrocketing. The whole process for approving apps was a work in progress, and it was inevitable there would be some mistakes,. And as he explained this week in a podcast, approving an app called " Baby Shaker " was a mistake indeed.
The app was innocuous enough and anachronistic enough, given what apps are like now to begin with. It showed a drawing of a baby, and when the baby cried, the user was supposed to rock the iPhone back and forth gently. But if the user shook the iPhone, the baby photo would get giant red X's over its eyes, as if it were dead, and the app would display a message: "Never shake a baby!
It should never have got approved. It got approved on a Monday or a Tuesday, and we announced record earnings All these amazing numbers, and the stock went down. Then, Shoemaker continued, he got a call. The ID on his phone indicated it was Steve Jobs's office:. You might imagine this would have been the end of Shoemaker working for Apple. But he had the opposite reaction, even though the truth was that he'd inherited the people who made the mistake on his team. I understood his gist. I didn't hire the people that reviewed it.
I didn't review it myself.
But I got it. I don't think most of us would react so well to our boss calling and saying something like this and hanging up. And I don't think most of us as bosses could get away with it. But in Jobs's unique situation, I think it was a brilliant demonstration of leadership. Dakota Cassidy. Marshmallow S'More Murder. Leslie Langtry. Venetian Moon. Perish by Pedicure. Nancy J. Sleuthing for a Living. Jennifer L. Motion for Murder. Kelly Rey. Julie Moffett.
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