He was possessed with perfection to a point. Some of the most gratifying moments for me were when I’d notice (once viewing on the 36 foot screens) a single pixel I could l still fix on an image. When he’d say, “Wayne, you’re the only one who’ll ever notice.” Then I knew I was done with that image.
Here’s another example as it related to a product:
During iPad launch preparation, we were struggling to get the iPad “beauty shots” to look like Steve imagined they should look. We’d had multiple photo shoots and teams working literally to get one or two insanely great images of the iPad. He wanted a beauty shot with a clean edge and the Apple logo visible the right side up. The problem was this was not possible without seeing the long side iPad 30-pin connector. You may ask, there’s only one on the short side. At that point there were two, one on each side. That way you could dock it in landscape or portrait orientation.
I had thought he was satisfied with the beauty shots delivered since we’d moved on in the slide deck. But one night close to the keynote date, he decided he wasn’t happy with those beauty shots of the iPad. I was tired and knew that there was no way to make them any better.
So, that evening before shutting down for the night, I photoshopped out the port on the long side on a few of the shots and sent them off to him. I figured he’d see them in the morning and we’d have a good laugh about it. Instead he almost immediately called me as said, “These are exactly what I was looking for… oh you didn’t?” To which I replied, “I did” and the phone went click.
There was no way to get a beauty shot that Steve would accept with that port on the side, so the iPad shipped without it. It also simplified the presentation, which he liked.