You know him as the man who made the turtleneck cool. You even know him as the Apple legend. But, there are those who know him as a visionary who was always way ahead of the game.
We all know him as Steve Jobs.
While Steve Jobs’ name is synonymous with everything that is Apple awesomeness, there’s actually another company that bears this man’s unsurpassable hand print. It’s also a company well known for polished, revolutionary products that successfully meld art and technology.
That company is none other than Pixar.
There’s never quite been a movie studio with an unbroken winning streak of box office hits like Pixar. From the well-loved Toy Story installments to Ratatouille, Cars, and everyone’s favorite clown fish in Finding Nemo, Pixar’s animation magicians have won over the family movie industry. And, it’s made billions of dollars along the way.
None of this would ever have happened without Apple’s wizard, Steve Jobs.
Pixar – Where Visionaries and Magic Collide
While Steve Jobs is most well known as the CEO of Apple, he actually played a rather big role in turning Pixar into the multi-billion-dollar success it is today.
Did you know that Steve was ousted from Apple in 1985? Well, it was a blessing in disguise both for him and Pixar, which was called Graphics Group at that time. That’s when Jobs bought the company from Lucasfilm for a cool $5 million, instantly rendering him the company’s biggest shareholder, not to mention CEO, right up until Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion 21 years later.
According to authors Rick Tetzeli and Brent Schlender, Pixar provided Steve with years of “uncomplicated highs.”
Pixar and Jobs – the Early Days
Interestingly, Pixar started out as Lucasfilm, a division of George Lucas’ company. The company mostly worked on developing imaging technology. But, some team members were far more interested in creating animations than creating machines, and Lucasfilm quickly lost interest in its initial goals.
It was in 1985 that Lucasfilm almost sold its defunct division to Electronic Data, a partnership of General Motors and Philips Electronics. It was merely a boardroom argument between GM board member and EDS founder, Ross Perot that put dampers on the deal.
And then came Steve Jobs.
Along with his $5 million, Steve Jobs officially bought Pixar in January 1986, setting in motion a chain of events that would see Pixar create some of the most-loved films and the result of Disney’s massive buy-out in 2006.
In 1997, though, Steve Jobs reclaimed his rightful role as CEO at Apple, but he managed, they say, to balance his work at Pixar while still successfully running Apple. In fact, Jobs tried to make it into Pixar’s offices weekly to keep on top of things.
Sure, he wasn’t a filmmaker, but it’s reported that the creative team at Pixar found Steve’s ability to articulate both the pros and cons of different films as they were created immensely valuable to the entire movie making process.
A Visionary Wins Over the Film Industry
Jobs has been described by those in the film industry as an accidental visionary. At first, he is said to have bought the company because he was fascinated by the business’s computer technology (makes sense!).
But, he was quickly won over by John Lasseter’s passion for animation. Lasseter, it’s said, wanted to build an amination studio and his vision, coupled with Jobs’ genius and his ability to put his original idea of being a computer company owner aside, turned Pixar into the immensely artistic success it remains today.
Everything He Touched Turned to Gold
So, while Steve Jobs held the title of CEO at both Pixar and Apple, he left his second-in-commands, Lasseter and Ed Catmull to run the show at Pixar.
Yet, it could well be that Steve’s general approach to seeing things through and his solid insistence on waiting until something really was “just right” to be released, that gave Catmull and Lasseter the confidence to put in the blood, sweat, and time to make so many, if not all, of Pixar’s films as brilliant as they are.
There’s no denying that all that Steve Jobs touched turned to gold, and his time as CEO at Pixar was no exception.
Do you and your family have a favorite Pixar film?
See my latest videos on YouTube.com/crazynate. Thanks for reading along with me, and I hope you have a great rest of your day. Remember, share a smile, they are contagious.