Pixar President: 'Steve Jobs Changed Pixar Even as Pixar Changed Him'

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Steve Jobs is best known as the co-founder of Apple and the man who spurred the company to greatness, but he also co-founded Pixar Animation Studios, another company that's both highly successful and widely admired for the quality animated movies that it produces.

    In a new book that's slated to be released next week, Pixar president and co-founder Ed Catmull gives an inside look at Pixar and what made the company so successful. An early excerpt describing Steve Jobs and his influence on the company has been published at Gizmodo, giving an inside look at Jobs' later years.

    Though Jobs is often described as obsessed with perfection and relentlessly tough on his employees, Catmull notes that he underwent a significant transformation as he matured, becoming sensitive to other people's feelings and their "value as contributors to the creative process" during his last two decades of life.

    Catmull attributes some of that personality shift to Jobs' experiences at Pixar, a company that he was particularly proud of because of the lasting impact its films had on the world. Jobs believed that movies endure because they "dig for deeper truths" and later in life, he fully embraced the "nobility of entertaining people."
    During Pixar's early years, Jobs is described as the company's benefactor, later becoming a "protector" who gave constructive criticism within the company but defended it to the outside world. As a side project, Pixar was a "place [Jobs] could relax and play a little," which changed him for the better, according to Catmull.
    Jobs was able to diagnose problems at Pixar with "startling efficiency," focusing on the problem itself and not the filmmakers. As he spent more time at the company, he became "more articulate and observant of people's feelings."
    Catmull's Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration is currently available for preorder on Amazon.com and will be released on April 8. The full excerpt on Steve Jobs' role at Pixar is well worth reading and can be found over at Gizmodo.

    Article Link: Pixar President: 'Steve Jobs Changed Pixar Even as Pixar Changed Him'
  2. ashwin4 macrumors member


    Aug 15, 2013
    In the midst of it
    "We believe it’s the biggest advance in animation since Walt Disney started it all with the release of Snow White 50 years ago."
    -Steve Jobs.
  3. brianvictor7 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 24, 2013
    Midwest, US
    "While he never lost his intensity, we watched him develop the ability to listen. More and more, he could express empathy and caring and patience. He became truly wise. The change in him was real, and it was deep."

    This is nice to know. Jobs had earned a reputation for being absolutely horrible to many people. It should serve as inpsiration for anyone aspiring to be better than they are.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have to say based on interviews that Steve made and what I've read, I'd agree that he took on a softer tone thanks to Pixar. Not to say he was an easy person to work for, but by all reports he wasn't as bad when he started Apple
  5. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2011
    As much of a Steve Jobs fan as I am, I'm actually surprised to read that Steve Jobs actually had feelings.

    Considering where Jobs was in his life when bought Pixar, I'm also inclined to think that it wasn't just Pixar that changed him but could starting a family have anything to do with it?
  6. sfwalter macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Dallas Texas
    I'm really looking forward to reading this book. Scratch that really looking forward to having this book read to me via audible.com.
  7. gugy macrumors 68030

    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    Yep, I want to read it but I will wait until gets to my public library. Not spend more money on Jobs biographies.
  8. needfx macrumors 68040


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
    Inside Pixar will definitely be an interesting read
  9. FriednTested macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2014
    Reminds me I am still to finish Isaacson's biography... Darn I am so out of the reading habit...!
  10. Will do good macrumors 6502a

    Will do good

    Mar 24, 2010
  11. gumblecosby macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2010
    The Pixar Story is well worth a watch if you want to see how Steve jobs influenced Pixar. Its also fascinating if you're interested in the other great people who have worked there.
  12. citysnaps macrumors 68020

    Oct 10, 2011
    San Francisco
    The book is not a Jobs biography.
  13. Millah macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2008
    Also getting fired from the company he founded I'm sure humbled him just a little. Doing some soul searching. I wouldnt say Pixar exclusively changed him.
  14. gugy macrumors 68030

    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    nope is not but for sure will talk quite a bit about his time there and influence on the company culture. So Jobs overload.
    It's all good since I enjoy reading about him.
  15. TXCherokee macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2012
    Jobs "...used to say regularly that as brilliant as Apple products were, eventually they all ended up in landfills."

    However, as brilliant as Pixar products were, eventually they all ended up on iTunes.
  16. SPUY767 macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2003
    Pixar used to be renowned for the quality of its movies. Since Disney bought it, and all of the original Pixar stuff got out of the pipeline, they've just been milking Pixar IP for sequels and will probably run it into the ground eventually.
  17. rdlink macrumors 68040


    Nov 10, 2007
    Out of the Reach of the FBI

    And this is the simplistic view that I think so many people fall victim to when it comes to SJ. I'm not calling you simplistic, but the viewpoint that he "didn't have feelings" because he was such a SOB at times is too simplistic, IMO.

    I believe that SJ was an incredibly passionate person, and it was that passion, and sensitivity that drove him, and affected him so much. What many people don't realize is that some of the most sensitive people in the world can also be some of the most difficult and harsh people to deal with.

    I find a lot of credibility in Catmull's statements, and I believe it shows a tremendous example of a passionate person evolving to better adapt to the world around them, while still not compromising their passion. SJ himself was even quoted as saying that his experiences between his first and second stint at Apple changed him in a manner that better prepared him for success on the second go around.
  18. jm001 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2011
    Maybe he's one of those types that saw Apple one way (all business and personal - it was him and Woz that started it all) and Pixar another (the arts and more of a hobby) and acted accordingly. That way he took on more of a Jekyl and Hyde nature between the two companies.
  19. macs4nw macrumors 68040


    Totally agree with that, and I was thinking the same thing. In retrospect, with Steve's amazing combination of attributes, it's only natural things unfolded the way they did, and I'm not talking about losing the CEO job at Apple.

    It's also great to read positive things about him for a change, from people who worked with him so closely, rather than all the harping from the past about his tantrums and humiliating scoldings; as unpleasant as those may have been for the recipients, they also had a large part in taking the company to where it is today.

    Steve didn't suffer failure gladly, and there was no room for mediocrity in his 'Apple'. And mainly because of his laser-sharp focus and his unwavering expectations for perfection, are we even now, still able to enjoy those functional and alluring products, we have come to take for granted.

    Wherever you are Steve, thanks again!!
  20. gugy macrumors 68030

    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    I hope not but I see your point.
  21. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    As far as I know he never lost the CEO job at Apple.
  22. macs4nw, Apr 4, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014

    macs4nw macrumors 68040


    Alright then, maybe I should have said "demoted to a diminished role" by the board, but somehow I believe you got the gist of my post…..but wanted to pick an argument. You clearly won. :eek: :cool:
  23. osaga macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    He most likely mellowed out at pixar because he was out of his element, not because he changed. Writing scripts and making animation don't strike me as his strong suits, he'd have to listen to others. Predicting the future, marketing, aesthetics, understanding customers, business strategy, seeing the forest through the trees when no one else could, those were his convictions.
  24. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    I wasn't trying to argue - even at the point when Jobs was "demoted to a diminished role", he wasn't CEO at the time, John Sculley was.
  25. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    We know SJ had feelings. He cried a lot (according to the biography), got angry a lot, laughed a lot. Those are all feelings.

    Not caring about someone else's feelings is not the same as not having them yourself ;)

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