The late Steve Jobs is rightfully recognized as a tireless innovator with an unflinching vision of how his company, his products, and even his world should work. Most people associate that vision with the computer maker that Jobs co-founded, Apple, but he had nearly as much influence over his other major business success — Pixar.
Steve Jobs owned Pixar for 20 years, from the moment it ceased to be a division of George Lucas's cinematic empire until the day Pixar was bought out by the Walt Disney Company.
(In the process, Jobs actually acquired more shares of Disney than he owned of Apple, and his 138 million Disney shares were worth about seven times more than his 5.4 million Apple slices. Jobs died the single largest shareholder of Disney stock.)
During Jobs's tenure at the helm, Pixar became indisputably the premier computer animation house on earth, and arguably the most successful animation studio — computer or otherwise — in the world.
Perhaps the reason Jobs doesn't get as much credit for his success at the head of Pixar is that, for all his business acumen, it was the creative staff headed by John Lasseter that deserves as much if not more accolades for Pixar's animation domination. Having the likes of Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich around certainly didn't hurt, either.
Still, the most compelling reason for overlooking Jobs's role at Pixar is likely that, when Jobs bought Pixar, he had no intention of making it a major animation house. In fact, Jobs had an entirely different business plan in mind when he acquired Pixar in 1986.
WHAT WAS STEVE JOBS'S ORIGINAL BUSINESS PLAN FOR PIXAR?Get the answer.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.