As has been widely reported, Steve Jobs recently stepped down from his CEO position at Apple.
Jobs is not only the co-founder of one of the most successful businesses in history, he is an unconventional leader who follows his instincts, demands excellence, and rather than following trends, he pioneers them.
Even though Jobs’s management style stands apart from many other entertainment industry executives, his innovations have nevertheless been deeply intertwined with the Hollywood business community.
One notable piece of Jobs’s Hollywood background is the time back in 1986 when he purchased a company, The Graphics Group, from a division of Lucasfilm for $10 million. The company underwent a name change and became Pixar. After years of failure as a specialty computer firm, a deal was worked out with Disney to produce some computer-animated films.
The first flick, “Toy Story,” the computer-animated Pixar film of 1995, was a financial and critically acclaimed winner. Jobs is credited in the movie as an executive producer.
Pixar became a powerhouse of quality feature films under the direction of an additional creative visionary, John Lasseter, with titles that include “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Cars,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL-E,” “Up,” and “Toy Story 2” and “3.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences actually came up with a new award for Pixar’s high quality content, the Best Animated Feature. “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL-E,” “Up,” and “Toy Story 3” all brought Oscars to Jobs’s company.
Jobs had an unfortunate falling out with then-Disney chief Michael Eisner. But when Bob Iger replaced Eisner, the top exec worked out a purchase of Pixar by Disney for an estimated $7.4 billion, making Jobs the largest single shareholder of a Hollywood institution.
Jobs joined the Mouse House’s board of directors and stayed active in guiding Disney and Pixar’s animation decisions.
Jobs’s coaching style is reminiscent of the best leadership in the sports world. It is not surprising that, at the 2007 Macworld, the icon would use a sports legend to summarize his winning approach.
“There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love,” Jobs said. “’I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very very beginning. And we always will.”