Pixar president recalls a 'transformation' undergone by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2014
While Steve Jobs is famous for helping to turn Pixar into a legendary award winning animation studio, the experience of running Pixar also helped to change Jobs himself for the better, the studio's president reveals in a new book excerpt.


Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, and John Lasseter.


Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull talks about the relationship between Jobs and the studio in his upcoming book "Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration." An excerpt from the title was published on Friday by Gizmodo, and it reveals a side of Jobs that most people never saw.

Catmull worked with Jobs for more than 25 years, and believes that his time at Pixar helped to fundamentally change him as a person. Specifically, Catmull said the experience made him "more sensitive not only to other people's feelings but also to their value as contributors to the creative process."

The Pixar president revealed that Jobs was especially proud of the studio because its movies, which "dig for deeper truths," will live forever. Jobs was said to admit that even well-designed Apple products "eventually all ended up in landfills," but a well-made movie could live on.

"While he never lost his intensity, we watched him develop the ability to listen," Catmull said. "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."

Catmull also revealed that Jobs would give advice at Pixar in a humble fashion, noting up front that he was "not really a filmmaker" and that people could choose to "ignore everything" that he said. When Jobs's take was sought, he would focus on the problems rather than the filmmakers.

"You couldn't dismiss Steve," he said. "Every film he commented on benefited from his insight."




Those skills developed over the years, Catmull said, as the Apple co-founder learned to "read the room" and have the greatest impact on people. That's not to say that Jobs "mellowed" in his old age -- Catmull argues that the transformation of Jobs was an "active one."

"He continued to engage; he just changed the way he went about it," he said.

Catmull is the co-founder of Pixar, along with Jobs and John Lasseter. His new book "Creativity, Inc." will be released next Tuesday, and it is available now for preorder.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    irelandireland Posts: 17,413member

    Jobs' unique talents were undeniable, but although perhaps changed for the better his character flaws were also undeniable. I'm really glad I was alive at the same time as Jobs 'cause I got to witness a great innovator and businessman and got to use products that certainly wouldn't have existed without him. He no doubt influenced and changed the world of products, and to a certain extent our lives too. But by golly I know I never would have been able to worked for him. Maybe that's just me.

  • Reply 2 of 29
    Just preordered on iBooks... Looks like a good read.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    wigbywigby Posts: 680member
    I still wonder why Apple has never gotten into content creation. They provide all the tools and services artists need. And apparently Jobs really nurtured creativity at Pixar so I'm not sure what held them back then or now.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    Pixar is one of the greatest companies of the modern era.  I look forward to reading this book.

  • Reply 5 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post



    Just preordered on iBooks... Looks like a good read.



    I'm excited for the book. Less for the info on Jobs but more on how Pixar works. There was an excerpt a few weeks ago that talked about how the meetings run when the brain trust get together to give notes on the films in development

  • Reply 6 of 29
    my buddy's step-sister makes $64 an hour on the internet . She has been fired for five months but last month her income was $17714 just working on the internet for a few hours. visit............
    www.jobs39.com
  • Reply 7 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    . . . 

    Catmull worked with Jobs for more than 25 years, and believes that his time at Pixar helped to fundamentally change him as a person. Specifically, Catmull said the experience made him "more sensitive not only to other people's feelings but also to their value as contributors to the creative process."

    . . . 

    "While he never lost his intensity, we watched him develop the ability to listen," Catmull said. "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."

     

    All of this was completely missed by Isaacson.  Something similar from Jobs' NEXT years would be valuable too.  

  • Reply 8 of 29
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,466member
    wigby wrote: »
    I still wonder why Apple has never gotten into content creation. They provide all the tools and services artists need. And apparently Jobs really nurtured creativity at Pixar so I'm not sure what held them back then or now.

    Focus, I guess. Maybe after the new headquarters are up and running, and the Apple-esque data network is built out (as far as geosynchronous orbit, if necessary).

    They do need to find a way to make themselves better liked by the world at large, like Disney and Pixar. I have problems with both of those, however. So even better than them, I would say. They're going to have to hire a Shakespeare, a Tolstoy, maybe a Lao Tzu.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by eponymous View Post

     

     

    All of this was completely missed by Isaacson.  Something similar from Jobs' NEXT years would be valuable too.  


    I would love to read a well-researched book about NeXT.

  • Reply 10 of 29

    Ed Catmull gave the commencement address at my graduation. I really enjoyed what he had to say. I thought it was practical, applicable, and extremely interesting. I couldn't have wished for a better speaker-- and I am very excited to read this book.

  • Reply 11 of 29
    In other words, he learned how to become a more [I]effective[/I] jerk ;)

    I'm kidding.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    Does anyone else pronounce Gizmodo as [I]Jizz-modo[/I]? It seems appropriate sometimes. :)
  • Reply 13 of 29
    wigby wrote: »
    I still wonder why Apple has never gotten into content creation. They provide all the tools and services artists need. And apparently Jobs really nurtured creativity at Pixar so I'm not sure what held them back then or now.

    Focus?
  • Reply 14 of 29
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,031member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dave MacLachlan View Post

     

    I would love to read a well-researched book about NeXT.




     


    It wasn't that well researched, and very (very) negative (I threw the book away), but it contains information from that era:


    ISBN 0689121350 Steve Jobs & the NeXT Big Thing
  • Reply 15 of 29
    I would love to read a well-researched book about NeXT.

    What about The Second Coming of Steve Jobs by Alan Deutschman? It focuses on the wilderness years and the return to Apple.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    wigbywigby Posts: 680member

    Apple

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post





    Focus?

    Apple has always been able to focus on multiple things they are good at all at once including hardware, software, services and retail. And their competition doesn't seem to have too much difficulty at it either. When they dropped the "computer" from their name, they weren't sending a signal that they would just be focusing on a few consumer products for a decade. At least that's not the message I got at the time.

  • Reply 17 of 29
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,090member

    I'm hoping that reading this book will help me become better at understanding how to support others involved in the creative process, particularly those who are annoying! <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 18 of 29
    starbird73starbird73 Posts: 538member

    I agree. A fascinating company. Excited to learn more.

    I'm excited for the book. Less for the info on Jobs but more on how Pixar works. There was an excerpt a few weeks ago that talked about how the meetings run when the brain trust get together to give notes on the films in development
  • Reply 19 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Does anyone else pronounce Gizmodo as Jizz-modo? It seems appropriate sometimes. image

     

    Definitely.  

  • Reply 20 of 29
    satch99satch99 Posts: 16member
    Having been at ILM, I applied and was a more-expensive runner up for a Prod. Mgr. job on Monsters, Inc. %u2026 they went with another guy from LA.

    That would have been as amazing as being at ILM!
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