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

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."

His experience with Pixar was part of this change. Steve aspired to create utilitarian things that also brought joy; it was his way of making the world a better place. That was part of why Pixar made him so proud—because he felt the world was better for the films we made. He used to say regularly that as brilliant as Apple products were, eventually they all ended up in landfills.

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.

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.

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."

Some people have said that he got mellower with age, but I don't think that's an adequate description of what happened; it sounds too passive, as if he just was letting more go. Steve's transformation was an active one. He continued to engage; he just changed the way he went about it.

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.

Top Rated Comments

ashwin4 Avatar
111 months ago
"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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sfwalter Avatar
111 months ago
I'm really looking forward to reading this book. Scratch that really looking forward to having this book read to me via audible.com.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SoAnyway Avatar
111 months ago
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?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brianvictor7 Avatar
111 months ago
"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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
needfx Avatar
111 months ago
Inside Pixar will definitely be an interesting read
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Millah Avatar
111 months ago
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?

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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...