This whole piece is such a biograpy treasure trove and one I’m filing under the “come back and read in a year” category.
I’m highlighting some of the snippets in particular that really resonated with me:
“This is going to allow people to watch video on our iPods, not just listen to music,” he said. “If we bring this product to market, will you put your television shows on it?” I said yes right away.
I love how Steve was testing Bob with this decision. Could this still work? Can this eager hungry new CEO walk the talk, with said bold decisions. The part that might not be immediately obvious here is that in this test, Steve too is opening up the kimono about the video iPods here.
The ease and the speed with which we got the deal done, combined with the fact that it showed an admiration for Apple and its products, blew Steve’s mind. He told me he’d never met anyone in the entertainment business who was willing to try something that might disrupt his own company’s business model. Steve responded to boldness. Among his many frustrations was a feeling that it was often too difficult to get anything done with Disney. Every agreement needed to be vetted and analyzed to within an inch of its life, and that’s not how he worked. I wanted him to understand that I didn’t work that way, either, that I was empowered to make a call, and that I was eager to figure out this future together, and to do so quickly.
A lesson to always remember for any successfull company. The irony here is that Steve functioned this way. A company the size of Apple (i presume) can’t. Yet Steve pulled it off with Apple. An individual can bring in change.
“Okay,” he said. “Well, I’ve got some cons.” He wrote the first with gusto: “Disney’s culture will destroy Pixar!” I couldn’t blame him for that. His experience with Disney so far hadn’t provided any evidence to the contrary. He went on, writing his cons in full sentences across the board. “Fixing Disney Animation will take too long and will burn John and Ed out in the process.” “There’s too much ill will and the healing will take years.” “Wall Street will hate it.” “Your board will never let you do it.” There were many more, but one in all cap letters, “DISTRACTION WILL KILL PIXAR’S CREATIVITY.”
Culture, individual contributor burnout, killing Creativity. I love how these were so important to Steve, more so than any other factor. Most companies like to talk about these things and mostly cause it worked for Apple. But such massive positive change can be brought about in a company when leaders a) understand these qualities and b) hold them up high.
Several members of the board were still opposed, but the moment the Pixar team started talking, everyone in the room was transfixed. They had no notes, no decks, no visual aids. They just talked
I’ve been interested in public speaking for quite sometime, and I’ve always believed this to be a mark of a truly engaging speaker. Another example of this is Ken Robinson’s talk on schools killing creativity.
Sadly this isn’t easy for technical talks but i’d love to see more keynote speakers at technical conferences adopte this style of just telling a genuine, honest, engaging story without needing slides to keep listener attention.
He spent about 10 seconds looking at it, then pushed it aside and said, “Is this one important to you? Do you really want it? Is it another Pixar?”
I love the trust here. This is an incredibly crazy reality shifting deal here that was made in the end by one genius trusting the instinct of another. This is especially noteworth given Steve hated comics.
He claimed to have never read a comic book in his life (“I hate them more than I hate video games,” he told me)
Sorry Steve, you missed out on a lot here.
It’s so important to have mentors and to constantly be learning from others. Seniority has nothing to do with it. Craftsmen are available everywhere.
I’ve been learning iOS development lately and i’m a newb. I’ve got some experience in the Android development side now and can hold my own. But it’s just so refreshing to go into something that you know very little but can learn. I understand mobile development so i have an advantage, but i have to be so careful to not think i know how stuff works already.
I’m willing to look foolish if it means, i’ll learn something. The best piece of advise i’ve picked up on.
Learning is the most important thing. Learning happens at different levels. Conviction is important
Thanks to the brother who shared this on his tweet stream.