Saturday, January 22, 2011

Job's Companies

I just listened to Business Week's podcast on Apple without Jobs. What surprised me is they didn't look at the history of the company Jobs did walk away from. Like Apple that company had a long string of hits. It was a late to its industry and set an impossibly high bar for the rest of the industry. Of course I am talking about Pixar.

Pixar was a division of Lucasfilm, and George was going to shut it down if the division leader didn't find a buyer. In 1986 Steve Jobs bought the division from Lucasfilms for $10 Million.

When Jobs became CEO of Apple in 1997 he began slowly stepping away from Pixar. During those 9 years Steve was focusing more and more on Apple, even though his wealth growth was coming from Pixar. It wasn't until 9 years later in 2006 that Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 Billion.

I don't doubt that Jobs was involved in any and all negotiations between Disney and Pixar. But you don't have to be the "mythical Jobs" to be good at negotiation. Pixar has proven that it can keep making hits with Jobs gone or focused on Apple. Pixar's worst movies still hold their own against the best from competing studios. Using Pixar as an example it is possible for Apple to keep making hits after Jobs retires.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Blogs - How many should you have?

I just got through watching Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talk on Creativity. During the day I find thoughts flit through my mind that I want to expand upon. The trouble is that I almost never have a notepad or computer with me at the moment to capture them. Or perhaps I lack the discipline to capture the outline without going through the details or job flexibility to devote an hour or 2 to and idea when it strikes me. (That's the great thing about twitter, you only have to produce one short sentence.) Either way, my creativity wants an outlet and so I plan to restart blogging again.

The prevailing school of thought on blogs and twitter accounts is that they should stick to one topic. I have a wide range of topics I'm interested in writing about, and would like to find a way to manage all of that in as small a number of blogs as possible. The list of general subjects would look something like the following:

  • Computer Science and Information Technology - This is my profession and educational back ground. Today I was thinking about writing about problems that can be solved by buying more hardware and those that have to be solved with better software, and how the non-computer-scientist (management) could learn to tell the difference.

  • Technical solutions to problems in Computer Science and Information Technology - A place to put solutions I have found that I couldn't find easily elsewhere.

  • iPhone development - Like above but specific to iPhones

  • Music, Audio, and Classic Speakers - I love music. I have the affliction of being an audiophile. I collect classic speakers and occasionally build my own. If you have never sat in the dark and listen to music you loved, do yourself a favor and do it tonight. I'm serious find some music that speaks to your soul, cut off the lights, put down you gadgets, close your eyes and just listen for 5 minutes or 50. One of my resolutions is to make the time to do this more often!

  • Investing and Financial Planning - Sometimes I wish to make a radical career change and go into money management. I actually enjoy pouring over 401K options and making investment decisions.

  • Taco/Food Trucks - I did work on this iPhone app after all.

  • Things like my last post here.

So can I put all of this together in 2 to 4 blogs without totally alienating the readers?