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.


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