The chief financial officer at Lucasfilm found Jobs arrogant

The chief financial officer at Lucasfilm found Jobs arrogant and prickly, so when it

came time to hold a meeting of all the players, he told Catmull, “We have to establish

the right pecking order.” The plan was to gather everyone in a room with Jobs, and

then the CFO would come in a few minutes late to establish that he was the person

running the meeting. “But a funny thing happened,” Catmull recalled. “Steve started

the meeting on time without the CFO, and by the time the CFO walked in

Steve was already in control of the meeting.”

Jobs met only once with George Lucas, who warned him that the people in the division

cared more about making animated movies than they did about making computers.

“You know, these guys are hell-bent on animation,” Lucas told him. Lucas later recalled,

“I did warn him that was basically Ed and John’s agenda. I think in his heart he bought

the company because that was his agenda too.”

The final agreement was reached in January 1986. It provided that, for his $10 million

investment, Jobs would own 70% of the company, with the rest of the stock distributed

to Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith, and the thirty-eight other founding employees, down to

the receptionist. The division’s most important piece of hardware was called the Pixar

Image Computer, and from it the new company took its name.

For a while Jobs let Catmull and Smith run Pixar without much interference. Every month

or so they would gather for a board meeting, usually at NeXT headquarters, where Jobs

would focus on the finances and strategy. Nevertheless, by dint of his personality and

controlling instincts, Jobs was soon playing a stronger role. He spewed out a stream of

ideas—some reasonable, others wacky—about what Pixar’s hardware and software could

become. And on his occasional visits to the Pixar offices, he was an inspiring presence.

“I grew up a Southern Baptist, and we had revival meetings with mesmerizing but corrupt

preachers,” recounted Alvy Ray Smith. “Steve’s got it: the power of the tongue and the

web of words that catches people up. We were aware of this when we had board meetings,

so we developed signals—nose scratching or ear tugs—for when someone

 

had been caught up in

Steve’s distortion field

and he needed to be

tugged back to reality.”

aishedesd.com