When contemplating Steve Jobs' greatest achievement, most of us immediately think of Apple. But what if it wasn't a company at all? Building one iconic, global brand is tough enough. So how then did he do it twice, in completely disparate industries?
Hollywood and Silicon Valley are like two ships passing in the night. They are not trading passengers. They speak a different jargon; they have grown up with completely different models for how to grow a business, for how to attract and retain employees, for everything. They’ve grown up with completely different role models, and so the people think entirely differently.
I mean, when you’re in Silicon Valley, you don’t have to explain Silicon Valley to anyone else because everybody’s here and understands it. And the same is evidently true of Hollywood–neither side can explain themselves to the other very well at all.
These are parallel universes that have less in common than one would think. What I like in Silicon Valley is to hang out with the engineers. What I like about the people I’ve met from Hollywood are the creative people. They’re the heart of Hollywood, not the people driving around in their Mercedes SLs talking on their cellular phones and making deals, the agents and stuff; I couldn’t care less about that–that’s not Hollywood to me.
The part of Hollywood that we have attracted [at Pixar] is the creative side, the creative talent. We value that exactly equally with the technical talent.
— Steve Jobs, June 1995
The magician's greatest trick
A lot was written about the passing of Steve Jobs. Probably too much, from people who knew too little.
Not enough recognition was given to the fact that a guy out of Silicon Valley built the most important animation studio since Disney, and in doing so created a Hollywood powerhouse (which Disney acquired).
Brent Schlender's article The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes for FastCompany continues the theme that Jobs’ defining years were the ones that many consider were spent in the wilderness.
From my experience I know that "the wilderness" isn’t really anything of the sort. But you do gain new perspectives and a maturity that only comes from taking the time to truly reflect upon your purpose. Perhaps this is the trait that more Jobsian entrepreneurs should try to emulate, rather than his reported less endearing attributes.