Pixar co-founder Steve Jobs passed away this afternoon. He was 56.
I am typing this on an old Powerbook G4, and moderating comments on my iPhone. For all his visionary leadership, which you’ll be reading about everywhere else in the next few days, it’s important to remember it was Steve Jobs who had enough faith in the future of computer graphics to save Pixar by buying it from George Lucas in 1986. It was Jobs who fought for the first Pixar feature film and maintained the working relationship with Disney – despite difficult times with Michael Eisner – which led to the historic acquisition of Pixar by Disney in 2006. As Disney’s largest stockholder, Jobs was a member of its Board of Directors, and had installed Ed Catmull as President of Pixar and Disney Animation, and named John Lasseter to Chief Creative Officer.
Pixar, of course, is the leader in computer animated feature films. Apple is the number one computer maker in the United States. Jobs was an innovator, a visionary and yes, an artist. He allowed Pixar to flourish and develop the creative atmosphere that allowed the greatest animated features (so far) of the 21st Century to exist.