Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interviewing Steve Jobs

I was fortunate enough to interview Steve Jobs once. The August 2002 phone interview was in the context of his role as CEO of Pixar Animation Studios.
I had been trying to interview him for some time to talk about Pixar’s amazing track record and the company’s plans to ramp up production to one film a year.
I missed him the first time he called and he left me a voicemail message. Thankfully he tried me again later and we spoke for about 15 minutes about what makes Pixar films so special.
He was clearly passionate about the films Pixar was producing. The studio had released “Monsters Inc.” that year and was finishing production on “Finding Nemo.”
At the time, he was chief executive of both Apple and Pixar. Both companies shared Jobs’ perfectionist streak.
I asked him what the key was for maintaining quality movies at Pixar.
“Everyone will tell you that story is the most important thing, but hardly anyone really walks the walk,” Jobs said. “What happens (elsewhere) is that when the story’s not good enough and the production machine is moving and needs to be fed, people will just keep making the movie that they know isn’t the greatest. But some people, Pixar among them, will stop and say: ‘Wait a minute. This just is not as good as it needs to be.’”

Art: Steve Jobs tribute art by Hong Kong design student Jonathan Mak. Jobs died Wed. Oct. 5.

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