George Lucas on Steve JobsOctober 6, 2011: 3:33 PM ET
"He did things because they were fun and cool," moviemaker George Lucas told me this morning, summing up Jobs' magic formula. Jobs' journey into the entertainment business began with Lucas, who sold him a tiny computer-graphics business, for $10 million, in 1986. This was during Jobs' time away from Apple. He named the company Pixar Animation Studios and went on to reformulate kids' movies with Toy Story and a string of other hits. Jobs sold Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion in 2006.
Lucas, who himself transformed the film business with Star Wars and other blockbusters, says that Jobs leaves us with a key career lesson: "For any entrepreneur or corporate executive, if they don't love the product and love the job--if they're not passionate--it doesn't work longterm.
"Steve was way, way out there," adds Lucas, who contends that he is a lot like Jobs and is proud of it. "I make movies that nobody thinks are going to work. Steve made products that nobody thinks would work."
Last year, after Apple launched the iPad--to a chorus of skeptics, as you may recall--Lucas says that he and Jobs joked with each other about how their creations tended to be too odd, too new, and too mold-breaking to be instantly acceptable. "It took about a week and a half for people to realize that the iPad was the greatest thing to ever hit the earth."