How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

George Lucas on Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011: 3:33 PM ET
While Steve Jobs' greatest legacy is Apple (AAPL), many people forget that the bulk of his wealth comes from Walt Disney (DIS), where he was the largest shareholder and an incomparable influence on how to delight and entertain kids.

"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."

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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