Steve Jobs didn’t sketch one character in Pixar’s new movie, Brave, but his handprint is on every frame. During an interview on Charlie Rose, John Lasseter, the chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation, told a short, insightful story about the late Apple CEO who had purchased Pixar in 1986 for $10 million (Jobs would later sell Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion, making Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder). Steve Jobs introduced the Pixar team to his pixel-level obsession with excellence.
In Lasseter’s first meeting with Jobs, he wanted to tell Jobs about a short film he was working on that would show off Pixar’s technology. Pixar was mostly a hardware company at the time and Lasseter was the studio’s only animator. After Lasseter pitched the story, Steve Jobs offered fours words of advice: “Just make it great.” It was the only guidance that Jobs gave Lasseter. That short, Tin Toy, won an Academy Award for the best-animated short film, the first time an Oscar had been given to computer animation.