What We Can Learn from Steve Jobs

I actually knew Steve Jobs. I am not telling you this to try to impress you, but to impress upon you that he was a human being with strengths and weaknesses just like you and me.

He contacted me at Sesame Workshop when Pixar was just beginning. The original Toy Story was just in storyboard phase. He wanted to do a 3-D movie with the Sesame Street Muppets next. My team and I went out and met with the Pixar team, and had some questions about their ability to do accurate 3-D renderings and animations of the Muppet characters.

Steve would not rest until he had satisfied all of our questions and wonderings. For about 15 minutes I was Steve Jobs’ best friend — I had his home phone number, his cell phone number, etc. He was just like a little kid with ADHD — calling me about every five minutes to see whether Sesame Workshop had made a decision yet. I do believe that there is a connection between innovation and ADHD. Steve Jobs was wise enough to surround himself with people who could follow up and follow through on the many, MANY ideas that his creative mind generated.

The lesson is — know your strengths and your weaknesses. Know the value of collaboration. Keys to success: Choose collaborators who share your values while complementing your skill set.

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