Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Books I'm Reading 21) The Pixar Touch by David Price

I knew a little about the history of Pixar. How it started as a team of people at Lucasfilm and became a computer graphics hardware company and eventually moved to become a computer animation studio, but I didn't know the back story of the people and the culture. Those two parts, above the history of the company and key public figures like Steve Jobs, are the truly important parts.

The book is about a year old so it takes you from the history of the key founders and how they got together to form Pixar through the development of recent Pixar releases like Cars and Ratatouille.

Personally I think it focuses a little much on the role, often tyranical, sometimes benevolent, usually with hidden insight, of Steve Jobs on the company and brings to light aspects which, though important to the company, are not important to what makes Pixar an amazing place. The stories of the people involved and the long term passion they maintained for completing a computer animated movie for so many years makes me think of the story behind Eniac and how the computer was developed as a tool to further other interests. Similarly with Pixar, the creation of a computer hardware company served only as a tool to eventually develop a computer animated movie.

And then there are the lessons with the slow decline of Disney and the tough rise of Pixar. How a stagnant business gradually sliped from it's pinnacle because people forgot the primary lessons of the man behind its creation. Makes me wonder what will happen to Pixar without that first generation of leadership in place.


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