What if, instead of having to accept the board presence of Steve Jobs as a cost of getting Pixar’s animation talent and film library, Disney actually views the transaction as buying Pixar TO GET Steve Jobs and then gaining the animation bits as a bonus? If Disney CEO Robert Iger is really an exceptional leader, he’ll see it exactly that way.
For the entertainment industries, the next 10 years will be the most revolutionary in a century. Broadcast TV as we knew it is going away, replaced by a Chinese entertainment menu of such complexity that even knowing what’s “on” tonight will be beyond the abilities of most viewers. At some point, too, movies will be subsumed into television and recorded music will find its own new place with new rules. This will be Steve Jobs’s world and we’ll all just be visitors. It’s obvious to me and, evidently, to Iger, too.
The trick here is in knowing how to get the best product for the least money. Jobs is not opposed to spending money, but he is determined to get more for his money than anyone else. Look at the books of Apple and Pixar to understand this concept. Against a century-old tradition of corporate bloat, Jobs successfully preaches (and proves) that smaller is really better. How else can Apple compete with Microsoft AND Dell and HP, and still have $8 billion in the bank? Because smaller is better and cheaper, too, when it comes to creative development.