Steve Jobs and Walt Disney: Like Two Peas In An IPod


Steve Jobs’ untimely passing 18 days ago has resonated strongly across the Internet.

Countless articles have been written, a million plus condolence messages have been voiced on the Apple site and now, on the eve of the release of Steve Jobs’ biography, revelations of his final days are starting to surface.

However, what has captured my attention more than all the leaks and spills pouring forth from Steve’s biography is how similar his path was to that of the late Walt Disney.

There are the obvious comparisons of course:

➡Both had little patience for post-secondary school academics,

➡ Both died at a relatively early age of cancer, Walt Disney at 65 and Steve Jobs at 56 – same digits, different order

➡Both remained active in their companies’ projects while weathering incredible health issues.

➡Both left a legacy of ideas after they died for future generations of Disney/Apple fans.

Yet, what is most striking is the manner in which they handled failure. When you look at their personal journey on paper, one is not so much aware of the struggles they encountered as much as the success that they continued to achieve. Both were unflappable visionaries.

In the case of Steve Jobs, he was ousted from a company he had successfully created, while Walt Disney’s successful Oswald The Lucky Rabbit idea, was stolen from him by NBC Universal.

As a result, Walt Disney, a rising star in the field of animation, became bankrupt and Steve Jobs, with his creative vision and passion, jobless.

However, both men possessed a resilience and ambition that is all too rare in this day and age – an undying passion for their individual visions.

Equipped with an equal amount of brilliance and determination, Walt Disney decided to develop a new character named Mickey Mouse, while Steve Jobs founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets.

And so these two ambitious, undeterred young men continued to prosper and grow, not allowing their innovative spirit to be contaminated by the criticism or belittlement of others.

And then the year that the stars were in perfect alignment – 2006 – saw The Walt Disney Company purchasing Pixar Animation Studios from Steve Jobs for 7.4 billion dollars, making Steve Jobs the largest individual shareholder in Disney as well as a member on Disney’s Board Of Directors. Now that is karma in its truest form.

I truly believe that Apple will grow and prosper to even greater heights, evolving and revolutionizing every aspect of our daily lives. We only have to look to the success of The Walt Disney Company to see and appreciate that dreams can be kept alive and kicking after the demise of it’s founder.

Both Walt Disney and Steve Jobs were unselfish in their motives. To them, money was irrelevant. All they wanted to do was to make the world a better place in which to live – user friendly, one would say. Bringing a smile to the face.

And, to this end, they made absolutely certain that the future viability of their companies would flourish after they were gone.

I found this wonderful explanation of the art of creativity in Steve’s own words from Wired.Com.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” ~ Wired, February, 1995

Connecting the dots. There you go. Somewhere, nestled in your own experiences, is an innovation waiting to be discovered.


Posted on October 24, 2011, in Apple, Steve Jobs, Technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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