Perspective is so Hard to Capture


Steve Jobs and Ed Catmull

In Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull describes his thoughts on Steve Jobs with whom he worked for more than a quarter-century. He says:

Perspective is so hard to capture. I worked with Steve for more than a quarter-century — longer, I believe, than anyone else — and I saw an arc to his life that does not accord with the one-note portraits of relentless perfectionism I've read in magazines, newspapers, and even his own authorized biography.

Relentless Steve — the boorish, brilliant, but emotionally tone-deaf guy we first came to know — changed into a different man during the last two decades of his life. All of us who knew Steve well noticed the transformation. He became more sensitive not only to other people's feelings but also to their value as contributors in the creative process.

His experience with Pixar was part of this change. Steve aspired to create utilitarian things that also brought joy; it was his way to make the world a better place.

Most remarkable among the many observations about Jobs is his consistent focus on the problem itself vs. the people, and how, over time, he learned to become more articulate and observant of people's feelings… learning to read the room.

Rather than describing it as mellowing with age, letting go, Catmull maintains Steve's transformation was an active one. He continued to engage; he just changed the way he went about it.

I love the core message that out actions change our reality. Our decisions have intended and unintended consequences — and they shape our future. The key is to think through the implications of this belief.

 

[Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs]

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