Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs and Walt Disney

I’ve hated cancer for a long time. It has taken away my own loved ones and many other people that still had contributions to make. Steve Jobs was one of those people. As writers and artists, we are particularly touched when a creative spark is snuffed out. In our own writing, when we are in the middle of a project, we wonder what would happen to it if we were hit by a bus. Will our creativity live on? Steve was “hit by a bus” called cancer, and died at age 56. A lot people compared Steve’s creativity to that of the previous generation’s Walt Disney. It is no wonder that his Pixar partnered with Disney in so many successful projects. One wonders -- what would Steve have accomplished if he’d lived longer? Walt lived to 65 (barely) – what if he’d died at 56? Walt would barely have gotten Disneyworld open – it would be his iPhone. In Disneyworld, some of the projects he pioneered would never have happened – Pirates of the Caribbean, the Matterhorn, the Haunted House, and many others. Would Disneyland have even survived without the Wonderful World of Color on TV promoting it every week? The Florida project (Walt Disney World) would certainly never have happened – and probably none of the other Disneyland projects (Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai.) The (now classic) movies “Old Yeller,” “The Shaggy Dog” and “Mary Poppins” would never have been made. Who knows if the Disney creativity that exists today would have survived if Walt had died at age 56? There would be no Little Mermaid, no Beauty and the Beast, and a host of other movies, events, rides, and other entertainment innovations that we’ve seen from Disney over the last 50 years. In the next 50 years will there still be a legacy from Steve Jobs? From Apple and Pixar? I’m sure the spark of his creativity will outlast him by a considerable number of years – we’ll continue to see innovation from his legacies. But what more would we have seen if his light had not been extinguished? I hate cancer.

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