How Pixar helped Jobs build a more collaborative Apple

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Steve Jobs with the Pixar founders.
Steve Jobs with the Pixar founders Ed Catmull and John Lasseter. Photo: Pixar
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The new Steve Jobs biography, Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader, promises plenty of fascinating tidbits about the life of Apple’s co-founder, some of which we’ve revealed here.

But the real thing I’m excited about, that I hope the book does a whole lot better than its predecessor by Walter Isaacson, is answering the question of how exactly Jobs went from being an impulsive, hard-to-work-with co-founder to the cool, collected digital emperor who barely put a foot wrong just over one decade later.

To mark the release of Becoming Steve Jobs, a new Fast Company article written by veteran journalist Rick Tetzeli grapples with that very question. One of Tetzeli’s conclusions? It was all about Pixar.

ICYMI: Gaming’s most innovative players, Apple Watch secrets, and more!

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Gaming, Apple Watch, Black Friday. what more do you need? Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Gaming, Apple Watch, Black Friday. what more do you need? Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Hey, guess what? It’s yet another fantastic round up of great stories from Cult of Mac, so time for another special Newsstand issue just for you!

We’ve got all of the best news stories and features compiled in one place to easily read on your iPad or iPhone, like: New innovations in gaming include hot upcoming game Subterfuge, currently available MOBA Vainglory, and a new ex-Pixar-employee-led studio, plus news on the Apple Watch, some amazing gift guides, and a Black Friday special report that you won’t want to miss.

Dig into Cult of Mac Magazine November 21 Edition, Free on iTunes

How a group of Pixar employees created gaming’s hottest startup

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The Steel Wool Games team. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The Steel Wool Games team is studded with Pixar talent. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With a cutesy, one-eyed protagonist named Zak and colorful graphics aplenty, upcoming game Flyhunter Origins looks like it could be a big-screen animated movie.

That’s not too shocking, since the game was developed by Steel Wool Games, a San Francisco Bay Area-based startup composed of Pixar employees past and present. But while the story of a space janitor who becomes wrapped up in an intergalactic insect-catching adventure sounds like it could come from the next Brad Bird movie, what the team has crafted is a compelling 2-D platformer that owes as much to Super Mario Bros. as it does to Toy Story.

“What we admired about those early games is what they did with very limited technology,” says Andrew Dayton, a 20-year veteran of computer visual effects, whose day job sees him working as senior technical director at Pixar. “Back then you couldn’t hide bad gameplay with pretty pictures. Playability was everything for us.”

Pixar’s upcoming film turns emotions Inside Out

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Screengrab: Cult of Mac
Apparently, it's crazy in there. Screengrab: Cult of Mac

Careful now – Pixar’s upcoming film, Inside Out, takes place within the emotional centers of a pre-pubescent girl. There’s some crazy characters in there — including Joy, Sadness, Anger and Fear — and they’re all just so happy to meet you.

In this brand new, super-short trailer, we get a tiny peek at what’s in store from us from Pete Doctor, the director of both Monsters, Inc. and Up.

Check it out below.

How Sony stood up to Steve Jobs’ wage-fixing schemes at Pixar

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Steve Jobs with the Pixar founders.
Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs and John Lasseter at Pixar
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Steve Jobs may have been part of some of the biggest tech revolutions of the past forty years, but he was also part of an illegal attempt to suppress employee wages by way of a massive no-poaching agreement with other tech giants.

Another of the companies accused of similar actions by former employees was Pixar, the company Jobs purchased a majority interest in after being booted out of Apple in the mid-80s. In 2011, Pixar’s John Lasseter described Jobs as “forever…part of Pixar’s DNA.”

As it happens, that may not be entirely for the best.