For a while Jobs let Catmull and Smith run Pixar without much interference.
Every month or so they would gather for a board meeting,
usually at NeXT headquarters, where Jobs would focus on the finances and strategy.
Nevertheless, by dint of his personality and controlling instincts, Jobs was soon playing a stronger role.
He spewed out a stream of ideas—some reasonable, others wacky—about what Pixar's hardware and software could become.
And on his occasional visits to the Pixar offices, he was an inspiring presence.
"I grew up a Southern Baptist, and we had revival meetings with mesmerizing but corrupt preachers," recounted Alvy Ray Smith.
"Steve's got it: the power of the tongue and the web of words that catches people up.
We were aware of this when we had board meetings, so we developed signals--nose scratching or ear tugs
for when someone had been caught up in Steve's distortion field and he needed to be tugged back to reality."
Jobs had always appreciated the virtue of integrating hardware and software,
which is what Pixar did with its Image Computer and rendering software.
It also produced creative content, such as animated films and graphics.
All three elements benefited from Jobs's combination of artistic creativity and technological geekiness.
"Silicon Valley folks don't really respect Hollywood creative types,
and the Hollywood folks think that tech folks are people you hire and never have to meet," Jobs later said.
"Pixar was one place where both cultures were respected."