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什么让乔布斯成为亿万富翁?答案并非苹果!请看一位当事人的精彩回忆

Lawrence Levy 2016年10月28日

史蒂夫·乔布斯的名字永远地跟苹果连在了一起。但人们很容易忘记,让他拥有第一个10亿美元身家的,是另一家公司。

史蒂夫·乔布斯的名字永远地跟苹果连在了一起:他参与创建了这家公司,一度被扫地出门,后来王者归来,一手将其打造成为全球最有价值的企业。人们很容易忘记,让他拥有第一个10亿美元身家的,是另一家公司,即皮克斯动画工作室(Pixar)。1994年11月,当时还寂寂无闻的乔布斯向本文作者劳伦斯·利维(Lawrence Levy)伸出橄榄枝,聘请其担任皮克斯首席财务官。他肩负的使命是,帮助这家杂乱无章的公司登陆股市。

下面,我们来看看利维的回忆:

我是在1995年2月抵达皮克斯动画工作室的。对于我首先应该做什么,史蒂夫并没有提供任何指导。迎接我的,是皮克斯联合创始人埃德·卡特莫尔( Ed Catmull)。在头几天,他带我参观公司,介绍我认识这个团队的关键成员,并描述我的职责。

每个人都很友好,热情,用礼貌的手势跟我打招呼,仿佛在说:“很高兴在这里见到你,要我帮忙的话,尽管说。”但我总觉得缺了点什么。原因是,尽管每个人都很友好和礼貌,但我也觉得他们有点冷漠,似乎并没有因为皮克斯来了一位新首席财务官而激动万分。我深深地感觉到,皮克斯的警觉心很重。我不知道为什么。

没过多久,我就发现了原因所在。这还得从帕姆·克尔温(Pam Kerwin)说起。她是皮克斯公司副总裁,主管各项业务运营。帕姆四十出头,比我稍大一点,长着一头醒目的红发。她说话很甜,能够迅速地让身边的其他人感到舒适自在。她的办公室距离我很近,位于同一条走廊。帕姆是少数几位主动跟我打招呼,并向我介绍公司情况的人之一。

“我可不羡慕你。”一番寒暄后,帕姆直奔主题。“我觉得你真的不知道你在对抗什么。”

“对抗?”我问。

“你是史蒂夫的人。”

我肯定在帕姆面前露出了一副非常疑惑的神情,因为我不知道她是什么意思。

“皮克斯和史蒂夫打交道很久了。”她接着说。“两边不是太好。你还不知道,但皮克斯的确活在对史蒂夫的恐惧中。”

Steve Jobs’ name is forever tied to Apple: the company he founded, was fired from, and later returned to and made the most valuable in the world. It’s easy to forget that it was another company—Pixar—that made him his first billion. Central to that story is Lawrence Levy, the man who Jobs reached out to, unknown, in November of 1994 and hired as CFO. His mission? To take the scrappy company public.

I arrived at Pixar in February 1995. Steve didn’t give me any specific instruction for what to do first. Ed Catmull, cofounder of Pixar, greeted me and, over the first couple of days, walked me around the company, introducing me to the key players and describing my role.

Everyone was friendly, welcoming, and greeted me with polite gestures like: “Glad you’re here, let me know if I can help.” Something was missing though. For as much as people were friendly and polite, I also felt they were a bit distant and aloof. There didn’t seem to be a lot of excitement that Pixar had a new Chief Financial Officer. I had the deep sense that Pixar’s guard was up, and I didn’t know why.

It didn’t take me long to find out. It started with Pam Kerwin, a Pixar Vice-President who was general manager of various business operations within Pixar. She was a little older than me, in her early-forties, with striking red hair and a sweet demeanor that quickly made others feel at ease around her. Her office was just down the hallway from mine, and she was one of the few people who invited me to say hello and give me the lay of the land.

“I don’t envy you,” Pam jumped in after some pleasantries, “I don’t think you really get what you’re up against.”

“Up against?” I asked.

“You’re Steve’s guy.”

I must have given Pam a terribly puzzled look, because I wasn’t sure what she meant.

“Pixar and Steve have a long history,” she went on. “Not a good one. You don’t know it yet but Pixar lives in fear of Steve.”

19978月份,乔布斯与皮克斯公司首席创意官约翰·拉塞特(John Lasseter )在后者的办公室一起说笑。 

“怎么会呢?”

“史蒂夫不理解皮克斯。,”帕姆继续说道。“我们是一群渴望创新的艺术家,就像一个大家庭。我们相互拥抱。我们不是一个等级森严的组织;这里的每个人都有发言权。”

谈到史蒂夫时,帕姆表现出的强烈情绪引起了我的注意。

“没错,史蒂夫是我们的老板,但他从来都不是我们中的一员。”帕姆解释说。“我们一直觉得不受重视,不被赏识。大家担心,如果他走得太近,他会毁掉皮克斯,并破坏我们的文化。而现在,你就是他派来教我们守规矩的那个人。”

这种说法并不算离谱。我的使命正是将皮克斯改造成为一家欣欣向荣的企业。我应该成为一股促成变革的力量。

“另外,”帕姆补充说。“他没有遵守自己的承诺,这一点尤其让大家义愤填膺。”

“什么承诺?”我问。

“股票期权。”她说。“他答应给我们提供股票期权,但从未兑现。也许你的工作之一,就是解决这个问题。但日子就这样一天天过去了,还是没有一个解决方案,大家都变得更加愤世嫉俗。许多人在这里坚守多年,一直等着拿到一点皮克斯的股权。他们在其他公司的朋友都被授予股票期权,他们现在非常失望,觉得自己被利用了。”

这番话包含了很多需要我悉心领会的信息。当然,它解释了为什么我的到来并没有受到热烈的欢迎。

“How so?”

“Steve doesn’t get Pixar,” Pam went on. “We’re artsy and creative. We’re like a family. We hug. And we’re not a top-down organization; everyone here has a voice.”

The strength of Pam’s emotions about Steve caught my attention.

“Steve is the guy who owns us—but he’s never been one of us,” Pam explained. “We’ve long felt unvalued, unappreciated. People worry that if he gets too close, he’ll ruin Pixar, and destroy our culture. And now, you’re the guy he has sent to whip us into shape.”

That much was true. My mission was to transform Pixar into a thriving enterprise. I was supposed to be an agent of change.

“Plus,” Pam added, “He’s broken promises. And people are angry about that.”

“What promises?” I asked.

“Stock options,” she said. “He promised them to us, and they’ve never materialized. Perhaps part of your job is to fix that, but every day that passes without a solution, people grow more cynical. Many here have been waiting for years to own a little piece of Pixar. All their friends at other companies have been rewarded, and now they’re frustrated. They feel used.”

This was a lot to take in. It certainly explained why my arrival hadn’t been accompanied with much fanfare.

《玩具总动员》主角胡迪的素描图  

帕姆的训诫其实还把情况说轻了。刚到皮克斯的那段日子,我看到了公司上下——特别是那些从成立之初就加盟这家动画工作室的资深员工——对史蒂夫抱有的深深敌意。有个人直接对我说:“让那人离我们远点。”

至少可以说,这是一个不愿意看到的意外情况。我开始害怕,我对史蒂夫的担心正在变成现实。此前,我满腹狐疑地接受了这份工作。尽管到目前为止,我和乔布斯相处得非常融洽,但拜他那反复无常的声誉所赐,我认识的大多数人都言之凿凿地警告我不要跟这家伙共事。更成问题的是这家公司本身。皮克斯动画工作室已成立十年之久,但几乎没有产生任何影响。更有甚者,就连史蒂夫也不能清晰地阐述他对这家公司的愿景——只是说,他不想继续承受公司每年数的数以百万计美元的亏损了。

这些都是我知道的风险。现在,作为“史蒂夫的人”,我背负着额外的负担,被怀疑带有某种不可告人的计划。事实当然不是这样,但这也没关系。相较于自己的预期,我将变得更加形单影只。在最初的冲击波稍稍减退之后,直觉告诉我,我必须充分利用这一点。如果大家都不搭理我,我就拥有一个机遇窗口——在此期间,没有人会对我抱有很高的期待。这反倒让我有机会悄无声息地探索这个神秘的“皮克斯星球”。

然而,史蒂夫不想让我浪费时间。他已经在这家公司投资了近5000万美元,而且仍然需要填补皮克斯每个月的现金短缺。他想尽快终止这种窘境,越早越好。

“我正在专注于尽快解决这个问题,”我告诉他。“但我需要一些时间想办法。”尽管有点不耐烦,史蒂夫还是准许了我的计划。

皮克斯的员工感到像落入陷阱一样,特别是那些供职时间最长的员工。他们非常失望,觉得自己被误导了——史蒂夫并没有给予他们一种分享皮克斯成功的权利。但他们别无选择,只能等待,因为他们已经在这家公司投入了如此多的时间。此时离开,实属不智,特别是考虑到《玩具总动员》(Toy Story)发行在即。

雪上加霜的是,少数几位公司高层已经获得史蒂夫的承诺:他们将有权分享皮克斯的电影利润,可能是以股票期权形式发放。加入该公司时,我也获得了类似承诺,由此成为“这一小撮人”之一。除了高管,所有其他员工均被排除在外。这是一场正在酝酿中的灾难。大家似乎都在等待第一张多米诺骨牌倒下。皮克斯的人才或许会在一夜之间出逃殆尽——如果不是现在,那也是迟早的事。这家公司的创新能力将由此枯竭。

Pam’s admonition was, if anything, understated. In my first days at Pixar I encountered animosity directed toward Steve throughout the company, especially from those who had been there since the early days. One person said to me point blank, “Keep that man away from us.”

It was an unwelcome surprise, to say the least. I began to fear that my concerns about Steve were coming true. I had accepted the job at Pixar with a considerable amount of skepticism. Although Steve and I were getting along great so far, his mercurial reputation had made most people I knew caution me against working with him. Even more problematic was the company itself. Pixar had been in business for ten years and had made almost no impact, and even worse, not even Steve could clearly articulate what he wanted the company to be—only that he didn’t want to keep underwriting the millions of dollars it lost each year.

These were the risks I had known. Now it seemed I had the extra burden of being “Steve’s guy,” suspected of possessing some sort of hidden agenda. That wasn’t true. But that didn’t matter. I was going to be more alone than I expected. After the initial shock wore off a bit, my instinct was to figure out how to try and use this to my advantage. If people were going to leave me alone, I’d have a window of opportunity during which no one would expect much of me. That gave me a chance to quietly explore planet Pixar.

Steve, however, didn’t want me to waste time. He had invested close to $50 million in the company and was still covering Pixar’s monthly cash shortfall and he could not put an end to that soon enough.

“I’m focused on fixing that as soon as I can,” I told him, “but I need some time to figure it out.” Somewhat impatiently, Steve went along with my plan.

Pixar’s employees, especially those who had been there the longest, felt trapped. They felt let down and misled by Steve for not giving them a right to share in Pixar’s success. But they had little choice other than to wait and see what happened because they had invested so much time in the company. It would make little sense to leave now, especially when Toy Story’s release was imminent.

Making matters worse, promises had been made by Steve to a handful of Pixar’s senior team, giving them a share of Pixar’s film profits that might be converted into stock options. I was the most recent of those, having received a promise of stock options when I joined the company. Besides the top executives, everyone else was excluded. This was a disaster in the making. All it would take was one domino to fall, and an exodus of Pixar’s talent could happen overnight—if not now, later. That would spell the end of Pixar’s capacity to innovate.

 

1995年,皮克斯团队正在制作《玩具总动员》,跪地者为首席创意官拉塞特。 

在这个问题上,我正好处于风暴中心。一侧是义愤填膺的皮克斯长期员工。每每走访皮克斯各部门时,我总能听到持续不断的抱怨声:

“史蒂夫会满足我们的要求吗?”

“我们已经等了这么久了。”

“别糊弄我,眼见为实。”

另一侧是史蒂夫。授予皮克斯员工多少期权,完全是他一个人说了算。由于史蒂夫拥有皮克斯公司100%的股权,每一笔进入股票期权计划的股份都会减少他本人的持股比例,因为这些期权将由皮克斯的员工们来行使。

史蒂夫想尽可能少地降低他的持股比例。他考虑的是一家新成立的初创公司可能使用的那种股权分享比例——低至15%或20%。对于一家刚刚起步,在头几年预计将聘用大约50位员工的公司来说,这个比例或许行得通。但皮克斯的员工团队已经接近150人,按照硅谷标准来衡量,其中许多人都是资深老员工,有权获得一笔数量显著的股票期权奖励。

他也绝不愿冒着在未来失去公司控制权的风险。我没必要追问原因。史蒂夫想避免他此前在苹果公司陷入的尴尬处境。他其实是被苹果董事会扫地出门的,尽管他本人并不想走。

On this issue I was caught squarely in the middle. On the one side, Pixar’s long-time employees were angry and bitter. There were constant gripes as I made my rounds at Pixar:

“Will Steve take care of us?”

“We’ve waited a long time for this.”

“I’ll believe it when I see it.”

On the other side was Steve, who had all the power to decide how many stock options to give Pixar’s employees. Because Steve owned 100% of Pixar, every option that went into the stock option plan would reduce his personal stake in the company as those options were exercised by Pixar’s employees.

Steve wanted to reduce his share as little as possible. He had in mind the kind of percentage that a new start-up might use, as low as 15% or 20%. That might work for a company just starting out, one that might expect to hire 50 or so employees in its first couple of years. But Pixar already had close to 150 employees and many of those were seasoned veterans who, by Silicon Valley standards, were entitled to significant stock option amounts.

He was also adamant about taking no risk that he would lose control of the company in the future. I didn’t need to ask him why. He wanted to avoid any risk of being in a position like he had been in at Apple   -0.20%  where the Board had effectively ousted him from the company against his will.

2006年,在伦敦科学博物馆举行的迪士尼皮克斯动画20周年展览会上展出的《玩具总动员》素描图。 

我越深入地介入这个议题,我就越觉得自己成了所有人的出气筒:皮克斯的员工以为我是在保护史蒂夫。史蒂夫则认为,我一门心思地为皮克斯的员工谋利益,索价太高。在内心深处,我是站在皮克斯的员工一边的,但这无关紧要。我的工作不是偏袒某一方,而是促成一套史蒂夫和公司其他人都能接受的解决方案。这是我第一次觉得自己在对抗史蒂夫。每当我提出这个问题时,他就开始变得烦躁。

“我们已经讨论过了。”他总是这样说。“我只想看你提出的计划。”但是,如果他不提供足够的股票,我就无法制定股票期权分配计划。

一天夜里,我向妻子希拉里抱怨说:“乔布斯要是铁了心,我根本说不动他。我们多数时候立场一致,但在这件事上意见相左,我无能为力。”

妻子说:“你能做都做了,还能再做些什么呢?这毕竟是他的公司。”

就这样,在伯克利山和旧金山湾之间那段漫长的上下班旅程中,我始终忧心忡忡。我担心,我们是否会被视为一家真正的娱乐公司。我担心,迪士尼将占据皮克斯正在创造的空间。我担心,一项新的战略议程将给皮克斯的文化造成压力。

The more I waded into this issue, the more I felt like a punching bag for everyone: Pixar’s employees thought I was protecting Steve. Steve thought I was asking for too much for Pixar’s employees. It didn’t matter that, inwardly, I sided with Pixar’s employees. My job was not to take sides but to broker a solution that would work for Steve and the rest of the company. It was the first time I felt myself pitted against Steve. He began to get irritated whenever I brought up the subject.

“We’ve already discussed it,” he would say. “Just show me the proposed plan.” But I couldn’t make an options plan without enough stock to put in it.

“When Steve digs in his heels it’s very hard to move him,” I complained to my wife Hillary one night. “Most of the time we’re on the same page, but we’re not on this one and there’s little I can do.”

“Look, if you’ve tried everything,” Hillary said, “what else can you do? It’s his company.”

And so, on my long commute between the Berkeley Hills and the San Francisco Bay, I worried. I worried about how seriously we would be taken as an entertainment company. I worried about Disney   0.83%  claiming the space that Pixar was creating. I worried about the pressures a new strategic agenda would put on Pixar’s culture.

 

一群皮克斯人为《财富》杂志1995年的特写《乔布斯令人惊叹的电影冒险》拍照。利维在第二排,他的腿打着黑石膏,坐在乔布斯和拉塞特身后。 

但最困扰我的,还是股票期权计划。尽管这个问题听上去很俗,可我相信,皮克斯的命运在一定程度上取决于我们给股票期权池放置了多少股票。如果太少,皮克斯的关键员工可能会永远心存不满,从而将毁掉这家公司赖以生存的文化。我不确定我还能史蒂夫那里“挤出”多少股票,但我需要进行最后一次尝试,即使这意味着招致传说中的史蒂夫怒火。一天晚上,我拿起电话,拨通了他的号码。

“我们必须增加更多的股票期权。”我直截了当地说。“仅凭我们已经分配的数量是办不成事的,这个数字不够。要是再增加几个百分点,我们就能尝试一下。即使我们上市后,你仍然有很大的机会保持公司的控股权。”

“我说过我不想再讨论这个。”史蒂夫抱怨道。眼看着他要挂电话,我提出了一个数字。我认为,这可能是他愿意做出的最大让步了。

“就是这个数字吗?”史蒂夫完全被激怒了。“这个期权数字是否足以延续很长一段时间?”

我认为它不会。这个数字现在勉强可以满足我们的需要。

“是的。”我有点没底气地宣称。“我们将让它发挥作用。”

“那么,我不想再听到这个话题了。”就这样,史蒂夫径直结束了这场对话。

我如释重负地长叹一声。我终于获得了第一个真正的立足点。这项期权计划是推动皮克斯向前发展的关键所在。但现在,它的利害关系比以往任何时候都要高。在未来某一天,这些股票期权需要特别值钱才行。对于任何人来说,一场小胜都无法“解渴”。皮克斯正在谋求巨大的成功。

史蒂夫曾经告诉我,孕育伟大的产品往往需要花费比看起来长得多的时间。每一款似乎从天而降的产品,其实都经历过一个长期的研发、试验和失误的过程。如果有什么东西能证明这一点,那就是皮克斯。《玩具总动员》(Toy Story)的孕育期可以追溯到16年前。彼时的皮克斯还是卢卡斯电影公司(Lucas Film)的电脑绘图部门。自那时起,这家动画工作室就一直走在一条漫长而艰辛的道路上,经历过似乎没有尽头的挑战。颇具讽刺意味的是,在1995年11月份的一个星期,决定皮克斯命运的,仅仅是两个数字:《玩具总动员》首映周末的票房收入,以及皮克斯的IPO发行价。

第一个数字,即《玩具总动员》首映周末的票房收入,将告诉我们这部电影的整体表现究竟会有多好。该片拟定于1995年11月22日,也就是感恩节前的那个周三正式发布。迪斯尼告诉我们,仅仅基于那一周的周五晚的票房,他们就能非常准确地预测其首映周末的票房收入——实际上也是该片的的整体表现。

这意味着,经历了如此多年的科技进步,以及《玩具总动员》长达4年的制作期之后,皮克斯将在11月份一个星期五的晚上,获悉全世界对其工作的终极评价。它让我想起了奥运会上的100米短跑比赛。每位运动员都怀抱着成为世界上跑得最快的人这一梦想,并为此付出了终生的努力。但一切的一切都取决于他们在短短10秒内的表现。如果全世界都爱看《玩具总动员》,皮克斯将有机会开创一个动画娱乐的新时代。否则的话,皮克斯可能会消失在历史的尘埃中,成为另一家曾经努力尝试但从未成功过的公司。

一个周六下午,当我和史蒂夫在帕洛阿尔托一起散步的时候,他问我,“首映周末票房达到什么数字,会让你真正感到满意?”

“最好能超过1000万美元。”我说。“哪怕首映周末票房达到800万,我们仍然乐于接受。”

“我的期望值是1500万。”史蒂夫说。“如果我们达到1500万到2000万,那就预示着国内总票房将突破1亿美元。从此以后,就没有人会质疑皮克斯时代的到来。

我们无数次地探讨过相同的话题。我们喜欢猜测《玩具总动员》的票房潜力,以及它的含义。1亿美元的国内票房(意指《玩具总动员》在北美市场的全部销售收入),实在是一个不敢相信的甜蜜画面。在电影行业,这是一个神奇但很难实现的数字。于动画片而言,尤为如此。回顾整个电影史,只有4部动画故事片的国内票房超过1亿美元,它们都是迪士尼电影:《美女与野兽》(Beauty and the Beast)、《阿拉丁》(Aladdin)、《狮子王》(The Lion King)和《风中奇缘》(Pocahontas)。如果不考虑这几部迪士尼大片,各大电影公司和知名独立制作商在过去5年共发行了17部动画故事片,其平均国内票房还不及1400万美元。请注意,这是国内总票房,而不是首映周末票房。50多年以来,迪士尼其实是动画故事片领域的唯一玩家。

But it was the stock options that bothered me the most. As mundane an issue as it might seem, I believed that Pixar’s fate hung partially in the balance of how much stock we put in the stock option pool. Too little, and Pixar’s key employees might be forever disgruntled, ruining the culture on which Pixar’s was built. I wasn’t sure I had anything further I could squeeze out of Steve but I needed to take one more final swing at it, even if it meant incurring Steve’s legendary wrath. I picked up the phone one night and called him.

“We have to add more stock options,” I said flatly. “We can’t make it on the amount we have allocated right now. It’s not enough. A few percent more, and we can give it a shot, and still have a good chance you’ll maintain control of the company even after we go public.”

“I said I didn’t want to revisit this.” Steve griped. He was on the verge of dismissing it. I suggested a number. It was as far as I thought he might go.

“Will this be it?” Steve asked, totally exasperated. “Will this be enough options to last for a long while?”

I didn’t think it would be. It would barely get us by now.

“Yes,” I declared with unfounded confidence. “We’ll make it work.”

“Then I don’t want to hear about it again.” And with that, Steve ended the conversation.

I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I at last had my first real toe hold. The option plan was pivotal to moving Pixar forward. But now the stakes were higher than ever. Those stock options needed to be worth a lot one day. A small win wouldn’t cut it for anyone. Pixar was aiming for the big time.

Steve once told me that the gestation of great products takes much longer than it appears. What seems to emerge from nowhere belies a long process of development, trials, and missteps. If anything proved that case, it was Pixar. The gestation of Toy Story could be traced back 16 years to when Pixar had been the computer graphics division at Lucas Film. It had been a long and arduous path since then, with no end of challenges. This made it especially ironic that, in one week in November of 1995, Pixar’s entire future would depend on just two numbers: the opening weekend box office for Toy Story, and the price at which Pixar’s shares sold in its IPO.

The first number, the opening weekend box office for Toy Story, would tell us how well Toy Story would perform overall. Scheduled for release on November 22, 1995, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Disney told us it could make a good prediction of the opening weekend box office, and indeed the film’s overall performance, solely on the basis of that week’s Friday night box office.

This meant that, after all those years of evolving the technology and then four more years of actually making Toy Story, Pixar would learn on a single Friday night in November what the world thought of its work. It reminded me of the 100-meter sprint in the Olympic games. A lifetime of training to become the fastest runner in the world came down to a single ten-second performance. If the world fell in love with Toy Story, Pixar would have a chance to usher in a new era of animated entertainment. If it didn’t, Pixar might be written off as another company that tried but never quite hit the mark.

“What opening weekend box office would make you feel really good?” Steve asked me as we were taking a walk in Palo Alto one Saturday afternoon.

“Anything above ten million,” I said, “Even If we hit eight million we’re on the board.”

“My number’s fifteen,” Steve said. “If we hit fifteen to twenty, they’ll project a total domestic box office of over a hundred million. Then no one will question Pixar’s arrival.”

This was the umpteenth time we’d had this same discussion. We loved to speculate about Toy Story’s box office potential and what it meant. A domestic box office run—meaning the total North American ticket sales for Toy Story—of a hundred million would be sweet indeed. It was a magic number in the film business, and very difficult to achieve, even more so in animation. In all of film history, only four animated feature films had a domestic box office greater than a hundred million, and all of those had been made by Disney: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Pocahontas. If you excluded the four Disney blockbusters, of the 17 other animated feature films released by major studios or well known independents over the past five years, the average domestic box office was a little under $14 million. That’s total domestic box office, not the opening weekend. In animation, for all practical purposes, Disney had been the only game in town for over fifty years.

1995年,《玩具总动员》明星胡迪(左)和巴斯的动画师工作模型

无论以什么尺度来衡量,我们都是要一飞冲天。

第二个将决定皮克斯未来的数字是,作为一家上市公司,皮克斯股票将以什么价格开始交易。在所有关于上市的议题中,史蒂夫思考最多的莫过于皮克斯的IPO发行价。

基于皮克斯已有的股票总数来计算,如果每股的交易价格为10美元,皮克斯的市值将达到3.7亿美元左右,史蒂夫拥有的80%股权将价值约3亿美元。不难推算,如果发行价为20美元,公司市值将达到7.4亿,史蒂夫的股权将价值6亿美元。换言之,皮克斯首个交易日的收盘价不仅象征着史蒂夫王者归来,它还会实实在在地量化他的身价。

“我们比网景更有价值。”一天晚上,史蒂夫在电话中断言称。“他们只成立了大约一年光景,而且一直在赔钱。如果皮克斯的电影大卖,我们将赚取远高于他们的收入。我们理应更值钱。”

当网景股票于8月9日上市交易时,该公司的估值略高于10亿美元。当天收盘时,网景的市值超过20亿美元。在我看来,无论怎么算,皮克斯的市值也不可能达到20亿美元。

“这样做的风险太大了。”我试图反驳。“网景是这几年最大的一波IPO狂潮。如果我们参照它的IPO发行价,我们可能会彻底玩完。我们最好还是审慎行事,让投资者开心,给股票留些增长的势头。”

最终,我们聘请的投资银行家给出了他们自己的判决。他们认为,皮克斯的股价可能会迅速地在十八九美元拉平,这家公司的市值将由此达到7亿美元左右。他们希望IPO价格确定在12到14美元之间。这个拟定的发行价意味着皮克斯的估值在5亿美元左右,这是一个极其可观的数字。但它需要得到史蒂夫的认同。

“如果我们以12到14美元的发行价,向美国证券交易委员会提出上市申请。”我告诉他。“如果路演进展顺利,我们可以把发行价翻一番,就像网景那样。这样一来,皮克斯的估值将达到10亿美元。我们不妨一试,但如果我们的定价保守一些,让市场充当裁判,我们承受的风险就会小得多。所有银行家都赞成这套方案。我也一样。”

“让我想想。”史蒂夫说。

几个小时后,他打电话给我。

“就这么办。”他说。“我认为,我们的路演结束将激发起极大的认购热情,我们随后将把开盘价翻一番。”

我如释重负地长叹一口气。我们终于有了一个起点。

11月26日,周六。早晨起床后,我坐立难安,唯有不停地踱步。我们已经安排了一连串电话。我们将获悉《玩具总动员》在周五晚间的票房表现。我会接到萨拉·斯塔夫(Sarah Staff)的电话,她是皮克斯公司的票房线人。

“你什么时候会收到消息?”希拉里问。

“他们说上午10点左右。”我回答道。

现在已接近10点半。我们随时都会知道第一个神奇的数字,即《玩具总动员》首映周末票房。我乐意接受自己的期望值:1000万美元,但如果首映周末票房超过1500万,那简直美得不敢想。

“我很紧张。”希拉里说。

20分钟后,电话铃响了。我急忙冲过去接听。

“是,是。我明白,知道了。谢谢。是的,我喜欢细节。你有我的传真号码。谢谢你。”

我挂了电话,尝试着吸收我刚刚被告知的那个数字。

“怎么样?”希拉里等不及了。

“天哪!”我说。“非常高。他们不相信这是真的。迪斯尼预计,周末票房将接近3000万美元!仅周五晚的票房就接近1150万。”

“哇!”希拉里惊呼。我们高高地举起手,击掌相庆。

“3000万!”我继续惊叹。“锦上添花的是,观众投票人数打破记录。迪士尼认为这部电影将大卖。总票房将轻松突破1亿大关,有可能超过1.5亿。”

5分钟后,电话又响了。是史蒂夫。

“太好了。”史蒂夫兴奋难耐。“我刚刚征求了迪士尼营销团队的看法,也跟迪士尼的高管谈过。这是一个大数字。他们现在认为,这部电影有可能会成为最卖座的电影。”

当时票房最高的电影是《永远的蝙蝠侠》(Batman Forever),其国内总票房达到1.84亿美元。第二名是获得1.72亿美元票房的《阿波罗13号》(Apollo 13)。我们竟然有可能冲入这一区域,这超出了所有人最大胆的想象。

“你是认真的吗?”我说。这意味着,《玩具总动员》的总票房将接近2亿美元。

“有可能。”史蒂夫说。“我们做到了,劳伦斯。我们完全做到了。”

1995年11月29日,皮克斯以每股22美元的价格上市交易。当日收盘价高达39美元,这家新公司的市值由此达到15亿美元。一周前发行,制作成本约3000万美元的《玩具总动员》最终斩获3.65亿美元的全球票房收入。(财富中文网)

本文摘自《我的皮克斯往事:与乔布斯携手创造娱乐业历史的非凡之旅》(To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey With Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History),劳伦斯·利维著,将于2016年11月1日出版。

译者:Kevin

No matter how we measured it, we were reaching for the sky.

The second number that would define Pixar’s future was the price Pixar’s stock would first start trading at as a public company. Of all the issues in Pixar’s public offering, there was none that occupied Steve’s thinking more than what Pixar’s stock would sell for when it first went public.

Given the total number of shares of Pixar stock that existed, if Pixar’s stock traded at $10 per share, Pixar would be worth about $370 million, and Steve’s eighty percent share around $300 million. If it traded at $20 per share, Pixar would be worth $740 million and Steve’s portion around $600 million. In other words, Pixar’s stock price at the end of its first day of trading would not just signify Steve’s comeback, it would truly quantify it.

“We’re worth more than Netscape,” Steve asserted one evening when we were talking over the phone. “They’ve only been around about a year, and are losing money. If Pixar’s films are hits, we’ll make more than them. We should be worth more.”

Netscape had been valued at a little over $1 billion when its stock begun to trade on August 9. By the end of that day, it was worth over $2 billion. In my mind, no amount of number crunching could get Pixar to a value of $2 billion.

“It’s a huge risk,” I tried to push back. “If we model our IPO on Netscape, the biggest IPO frenzy in years, we might blow the whole thing. We’re better off getting out the gate, keeping investors happy, and letting the stock build momentum.”

Eventually our investment bankers came up with their own verdict. They thought Pixar’s stock might quickly level out in the high teens, giving Pixar a value of around $700 million. They wanted the initial price to be $12 – $14 per share, meaning the proposed price would value Pixar around $500 million, an enormously respectable number. But Steve needed to be on board.

“If we start at $12 – $14 when we file with the SEC,” I told him, “and if the road show goes well we could double it, just like Netscape did. If we double it, Pixar will be valued at a billion dollars. We’ll have a shot, but we take much less risk starting conservatively and letting the market be the judge. All the bankers are on board. Me too.”

“Let me think about it,” Steve said.

A couple of hours later he called me.

“We’ll go with it,” he said. “I think we’ll have so much interest after our road show that we’ll double the opening price.”

I breathed a huge sigh of relief. We had our starting place.

On the morning of Saturday, November 26, all I could do was pace. We had arranged a chain of phone calls through which we would know how well Toy Story had performed Friday night. I would receive a phone call from Sarah Staff, who was plugged into Pixar’s source of box office information.

“When will you hear?” Hillary asked.

“They said by around 10 a.m.,” I replied.

It was now approaching 10:30. It would only be moments before we knew the first magic number, that of Toy Story’s opening weekend box office. I’d take $10 million I reminded myself, but something north of $15 million would be very sweet indeed.

“I’m nervous,” Hillary said.

Twenty minutes later, the phone rang. I rushed to answer it.

“Yes, yes. I see. I get it. Thank you. Yes, I’d love the details. You have my fax number. Thank you.”

I hung up the phone, trying to absorb what I had just been told.

“So?” Hillary couldn’t wait.

“It’s massive,” I said. “Massive. They didn’t believe it was possible. Disney predicts a weekend box office close to $30 million! Friday night’s box office alone was close to eleven and a half million.”

“Wow!” Hillary exclaimed. We high fived.

“$30 million!” I continued. “Even more, audience polling is off the charts. Disney thinks the film will have a huge run. It will sail past $100 million, and probably past 150.”

Five minutes later the phone rang again. It was Steve.

“It’s amazing,” Steve started excitedly. “I’ve talked to Disney marketing, I’ve talked to John. I’ve talked to Eisner. This is huge. They’re thinking this could be the biggest film of the year.”

The biggest film of the year had been Batman Forever, with a total domestic box office of $184 million. Second was Apollo 13, with $172 million. It had never really occurred to any of us that we might reach into that territory.

“Are you serious?” I said. That means it’ll get close to $200 million.”

“It’s possible,” Steve said. “We did it, Lawrence. We totally did it.”

Epilogue: On Nov. 29, 1995, Pixar shares were offered to the public at $22 a share. By close of market, shares were trading at $39, valuing the new company at $1.5 billion. Toy Story, made for around $30 million and released a week earlier, went on to gross $365 million in global box office sales.

Excerpted from “To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey With Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History,” by Lawrence Levy, to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Nov. 1, 2016. ©2016 by Lawrence Levy.

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