Pixar’s heroes aren’t all animated

Creativity, Inc. book cover
Ed Catmull’s recipe for success will sound familiar to fans of Pixar’s films.

The man:
Pixar’s story is a little like those in its films: Some kids with moxie who did things differently took a risk and won over the world. Each of Pixar’s 14 computer-animated films has opened at number one; together they’ve grossed $8.5 billion worldwide. And, just like in a fairy tale, Pixar’s story has a hero.
The current president of both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, Ed Catmull, came to movies by way of science. He garnered degrees in physics and computer science from the University of Utah. And his groundbreaking work in computer animation, while there, attracted the attention of the New York Institute of Technology, which hired him to lead it’s new Computer Graphics Lab in 1974. From there, in 1979, George Lucas brought in Catmull to lead Lucasfilm’s computer-graphics division, which, in 1986, was purchased by Steve Jobs and renamed Pixar. The rest, as they say, is history.

But it might not have been, if not for Catmull and his cofounders’ forward-thinking managerial style and approaches toward growing a business.

The missive:
With the help of journalist Amy Wallace, Catmull has distilled his working ethos into an engaging book, “Creativity, Inc.”, which will be published by Random House on April 8, that is part memoir, part storytelling, and part business guide.

Pixar fans will enjoy behind-the-scenes stories and trivia (“Monsters, Inc.” was originally about a grown man dealing with frightening creatures no one else can see); business leaders will glean not just information but motivation too (see below). Catmull’s secret to success seems to be an unwavering dedication to looking for unknowns and dealing with what he finds. He focuses on preparing himself and his team to deal with unseen challenges when they’re found, rather than trying to prevent them or, worse, pretend they aren’t there. Being unafraid of challenges and working cooperatively first and foremost are things that Catmull believes will make businesses better. To Pixar fans, it sounds familiar.

Tips from Ed Catmull:

“If there are people in your organization who feel they are not free to suggest ideas, you lose. Do not discount ideas from unexpected sources.”

“There are many valid reasons why people aren’t candid with one another in a work environment. Your job is to search for those reasons and then address them.”

“Do not fall for the illusion that by preventing errors, you won’t have errors to fix. The truth is, the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.”

“Change and uncertainty are part of life. Our job is not to resist them but to build the capability to recover when unexpected events occur.”

“Similarly, it is not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.”

“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”

“Trust doesn’t mean that you trust that someone won’t screw up—it means you trust them even when they do screwup.”

“A company’s communication structure should not mirror it’s organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.”

“Do not accidentally make stability a goal. Balance is more important than stability.”

Don’t confuse the process with the goal. Working on our processes to make them better, easier, and more efficient is an indispensable activity and something we should continually work on—but it is not the goal. Making the product great is the goal.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Ditka calls Redskins team name critics 'politically correct…

Mike Ditka, the 74-year-old 11-season coach of the Chicago Bears and 3-season coach of the New Orleans Saints, may be endangering his position as an…

National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Movies

Review: 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'…

The belated sequel "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" makes one question whether the first one may have been not so hot. Still, Eva Green vamping!

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…