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
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.