Want a glimpse into what makes Pixar Pixar? Ed Catmull, who has headed Pixar ever since it was still owned by George Lucas, and Amy Wallace take you behind the scenes for a look at the magic that makes the magic.
Catmull explains his business, leadership, and management principles against a backdrop of Pixar’s history. From their early days as a struggling computer hardware company (yes, Pixar made and sold computer hardware at one point), to their ascendance to one of the most beloved movie studios ever, to their successful merger with Disney, and how they breathed life back into Disney Animation Studios. Having worked with Steve Jobs for over a quarter-century, he not only goes into the effect that Steve had on Pixar, but also the effect that Pixar had on Steve.
On building the right team:
If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.
On keeping an open mind:
There is nothing quite as effective, when it comes to shutting down alternative viewpoints, as being convinced you are right.
Trust doesn’t mean that you trust that someone won’t screw up—it means you trust them even when they do screw up.
Play the ball where the monkey drops it.
I originally bought the audiobook, then picked up the ebook so I could highlight it. It was worth buying twice. The anecdotes about Pixar and Steve are great, and Catmull and Wallace do a good job of drawing useful lessons out of them.