The lessons about leadership, strategy, culture, innovation, persistence -- and the degree to which random events rather than planning shape human and organizational history -- are all on display.
I did however dig a little deeper on the Amazon reviews and happened upon an exchange between Steven Boyett, a writer who was contracted to work on Toy Story 2 for three months, and David Price, the author. I agree with the others who comment there - the events, as described by Boyett, cast a shadow on an otherwise compelling story. Why? His story rings of honesty. Finding the truth beyond the official story matters increasingly more. Truth connect with our emotional core.
This is a good thread to follow up on our first full week of the year. A couple of days ago we were talking about product, purpose, passion and performance. I would like to swap one of the P's at this time. Let's take passion out and replace it with persistence. Then we should add something at the end - you will help me do that.
To excel with product, the people at Pixar remained paranoid and continue to take pride in what they do. They believe in the power of telling a great story. Their fans do too. The Luxo blog by Ken Bautista and Chad Kerychuck wrapped to a close in June 2008. While Upcoming Pixar (now Pixar Planet) looks well done, it feels a bit more like a Web site and less like a blog. Too bad, says someone in the comments at Luxo, I preferred you to the others. Looking at what Chad and Ken did on top of their professional lives, I was impressed.
Building a community with that superb product and work, they created purpose. Once you determine what your product is, once you narrow it down to one concept, one outcome, then it becomes easy to associate it with the second P - purpose. Does product come first, or does purpose?
Some examples of well executed products (services also fit here) are Amazon's "customers who bought this also bought", which instantly engages our herd impulses; the book/product review section and this other service on top of the reviews that gives people a change to have a dialogue with each other.
Tim Walker said it so well in a Twitter conversation with Kathy Sierra - simple, deep, challenging, worth it. The purpose-idea, as articulated by Mark Earls, explains to customers why they should buy your product or service and it tells employees why they come in early and stay late.
That's when we meet Wall-E, the robot with a personality. He is curious about life and has a desire to connect to it. He is not willing to give up, he is going to persevere through it. Persistence is the third characteristic of winning businesses.
Just like Pixar's story indicates, persistence means that you are willing to try many different things with an eye to an end goal. One of the less known facts Sutton cites is that it was Pixar, and not Apple, that made Steve Jobs a billionaire. Jobs bought Pixar in 1986 from Lucasfilm for $5 million. In 1995, the week after the release of Toy Story, Pixar went public and Jobs’s stock was worth $1.1 billion.
Persistence spells the unwavering belief that you will prevail. Have you ever felt that you pulled out of a situation - work or otherwise - too early in the game and missed out on the final event? Success more often than not is years and years in the making.
I'm also inclined to believe that in today's marketplace, wisdom gained through experience is much more valuable than just applied intelligence. Which brings us to performance.
Having a great story and believing in it is only one part of the equation. How does the story perform in the marketplace? Are we effective? Not just as in having special effects, but how do events bounce off us, what is the experience of us? I am reminded of Ratatouille and the love for creating culinary experiences worth having.
You can take that all the way to the bank - the movie earned over $621 million at the box office (worldwide).
We now have the winning formula for the kind of marketing and business culture we should be building. But maybe we are missing a key ingredient, still. What is that? Do you have the Pixar touch?