Hollywood’s Re-org

William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre for The New York Times: Sure, Disney’s deal last week to acquire Pixar is about big money — how Steven P. Jobs turned a fledgling outfit that he had bought for $10 million into a juggernaut valued at $7.4 billion. And, yes, it is about a big strategic shift at the Walt Disney Company, as Robert A. Iger, the chief executive, exorcises the ghost of his predecessor, Michael D. Eisner. But it is also about the potential for big changes in how the entertainment business operates — specifically, in how major studios organize talented people to do their best work.
In the Hollywood model, the energy and investment revolves around the big idea — the script — and the fine print of the deal. Highly talented people agree to terms, do their jobs, and move on to the next project. The model allows for maximum flexibility, to be sure, but it inspires minimum loyalty and endless jockeying for advantage.
Turn that model on its head and you get the Pixar version: a tightknit company of long-term collaborators who stick together, learn from one another and strive to improve with every production.
Randy S. Nelson, dean of Pixar University said, “We’ve made the leap from an idea-centered business to a people-centered business. Instead of developing ideas, we develop people. Instead of investing in ideas, we invest in people. We’re trying to create a culture of learning, filled with lifelong learners. It’s no trick for talented people to be interesting, but it’s a gift to be interested. We want an organization filled with interested people.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.