How Distinct Are you?

I’m a movie fan, and I especially get a kick out of animations. You also know that I like to study Disney, therefore anything that Pixar releases I’m all over it! Disney and Pixar have found a way to make it work, so yes, I study them intensely!

Bill Taylor wrote a very interesting article about Pixar’s Blockbuster Secrets, here’s a snippet:

Pixar doesn’t just make films that perform better than standard fare. It also makes its films differently — and, in the process, defies many familiar, and dysfunctional, industry conventions. Pixar has become the envy of Hollywood because it never went Hollywood.

More than a few business pundits have drawn parallels between the flat, decentralized “corporation of the future” and the ad-hoc collection of actors, producers and technicians that come together around a film and disband once it is finished. In the Hollywood model, 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. Andrew Stanton, who directed Wall-E, was a key figure behind Finding Nemo, which won two Oscars, generated worldwide box-office of $840 million, and became the best-selling DVD of all time. But Stanton didn’t follow the success of Nemo by offering himself to the highest bidder or demanding perks and special treatment. He went back to his job as an employee of the studio, to pitch in on other films and eventually begin work on his next major project.

And Stanton is merely one of many superbly talented writers and directors who have staked their reputations on their work at Pixar. Again, in contrast to convention, these professionals have traded one-time contracts for long-term affiliation and contribute across the studio, rather than to just their pet projects.

Like Bill Taylor asked, how are you changing the game in your field? What is your distinctive take on how your industry operates? Do you work as distinctively as you compete?

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