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Lessons from Pixar

The process of bringing a product or service to market for the first time is not unlike the development of a movie. As Pixar learned with Toy Story 2, it's important to know when to pivot and how to create a culture conducive to success.

An excerpt from

In December of 1998, Pixar had finished three years of work on Toy Story 2. The movie was set to be Disney’s end-of-the-millennium shining star. The problem was the movie wasn’t very good. With just eight months left to finish production, Jacob did the unthinkable and, after talking it through with his producers, went to the executive team and told them that Toy Story 2 didn’t pass muster. In fact, Jacob and a few others said the movie was horrible and might ruin the company if released as it was. After watching the movie, Steve Jobs, Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, and President Ed Catmull, and others agreed and set in motion the plan to overhaul the movie.

The movie was completely rewritten and produced in the remaining eight months. Toy Story 2 went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed Pixar movies of all time, but only because Jacob and others on his team had the guts to say the work wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t something they could believe in.

Mission #3 Learn from Analogies


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Amy Bonsall

March 17, 2012, 14:23PM
Nice analogy, Nathalie. A lot of running a start-up is about incredible courage, particularly when you're under pressure to just get something out there so you can start to see some revenue. I like that they not only changed course, but shared the story. I hope we can also find stories of course change that didn't end so successfully, but still were great for learning.
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