I am currently reading Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. So interesting.
He always wanted to make the first animated movie. And although he loved drawing as a young person, there weren’t really any courses he could take in that field so he took physics. He went on to help create the first computer animation applications and one day he was summoned to an interview with a guy who was interested in special effects named George Lucas. This was post the first Star Wars so it was a big deal. The first question Lucas asked Catmull was who else he should be interviewing for this job. And without hesitation Catmull rhymed off a list of others who were also leaders in the field.
Catmull got the job. And later found out that all the people he had mentioned had already been interviewed and were asked the same question. And not one of them had named another candidate.
The confidence it took to name other competitors when this might have been his dream job is completely amazing. Catmull went on to help create Toy Story so it all worked out in the end. But he always believed that for progress to happen you need the best minds at the table. And those minds aren’t necessarily the people with the highest titles. Everyone should be able to speak up and give their opinion. This is how the road to excellence is paved.
Even when his company was first breaking ground in computer animation, they always shared what they found in research journals so that everyone in the race could learn from each other. Because progress comes from working together.
Catmull said many epic things including…
“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”
“If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.”
“When it comes to creative inspiration, job titles and hierarchy are meaningless.”
“For many people, changing course is also a sign of weakness, tantamount to admitting that you don’t know what you are doing. This strikes me as particularly bizarre—personally, I think the person who can’t change his or her mind is dangerous. Steve Jobs was known for changing his mind instantly in the light of new facts, and I don’t know anyone who thought he was weak.”
“You don’t have to ask permission to take responsibility.”
“You’ll never stumble upon the unexpected if you stick only to the familiar.”
“By ignoring my fear, I learned that the fear was groundless. Over the years, I have met people who took what seemed the safer path and were the lesser for it…I had taken a risk, and that risk yielded that greatest reward…Always take a chance on better, even if it seems threatening.”
Here’s to taking risks, being creative, believing anything is possible, and inventing the future of your dreams. To infinity and beyond.