By Carl HoweI've heard a lot of skepticsm about my optimistic view on Disney's acquisition of Pixar. The argument is largely, "Disney is old and stale; they'll bore Pixar to death." And I have to say, there are a bunch of ways Disney could screw this up, particularly if they cut out John Lasseter or Ed Catmull from the action -- they really are the heart and soul of Pixar.
But they are the guys with the unbeatable track records, not Disney. I expect the Disney crew will treat them with respect. And remember, with Jobs sitting on the board and being the largest stockholder, he can make a big stink if Disney goes in the wrong direction. And we know he isn't afraid to do things like that.
But they can do better than not screwing it up. One of the best things that Disney could do is to transfer all its animation staff to the new Pixar headquarters up at Emeryville, CA, and let Pixar continue running as a division of Disney. That facility was built for creative animators (have you heard about the original concept of only one bathroom for the entire building to ensure people interacted?!), and I think it would do wonders for boosting Disney animation's morale as well as keeping the Pixar magic alive. If they do that, watch out. It ain't going to be your father's Disney any more -- and it will be a lot more like when Walt was running the place.
As an aside, Walt Disney was always considered to be a tyrant in business. Maybe Jobs is just Walt coming back to haunt the place. And maybe that's just what Disney needs.
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