042: Lessons From Pixar Animation Studios



From Buzz Lightyear’s “To infinity and beyond!” to Dory’s “Just keep swimming” and Ellie’s heart-string-tugging “Adventure is out there!”—there’s no debate on how impactful and influential Pixar has been over the last couple of decades.

When Jeff was in California, he had the opportunity to tour the creative powerhouse and is sharing his lessons with us on today’s podcast.


Pixar Animation Studios

LYP 035: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull [Executive Minds Book Review]

Ed Catmull’s 10 Lessons on Leadership and Creativity


1. Ask Big

This lesson happened before Jeff even stepped into the Pixar building. He knew he would be in California, and he knew that he wanted to tour the facility. So he asked. At the time he asked, he figured there was almost no chance of his email being seen let alone answered, but sure enough, it worked out. When you don’t ask big, you’ve already told yourself no. 

2. Invite Feedback

Pixar movies aren’t great because every idea they have is great, they’re great because they invite and recruit feedback. When you create in a vacuum, it’s hard to see anyone else’s perspective other than your own. Feedback is critical to your success.

3. Playfulness is serious business

On one hand, the Pixar brand is funny and playful and incredibly creative. But on the other, Pixar is a movie powerhouse with multimillion dollar budgets and goals to manage. It could be easy to get caught up in the high-pressure situations of hitting deadlines and coming up with the next iconic movie, but Pixar keeps playfulness central to their company culture.