Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them so—to go, as I say, “from suck to not-suck.”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.
So, I went back though Creativity, Inc. again this morning. This book is so chock-full of wisdom, insight, stories… It is a terrific book on: change; constant improvement; problem seeking and problem finding; collaboration; and much more. Really, one of the best business books I have ever read and presented. (I present synopses of business books at the First Friday Book Synopsis, and to leadership teams in many organizations).
And, I also think of this book as something of a third biography of Steve Jobs (in addition to the two very-worth-reading biographies Steve Jobs and Becoming Steve Jobs).
But the quote above especially grabbed me in this morning’s re-visit of the book. Think of it as a spectrum. A company, a project, a product, a movie (for this book, he was speaking of the quality of the movies at Pixar), it can range from:
then getting closer to
and finally the ultimate (to quote Steve Jobs)
But, for this to happen – to move well away from “suck” – you have to get far away from accepting “mediocre.” From the book:
Talented storytellers had found a way to make viewers care, and the evolution of this storyline made it abundantly clear to me: If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.
So, here’s my last of my five takeaways for this book:
Keep making everything, every part of everything, better!
That presents quite a challenge, doesn’t it?
You might want to also read this earlier blog post: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull – Key Thoughts, and My Five Lessons and Takeaways.