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Pixar Co-Founder Ed Catmull On The Art & Science Of Creativity, How To Do Your Best Work, Bring Out The Best In Others & Lead From the Front

By October 23, 2023No Comments
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Episode #789



Every once in a while there’s a generational thinker that emerges from the most unlikely of places.

Someone capable of straddling the complexities of new industries without losing their grasp on historical and cultural perspectives. A person willing to forge new paths in new ways toward a brighter future for all.

Ed Catmull is one such generational thinker.

As co-founder of Pixar and later as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Ed played a key role in shaping a unique company culture of collaboration and creativity. He’s a mastermind of innovation, a pioneer of groundbreaking technology, and a leader when it comes to using great storytelling to forge a better world.

If you’ve ever been captivated by the beloved films Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and my personal favorite, WALL-E, you have Ed to thank for that.

“If you don’t try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill-prepared to lead.”


Today we discuss the leadership and management principles that built Pixar’s unique and successful studio. More specifically, we talk about the insights that have fueled Ed’s career, the workplace practices he leverages to build creative teams, and his personal philosophy of embracing failure as a path to growth.

We also dive into his fascinating life journey, one that included both personal and professional relationships with George Lucas and Steve Jobs.

There is so much to be learned from his story, including some wild industry insights during his stewardship at Pixar and Disney, where he navigated through the ups and downs of the entertainment industry, all while delivering blockbuster after blockbuster, and garnering eighteen Academy Awards along the way.

This is the stuff of legend.

The visually inclined can watch this one on YouTube or Spotify. As always, the audio version streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts.

If you’re a creator or manager of any kind, or if you’re simply looking to glean wisdom from one of the most fascinating and accomplished people alive, then you’re in for a treat.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.

Peace + Plants,

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Thank The Team: I do not do this alone. Send your love to Jason Camiolo for audio engineering, production, show notes and interstitial music; with additional audio engineering by Cale Curtis and additional music by Moby; Blake Curtis & Dan Drake for video, & editing; graphics by Jessica Miranda & Daniel Solis; portraits by Davy Greenberg, Grayson Wilder & Gizelle Peters; video clips for social media are created by AJ Akpodiete; copywriting by Georgia Whaley; and theme music by Tyler Piatt, Trapper Piatt & Hari Mathis.

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