Daily Figment 21


Can you tell us who said this?

Companies like Disney are always founded by creative entrepreneurs but eventually the founder dies or gets pushed out, or moves on to something else. Inevitably the business people take over- the managers- and they focus on preserving the vision that made the company great in the first place. They don’t have any creative ideas themselves and they end up surrounding themselves instead with analysts and accountants to try to control the creative people and cut costs. In the process, they discourage change and new initiatives and reinvention. In time, the company begins to ossify and atrophy and die. It’s important to have financial parameters and never to bet the house, which is how we always protected [a certain studio]. But in a creative business you also have to be willing to take chances and even to fail sometimes, because otherwise nothing innovative is ever going to happen. If you’re only comfortable running a business by the numbers, I can understand that. But then you shouldn’t get involved in a creatively driven company like Disney.

Tune in tomorrow to find out. In the mean time, post some of your thoughts and answers.


Eisner to Sid Bass (Disney Board of Directors and the single, largest shareholder) over a speaker phone in 1984, to make his case for the position of CEO of Disney. Sid agreed and gave Eisner his vote. The studio in question was Paramount.

-Disney War, James R Stewart, pg 53

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2 thoughts on “Daily Figment 21

  1. Since the Disney Geeks are all about the irony I would have to say that quote would be attributed to Mr. Eisner.

    The quote is very accurate and isn’t necessarily isolated to companies like Disney who entertain. I’ve seen this in any company that has been founded on vision and innovation. Look at Apple. It faltered terribly after Jobs was forced out and look what happened when he came back

  2. I don’t know who said it for Disney proper, but Bob Cringley (computer columnist, now writing at pbs.org) wrote something very similar in his book Triumph of the Nerds back in 1992 about general startups and how the some of the high tech startups were different because many of the founders are still with the company. In particular, he used it (as described by grumpwurst above) on Apple which died massively under Sculley.

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