Saturday, January 28, 2006

My heart goes out to Pixar employees today: Laurence Simon

Swank Home

Laurence Simon

(Via Roger L. Simon (no relation))

Steve Jobs sold you out for over 7 billion dollars today. Be thankful that at least your new master isn't going to be Michael Eisner, and there's hope that Steve Jobs will tell Bob Iger to stay in his office and play with Legos until retirement.

Disney has a horrible record in the past decade or so with acquisitions and selloffs.

Disney choked long after the attempt to swallow Cap-Cities/ABC, demoralizing the network, O&O's, and newspapers. Buena Vista television went from producing a few hits to an endless stream of crap. ESPN took at least five years to stabilize the strong brand name for exploitation... one of the few success stories.

They turned Starwave into the miserable, hung Naughton out to dry. Then they farmed out inside business to iXL when they couldn't manage it, only to bribe iXL to crawl away before revamping their online strategy.

FOX Family cost billions to buy and hundreds of millions to retool into the inferior ABC Family product, earning Disney a big pus-filled boil of debt on its ass instead of valuable real estate on the cable lineups to use as a negotiating tool for ABC, Disney, and ESPN.

They lost the magic-touch Weinsteins with the takeover of Miramax, going from an Oscar-factory to a bomb factory.

Shedding the newspaper/publishing dinosaurs showed their inability to take moribund industries and revamp them for Media 2.0.

Dumping the radio network shows a similar inability to take existing assets and transform them to the new digital realities. (They're betting on iPods and satellite distribution)

The Mighty Ducks were a huge mistake in the first place. Nothing's more expensive than a mismanaged sports franchise.

My prediction with Pixar? They built up a horribly expensive inhouse animation team under Eisner to replace Pixar when Eisner stubbornly refused to negotiate with the vastly superior managerial talent and vision of Jobs. That team will be a nightmare to integrate with Pixar, and the rivalry can either be a good thing or a bad thing.

Good thing: a spirit of "co-opetition" is formed, getting the two groups to compete for projects and one-up each other Oscar and Emmy-wise. Or one is engineered for film and DVD production while the other is focused towards repurposing/re-envisioning film assets to television product for broadcast and cable.

Bad thing: Envy builds up between concessions to either group, duplication of effort, fighting over projects, one is forced to be the "gruntworker" of the other, etc.

We'll see how Jobs manages the transition and integrates the two units.

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