Notebook for
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Catmull, Ed
Citation (APA): Catmull, E. (2014). Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration [Kindle Android version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Part I: Getting Started
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 3: A Defining Goal > Page 43
THERE IS NOTHING quite like ignorance combined with a driving need to succeed to force rapid learning.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 4: Establishing Pixar’s Identity > Page 71
One morning in June, an overtired artist drove to work with his infant child strapped into the backseat, intending to deliver the baby to day care on the way. Some time later, after he’d been at work for a few hours, his wife (also a Pixar employee) happened to ask him how drop- off had gone— which is when he realized that he’d left their child in the car in the broiling Pixar parking lot. They rushed out to find the baby unconscious and poured cold water over him immediately. Thankfully, the child was okay, but the trauma of this moment— the what- could- have- been— was imprinted deeply on my brain. Asking this much of our people, even when they wanted to give it, was not acceptable. I had expected the road to be rough, but I had to admit that we were coming apart. By the time the film was complete, a full third of the staff would have some kind of repetitive stress injury.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 4: Establishing Pixar’s Identity > Page 72
The takeaway here is worth repeating: Getting the team right is the necessary precursor to getting the ideas right. It is easy to say you want talented people, and you do, but the way those people interact with one another is the real key. Even the smartest people can form an ineffective team if they are mismatched.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 4: Establishing Pixar’s Identity > Page 72
There is an important principle here that may seem obvious, yet— in my experience— is not obvious at all. Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 4: Establishing Pixar’s Identity > Page 73
Ideas come from people. Therefore, people are more important than ideas.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 4: Establishing Pixar’s Identity > Page 79
time, John coined a new phrase: “Quality is the best business plan.”
Part II: Protecting the New
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 6: Fear and Failure > Page 110
simple: Experiments are fact- finding missions that, over time, inch scientists toward greater understanding.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 6: Fear and Failure > Page 111
Creating art or developing new products in a for- profit context is complicated and expensive.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 6: Fear and Failure > Page 112
When it comes to creative endeavors, the concept of zero failures is worse than useless. It is counterproductive.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 6: Fear and Failure > Page 121
Getting middle managers to tolerate (and not feel threatened by) problems and surprises is one of our most important jobs;
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 6: Fear and Failure > Page 122
Fear can be created quickly; trust can’t. Leaders must demonstrate their trustworthiness, over time, through their actions— and the best way to do that is by responding well to failure.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 6: Fear and Failure > Page 125
Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the ability to recover.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 7: The Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby > Page 135
In a healthy culture, all constituencies recognize the importance of balancing competing desires— they want to be heard, but they don’t have to win.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 7: The Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby > Page 136
But if every day is sunny and it doesn’t rain, things don’t grow.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 8: Change and Randomness > Page 148
One trick I’ve learned is to force myself to make a list of what’s actually wrong.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 8: Change and Randomness > Page 148
Having a finite list of problems is much better than having an illogical feeling that everything is wrong.”
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 8: Change and Randomness > Page 149
I’ve heard some people describe creativity as ‘unexpected connections between unrelated concepts or ideas.’
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 8: Change and Randomness > Page 153
When managing a company that is often in the news, as Pixar is, we must be careful not to believe our own hype.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 8: Change and Randomness > Page 163
I know that a lot of our successes came because we had pure intentions and great talent, and we did a lot of things right, but I also believe that attributing our successes solely to our own intelligence, without acknowledging the role of accidental events, diminishes us.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 8: Change and Randomness > Page 163
Since change is inevitable, the question is: Do you act to stop it and try to protect yourself from it, or do you become the master of change by accepting it and being open to it? My view, of course, is that working with change is what creativity is about. CHAPTER
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 9: The Hidden > Page 166
companies go off the rails because of unreasonable growth or profitability expectations, which force them into poor short- term decisions.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 9: The Hidden > Page 172
That kind of openness is only possible in a culture that acknowledges its own blind spots.
Part III: Building and Sustaining
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 10: Broadening Our View > Page 191
Even though copying what’s come before is a guaranteed path to mediocrity, it appears to be a safe choice, and the desire to be safe— to succeed with minimal risk— can infect not just individuals but also entire companies.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 10: Broadening Our View > Page 202
These three- to six- minute films, each of which might cost as much as two million dollars to make, certainly don’t yield any profits for the company; in the immediate term, then, they’re hard to justify.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 10: Broadening Our View > Page 214
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is a maxim that is taught and believed by many in both the business and education sectors. But in fact, the phrase is ridiculous— something said by people who are unaware of how much is hidden.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 11: The Unmade Future > Page 223
He believes that leadership is about making your best guess and hurrying up about it so if it’s wrong, there’s still time to change course.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 11: The Unmade Future > Page 230
What interests me is the number of people who believe that they have the ability to drive the train and who think that this is the power position— that driving the train is the way to shape their companies’ futures. The truth is, it’s not. Driving the train doesn’t set its course. The real job is laying the track.
Part IV: Testing what we Know
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 12: A New Challenge > Page 257
After this meeting, three members of the crew took it upon themselves, over the weekend, to remodel and rerig Rhino. Within a week, the project was back on track. Why was a problem that took a few days to solve originally projected to take six months? The answer, I think, lay in the fact that for too long, the leaders of Disney Animation placed a higher value on error prevention than anything else.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 12: A New Challenge > Page 266
Would it have been easier simply to wire bonuses into employees’ direct deposit accounts? Yes. But like I always say when talking about making a movie, easy isn’t the goal. Quality is the goal.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 13: Notes Day > Page 270
Managers of creative companies must never forget to ask themselves: “How do we tap the brainpower of our people?”
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 13: Notes Day > Page 280
“We didn’t just want to make lists of cool things we could do. The goal was to identify passionate people who would take ideas forward. We wanted to put people with clever insights in front of Pixar’s executive team.”
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 13: Notes Day > Page 286
What made Notes Day work? To me, it boils down to three factors. First, there was a clear and focused goal. This wasn’t a free- for- all but a wide- ranging discussion (organized around topics suggested not by Human Resources or by Pixar’s executives, but by the company’s employees) aimed at addressing a specific reality: the need to cut our costs by 10 percent.
Afterword: The Steve We Knew
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 13: Notes Day > Page 289
He recognized that many rules were in fact arbitrary. Yes, he tested boundaries and crossed the line at times.
Starting Points: Thoughts for Managing a Creative Culture
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 13: Notes Day > Page 289
If there is more truth in the hallways than in meetings, you have a problem.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 13: Notes Day > Page 289
Careful “messaging” to downplay problems makes you appear to be lying, deluded, ignorant, or uncaring. Sharing problems is an act of inclusion that makes employees feel invested in the larger enterprise.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 13: Notes Day > Page 289
Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
Highlight (yellow) - Chapter 13: Notes Day > Page 289
The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal— it leads to measuring people by the mistakes they make rather than by their ability to solve problems.