Pixar’s Founder: ‘Failure is a Necessary Consequence of Doing Something New’

Pixar founder Ed Catmull can lay claim to a lot of successes, from the first computer-animated feature film (“Toy Story”) to the studio’s latest hit, “Coco.” In between there was a $7.4 billion acquisition of the pioneering Emeryville, Calif. animation company by Disney.

But Catmull says that in pursuing success in business and life, “zero dumb ideas is not the right goal,” and that supportive work environments only arise when people see that it’s acceptable to experiment — and occasionally, fail.

Catmull spoke last fall at Hubspot’s Inbound conference in Boston; he serves as President of both Pixar and Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios, the filmmaking group that traces its roots to the silent film era. These are excerpts from his keynote talk, much of which was based on his 2014 book “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.”

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