Disney’s Magical Innovations

by dovetailedlife

John Gruber posted this video earlier on Daring Fireball today. Believe me, it is worth your precious time.

I am constantly amazed by the incredible amounts of ingenuity and time that go into animation. I am more amazed day by day by how much Disney has led the animation industry with technological innovations since its inception. I suppose that Gruber’s comment sums it up the best:

Using technology to tell better stories, and make better movies. He’d have loved Pixar.

The amount of technology that Walt Disney had employed in his company since the beginning to make the products (both the films and theme parks) better had passed many many others. There are not many companies in the world that have such artistic and technological approaches woven together to create not only great products that sell, but also pieces of art.

The only other company that I think compares to the Walt Disney company in these regards is Apple. They have lots of things in common with each other: a different outlook on how the current marketplace could be changed by innovation, company held secrets (they wouldn’t have been able to afford the land for Walt Disney World any other way), expensive prices, well thought-out market strategies and plans, very few huge mistakes (Michael Eisner had to be one of the biggest), and well-intentioned and marvelous leadership.

There is one more thing though: Magic.

All of the technological innovations that each company employ go to one thing: to make the way that the user interacts with the content magical.  With Disney it was making a seemingly 2D artistic rendering come alive by seeming…real. When Disney set out to create their theme parks, they wanted the guests to feel as if they were ACTUALLY IN some sort of fantasy land. It work so well that others copied it.

With Apple it is making communicating, interacting, and accomplishing work with a seemingly difficult computer as easy as possible. They introduced an entire new way of computing so that the personal computer could change the way people interacted with everyday life. They did it again with the iPhone. And again with the iPad. This, also, worked so well that others copied it.

There’s a bit of magic inside of both of these companies.

My only concern is that Disney’s outline since Walt’s departure may be foreshadowing the outline of Apple after Steve’s departure. We all know how Walt left his company. We all know what happened next to Disney.  I don’t want that to be the way that Steve leaves Apple.

-B

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