Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Investment at Pixar!

Pixar's area of expertise is in the production and distribution of animated motion picture films.By putting a value on a stock requires so many steps, few of which relate to the actual technology or industry. Familiarity with an industry can be helpful in this process, but that's usually a minor factor really. What's more important is how they're going to generate earnings over the long haul, at a rate greater than that of the overall market, relative to the equity or capital invested - that's what generates value and justifies buying a stock. Knowing that requires intimate knowledge of their customers, competitors, pricing, and ability to maintain advantages in all of these areas, as well as - very important - their finances. If anything, I believe that industry familiarity can be a bad thing, because it leads to investments driven by interests and product preferences rather than by analyses about "what's likely to make me the most money, at reasonable risk, over the long haul?" At the end of the day, that's the reason to buy a stock.

 You may know about growth plans that will strengthen Pixar's earnings over the long term, and be able to trade on that information because it's not "insider info." And as such you might have knowledge that not every analyst or investor has. There's a big difference between liking a company and its products, and liking its stock. "Great" companies don't always make great investments.

If you have $1000, and if you would like to invest, I will STOP you from doing that. It's simply one of those Investing 101 kinds of rules. There are thousands of companies in dozens of industries and by buying just one you really increase your risks of failure. So that raises the bigger question...even if you decide Pixar is a good long-term investment, how much of your net investable money should you put into it? I generally shoot for at least 15 if not 25 or more individual stocks, when buying individual stocks, simply to diversify away these company-specific risks. Alternatively, there's the approach of buying an individual stock alongside a portfolio of diversified mutual funds that hold the bulk of your money.

Work at Pixar: Dream for many 3D lovers!

Whenever I work on PIXAR blog I think why can't I join the family of Pixar, a place for bright individuals with fresh outlook. In Pixar, I will be working side by side with some of the most brilliant minds in their fields, interspersing my own ideas with theirs to collectively make the best fields.

Cool working culture sets Pixar apart from different companies.The other thing that is really exciting about Pixar is the fact that we're always pushing the envelope in terms of technology. I think Pixar is one of the few animation companies out there with its own R&D group.  One of the great things that inspired me in Pixar is Lunches that were organized. They have an hour or so for lunch talking to some of the top people at Pixar, including Ed Catmull. 

Pixar seems to be in the midst of their own golden age, making interesting, widely watched and visually stunning films, and that's a really exciting thing to be a part of.The single biggest attraction to working at Pixar was and still is the movies. Pixar is not a gloomy cubicle farm like so many companies  but a bright, happy place full of well adjusted people. Though this company is older than I am, I feel like it has retained a vibrant, youthful spirit."

Pixar Canada opens in Vancouver

Pixar Canada, Pixar's new satellite studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, was officially opened today. Selected members of the press were invited to visit the studio's 7,000-square-foot space inside a historic building located in Vancouver's Gastown district. B.C. premier Gordon Campbell (that like a "governor" for you Americans) came out for the unveiling.

According to Amir Nasrabadi, general manager of the Vancouver studio, Pixar hopes to expand its Canadian facilities to 20,000-25,000 sq. ft., perhaps moving to another location in the city at some point.

 The Canadian studio "will begin training new staff in late May, and start work on its first short film by early August". There are currently twenty people on the payroll; the plan is to hire several dozen employees within the next year and a half.

As previously announced, Pixar Canada will focus exclusively on the production of non-theatrical short films and other projects based on Pixar's "legacy characters", such as Cars Toons and the rumoured Toy Story Toons. Using a "pipeline system", work done in Vancouver will be seen immediately in Emeryville, where the final stages of production on the shorts will take place.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pixars workplace Culture

Pixar's phenomenal success in its relatively short history was an eye-opener for the industry. Between 1995 and May 2006, it won 19 academy awards, and in the process reinvented the art of animation.

Analysts were of the view that Pixar with its 730 odd employees had garnered a reputation as a place where creative genius thrived, and had far outpaced the bigger and more institutionalized Disney in the years preceding the acquisition.

"For us now, the high-water mark is Pixar. I remember just a few years ago when students wanted to go to work for Disney. Now they want to go to Pixar," said Dug Ward (Ward), manager of the Animation Workshop at the University of California in Los Angeles film school. Analysts attributed Pixar's success to its distinctive approach to the workplace, which was in stark contrast to the Hollywood model...

Pixar's Culture- The Early Years

In its early years, Pixar was a tightly knit group of about 40 people, many of whom had been working together since the 1970s. Alan Deutschman, author of the book, 'The Second Coming of Steve Jobs,' describes the group as "a nomadic tribe of high-tech gypsies moving from one multimillionaire's think tank to another's".

Pixar's employees were non-conventional. Many of them would arrive at work by lunchtime and work late into the night. Some analysts described the culture at Pixar as "anti-corporate" but even they appreciated the fact that this culture made the company not only highly productive but also a laid-back fun place to work. They worked in a shabby office, with employees moving around barefoot, some even bringing their pets to work. They did not expect to make much money but stuck to their jobs due to its unconventional atmosphere and with the dream of doing something completely new. The company's philosophy was to 'hire people who are better than we are'. This was evident when Catmull and Smith brought in Lasseter, an animator at Disney, in 1984

Thursday, November 18, 2010

PIXAR: Lean and Innovation working together!

Hollywood animation company Pixar, the maker of blockbuster movies including the “Toy Story” series and “Finding Nemo,” is a good example of how innovation and lean practices can enhance outcomes. Pixar has combined lean and innovation to good effect, according to Kartik Hosanagar, Wharton professor of operations and information management. Working within the movie industry “where lack of predictability is the norm,” Pixar has created a set of processes that emphasizes team-based collaboration and continuous feedback loops to help overcome creative blocks and track deliverables, but without the stress that could go with a regime of control.

Part of what helps Pixar succeed is a model of working in which the individual is as valuable to the team as the team is to the individual. To help structure fruitful interactions, Pixar has instituted a system of daily meetings where team members talk about what they have or have not accomplished each day and others provide feedback. The point is not to track people. "In a creative world you often hit roadblocks, and team-based collaboration is critical," he explains. "People might discuss work that is clearly in an incomplete stage; they don't have to feel embarrassed." The process involves cross-company teams, too, where one team working on a project might get feedback from another team working on a totally different project.


For the venerable animation giant, the move is a significant bet on Pixar's digital approach as the successor to the pen-and-ink industry popularized by Walt Disney. The purchase is also the latest indication of a tectonic collision between technology and Hollywood.

Two Pixar veterans will head Disney's animation efforts. Ed Catmull, who had served as Pixar's president, was named president of the combined Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. John Lasseter, the Pixar executive vice president who is widely regarded as the studio's creative leader, was named chief creative officer. Pixar will remain in its San Francisco Bay Area headquarters.

Jobs said Pixar's main choices came down to selling out to Disney or working with another studio under a deal like Lucasfilm has with Twentieth Century Fox, in which the larger studio gets only a distribution fee. The latter option was somewhat attractive, Jobs said, but would still result in an arrangement with "two companies with two separate sets of shareholders and two different agendas."