Zero to 10M in 1 day - Lessons from Disney+ Success

If you were one of the 10MM-15MM subscribers of Disney+, you are proof enough of the great Disney marketing machine's execution chops, and could tell Disney+ is an almost-instant success.

There are many lessons to learn from -
  • Power of deep, no-nonsense content/catalog: You gotta have substance, and high quality content. Disney put their entire catalog of movies, shows and original content "on the line". Content over style always wins.
  • Getting the Ps just right: They didn't rely just on the sanctity of the Disney brand, they literally put the money where the mouth is & got the pricing right - with the biggest draw being the ARPU at $7/mo or $6/mo for the annual plan. Users & customers matter more when you are scaling out.
  • Leveraging mega brands: that resonate with Disney+ (Disney+Pixar+Marvel+Star Wars+National Geographic, get it? The "+" here makes all the sense compared to Apple TV+)
  • Right ratio of "brains to ballsy": They bet the entire house (of mouse) on the SVOD service cannibalizing home videos, and licensing fees. Take the big risk and invest in the future, go all-in shows the commitment to the future vs. holding onto the past.
  • Nailing the synergy: From SVOD content, to theme parks to movie characters/content to cruise ships to merchandising, it's just a dizzying array of virtuous revenue loop.
    The sum of the parts is always greater than the whole, if the parts are parlayed smartly creating a flywheel.
It's probably too soon to declare victory while NFLX barrels at high pace, but curious if there are other lessons.

Naval Ravikant's Secret to Reading Books

Naval Ravikant is one of my go-to guys for practical wisdom & advice on investing, entrepreneurship and mindfulness. He is an extraordinary investor, entrepreneur, thinker & a brilliant venture hacker; currently the CEO & co-founder of AngelList, and an early investor in companies like Uber, Twitter, Yammer, and many others. 
In this clip, he shares his insights on how he reads books, reading to learn & other lessons. 

Here’s the link to the full podcast with Joe Rogan; it’s brilliant if you have time.

What makes Pixar special - Ed Catmull shares a few secrets

Copyright Disney/Pixar
Pixar, an amazing source of creative inspiration to me, has dominated the modern animation world, and is a hub of creative success where some of the most successful films in history are made.

Ed Catmull, co-founder & president of Pixar shares what he thinks makes Pixar special in his book Creativity, Inc. -- 

“What makes Pixar special is that we acknowledge we will always have problems, many of them hidden from our view; that we work hard to uncover these problems, even if doing so means making ourselves uncomfortable; and that, when we come across a problem, we marshal all of our energies to solve it. This, more than any elaborate party or turreted workstation, is why I love coming to work in the morning. It is what motivates me and gives me a definite sense of mission.”

Here're 4 lessons: 
  1. If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.
  2. Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.
  3. The goal was to hire people smarter and more qualified than him. This takes leaders who are humble enough to admit when they might be outclassed by those reporting to them. The best workers lead to better work and better outcomes.
  4. If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand it’s nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
  5. It is not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.
  6. A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.

How to fast-track your career: 8 tips

So how do you get ahead in your career and grow faster than the average employee? I get this question a lot -- from my team, company, employees in startups I invest in and during my mentoring sessions.

Is there a formula for fast growth? Conventional wisdom is that you attend an elite college, even a top MBA program, know the right people, be politically savvy at your workplace, ask for promotions and ride your way to the top jobs.

Or is it?

Here are my 8 tips:

10 Leadership Principles by Disney CEO Bob Iger

From his job as a summer janitor to a weatherman at ABC, Bob Iger went on to be the CEO of Disney and transformed the company forever leading acquisitions like Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and launching Disney+.Bob shares some of the best advice he's got, life lessons & leadership principles he gained after more than 45 years in ABC & Disney, in his new book “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company", including his rationale behind his famous regimen of waking at 4:15 a.m. to kick start his day.

Here're 10 key leadership principles I took away from his book & his recent talk with Oprah Winfrey:

Here's my LinkedIn Post