Design Better
The Design Better Podcast
Ed Catmull: Creative lessons from Lucasfilm to Pixar and beyond

Ed Catmull: Creative lessons from Lucasfilm to Pixar and beyond

Episode 81 of the Design Better Podcast

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Welcome to our second Design Better episode on the creative process. You may not know Ed Catmull’s name, but there’s almost no doubt you’re familiar with his work. As the co-founder of Pixar, he’s responsible for helping to create movies ranging from the original Toy Story on through The Incredibles, Wall-E, Moana, and Inside Out. 

Ed has a background in computer science, and as someone who pioneered many of the computer graphics and digital animation techniques that we now take for granted, he has a unique perspective on the intersection of technology and creativity.

We chat with Ed about his transition from creating things himself, to leading creative teams; the elements of a sustainable creative culture, and how to give people feedback so they’ll actually listen to you.

Ed also collaborated with Steve Jobs longer than probably anyone else who knew him—for over 30 years—and we hear some stories that haven’t been told anywhere else. 

One more quick thing before we go: we have some amazing guests lined up for our upcoming AMAs, like Judy Wert Debbie Millman, which are filling up quickly. Go to our events page and you can register for free.

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Dr. Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and the former president of Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios. For over twenty-five years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing #1 box office hits that include iconic works such as Toy Story, Frozen, Cars, and The Incredibles. Pixar’s works have grossed more than $14 billion at the worldwide box office, and won twenty-three Academy Awards®, 10 Golden Globes Awards, and 11 Grammys, among countless other achievements.

Dr. Ed Catmull’s book Creativity, Inc.—co-written with journalist Amy Wallace and years in the making—is a distillation of the ideas and management principles he has used to develop a creative culture. A book for managers who want to encourage a growth mindset and lead their employees to new heights, it also grants readers an all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history have been made.

Dr. Catmull has been honored with five Academy Awards®, including an Oscar of Lifetime Achievement for his technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry. He also has been awarded the Turing Award by the world’s largest society of computing professionals, the Association for Computing Machinery, for his work on three-dimensional computer graphics.

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Design Better
The Design Better Podcast
Design Better co-hosts Eli Woolery and Aarron Walter explore the intersection of design, technology, and the creative process through conversations with inspiring guests across many creative fields. Whether you’re design curious or a design pro, Design Better is guaranteed to inspire and inform. Episodes are released semi-weekly. Vanity Fair calls Design Better, “sharp, to the point, and full of incredibly valuable information for anyone looking to better understand how to build a more innovative world.”