It's the crazy obsessive fanboy sites like this that convince the Disney number cruncher types that they can comfortably mock all of thier internet fan base. I've seen the discussions and it's pretty painful. When a creative type brings up a fan point of view (which frequently matches their own as well), the first sneering question is a variation on "Did you read that from some nutty fansite?" Do we hate those executives? Usually. Are they and their crappy attitude going anywhere? Dream on. And even the biggest Disney geek imagineer grows weary of sites that traffic in virtually nothing but constant condemnation fueled by nostalgia. I know you think you're presenting passionate, reasoned criticism, but let me clue you in: They wrote you off as a nutjob around the time you were ranting about consumer products utilitarian office building having an employee cafeteria. You are doing more harm than good here. If you are comfortable being part of the problem, keep doing what you are doing. If you want to be a real voice in the conversation, a spoon full of sugar and all that...Now, I'm not about to get into a war here, but as I pointed out in my response to this reader, hey, this is my blog, and while I appreciate his/her perspective, I think it's a bit, um, whacked. Here is what I wrote in response:
At least you've kept up reading, Anonymous, and based on the tracking, it's clear that others at Disney are, too. That says something.
Let 'em write me off as a nutjob. I wrote them off as a nutjob a while back, too, so I like to use this to air my thoughts. That's all. Others seem to enjoy it, too.Based on the feedback I've gotten personally, I'd like to suggest this: The MARKETING types at Disney have written this off as the work of a "nutjob," while the Imagineers (or at least a fair number of them, anyway) have been incredibly supportive. I don't have a lot of respect for the marketing types, either. They're the ones who got Disney into this mess. Seen the stock price lately? Sure, if you bought a couple of years back at, say, $13, you're happy as a clam. Bought it at $50 back in '00? Not so much.
Disney was a creative company that offered new ideas. Now it's a company that markets old ones. And builds new campuses for foundering divisions. Yeah, I have a problem with that -- remember, despite what Tom Staggs wants us to think, little guys like us with a couple thousand (or hundred -- or just a couple) shares have ownership in the company, too. We have a voice in this. Your marketing teams may laugh at us, but let 'em -- the gadflys are the ones who often force change.
Some companies respect their "fanboys," court their opinions, involve them in the process. Others mock them. Guess which companies have the best creative track record?
If you work at Disney, it's sad that you call your own employees "geeks." Everyone is a "geek" if they don't share your opinion. If you don't work at Disney, maybe you should. You'd be in good company.
This isn't a war of words. It's my blog, remember -- and I'm not selling shares [in it]. I want your post to stay up here. I want your voice heard. It's an important one to have.It makes us all remember what kind of a company Disney has become.
If Disney employees are "sneering" because of a viewpoint that matches those of a fan, it makes you wonder when the sneering's going to stop ... and the listening is going to start.
Until Disney reverts to private ownership, it's not just my desire to have a voice and give a tiny place on the Internet where everyone can let their own voices be heard ... it's my privilege, my right and, well, I guess my responsibility as a tiny minority owner of The Walt Disney Company.
Thank you, again, for reminding us of just the sort of mentality that exists at Disney. Interestingly, when I worked there back in the 1990s, your mentality was the one that was "sneered" at. Now it's the one that's held up as the model example. I'll let you decide whether Disney's creative downfall just HAPPENS to mirror that timeframe, or whether there's a correlation.
I just want to briefly elaborate on my response.
It genuinely concerns me that Anonymous represents the prevailing viewpoint at The Walt Disney Company, at least among the marketing types. You see, it's exactly the dissenting voice, the "nutjob," the idealist whose ideas have created the most change in the world. I'm not at all trying to compare myself to any great thinker (some would challenge any attempt I'd make to classify myself as a thinker at all!). But there are great thinkers at Disney. There are great creative minds. There are visionary idealists. After one too many meetings with people who share the viewpoint Anonymous has, I can't imagine they'd feel particularly upbeat.
About 20 years ago, screenwriters Arnold Schulman and David Seidler wrote a screenplay for Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas called Tucker: A Man and His Dream. In it, Preston Tucker, played by Jeff Bridges, gives one of the greatest cinema speeches ever. It seems appropriate to quote it, particularly when reflecting on EPCOT.
I'd like to think Anonymous doesn't really speak for the cultural mindset at "Team Disney." All evidence, unfortunately, says he does.
"When I was a boy I read about Edison, Ford, the Wright brothers. They were my heroes. Rags to riches wasn't just the name of a book. It was what this country was all about.
"We invented the free enterprise system, where anybody, no matter who he was, where he came from, what class he belonged to, if he came up with a better idea for anything, there was no limit to how far he could go.
"But I grew up a generation too late, I guess. The way the system works now, the loner, the crackpot, the dreamer with some damn-fool idea that ends up revolutionizing the world, well, someone like that is squashed by big business before he knows what hit him. The new bureaucrats would rather kill a new idea than let it rock the boat.
"If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he'd probably get arrested for flying a kite without a license.
"We're all puffed up with ourselves right now because we invented the A-bomb and we beat the daylights out of the Nazis and the Japanese … but if big business closes the door to the little guy--you, me--the little guy with new ideas, we've not only closed the door to progress and hard work, we've sabotaged everything we fought for. We might just as well let the Japanese and the Germans walk in here and tell us what to do. What's the difference? If new ideas can't be allowed to
flourish, then we've just exchanged one set of rulers for another. Right?"