Tag » art

Walt Disney as Entrepreneur

US postage stamp of 1968 depicting :en:Walt Disney

For a great lesson in entrepreneurship, I warmly recommend visiting the brand new Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco’s Presidio Park. Apart from being a beautiful museum with lots of wonderful artwork, it also illustrates the phenomenal entrepreneurial spirit that made Walt Disney the success that he was:

  • Walt was ambitious and tenacious. He started his first studio at age 21, and when that went bankrupt, he started another one.
  • Walt understood his audience. Right from the start he knew to focus on the story (inventing the storyboard) and on the characters (inventing character animation, where all of a character’s movements map to his personality and feelings).
  • In addition to being a creative genius, Walt was an inventor who understood the importance of new technology. He invented synchronized sound for cartoons, and invested in new techniques such as multi-plane cameras and Technicolor.
  • Walt was a shrewd businessman. He got a 2 year exclusive on Technicolor, licensed his characters to merchandisers early on, and syndicated them to comic drawers.
  • Walt was a good boss. Animation was a hugely labor-intensive art,  and Walt made sure his employees had great facilities and opportunities for education. There were some strike issues in the early 40s, but you can tell from the quotes that most of his employees loved him.
  • Walt took risks, always reinventing himself. Just as Mickey was taking off, he created a series of experimental, music-themed animations. Snow White was the first feature-length animated movie, and a hugely expensive gamble. During WW2, rather than closing the studios, he put them to work creating educational and inspirational videos for the war effort.
  • Walt was an optimist, who dreamed big and let no one get in the way of making those dreams reality.

I found it incredibly inspiring to learn about the life of this great man, and the passion with which he brought so much joy to all of us. And with that, I’m going to put the Jungle Book at the top of my Netflix queue:

What is a moment?

What is a moment? Here’s one answer from the excellent science podcast Radiolab:

So simple, so plain, so beautiful. Via Jonah Lehrer’s equally excellent blog The Frontal Cortex.

PS: Is the soundtrack by Sigur Ros? It reminds me of Heima. Shazam won’t recognize it…

Deadline on a post-it

DEADLINE is a fun stop-motion animation using post-its. My first thought was “wow, that must have taken a long time to make”. Then I realized it was a senior thesis project. Ah, college…

Update: the making-of is super cool too. Thanks to Eduardo for spotting this and posting in the comments.

Confusion rug

This rug is hilarious, thanks Amit! I wish it were for sale… though I suppose it’s easy enough to make.

Incidentally, Amit started the excellent Photojojo site and store. If you’re into photography, I recommend checking it out.

Gaussian Goat

Gaussian Goat. For those who don’t use Photoshop, this is a joke on the commonly-used Gaussian Blur feature.

Folds on a sheet of paper

Simon Schubert creates beautiful art with a few folds on a sheet of paper (thanks Braden!).

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2009-5-15-5:58 PM #   

Breaking wave in HD

Amazing video of a breaking wave. Click through to watch it in HD. (via Kottke)

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2009-5-15-5:42 PM #   

Long-exposure of a Roomba’s path

My friend Noah links to this awesome long-exposure shot of a Roomba’s path.

This illustrates nicely the design insight that made the Roomba successful. Electrolux has a competing robotic vacuum, the Trilobite. It has a sophisticated on-board computer to optimize its path through a room. And yet, at close to $2000, its more of a design demo than a viable commercial product.

iRobot on the other hand (the makers of the Roomba) realized that it wasn’t a big deal if the robot was inefficient. They made a “dumb” robot, that worked its way haphazardly around the room. And by doing so, they got the price down to a couple of hundred dollars.

Guess who was more successful? The Trilobite might be a better vacuum, but the Roomba offers better value. Which reminds me; I need to use my Roomba for more than party entertainment (sadly, I haven’t been too impressed by its performance…).

Bathroom art

Brillo Bathroom

Someday, I want a bathroom with creative tile art.

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2009-5-10-6:10 PM #