Under the Watchful Eye of Steve Jobs Lies Brad Bird’s Army


We’re still pretty worn out from just having returned to semi-normalcy, so here’s just a little bit of interesting to end this writer’s day upon. Making the rounds lately is Pixar‘s Brad Bird talking to The McKinsey Quarterly, discussing how he manages such gigantic teams of designers, engineers, tech people, etc. and still retaining a quality product. Although the McKinsey site itself requires registration and all that, Gigaom has a nice rundown/synopsis of the whole thing, hitting on nine key lessons Bird brings to the table. Even if you don’t care a lick about management stuff, it’s a really interesting take on how things work at the mother of all animation studios. Here’s one part about working for Steve Jobs:

Then there’s our building. Steve Jobs basically designed this building. In the center, he created this big atrium area, which seems initially like a waste of space. The reason he did it was that everybody goes off and works in their individual areas. People who work on software code are here, people who animate are there, and people who do designs are over there. Steve put the mailboxes, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria, and, most insidiously and brilliantly, the bathrooms in the center — which initially drove us crazy — so that you run into everybody during the course of a day. [Jobs] realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.