From Above




Luckily I missed this, but my friends who have older kids, and especially girls, tell me that the “Let it go” era was horrific. Horror stories of dads watching the movie on repeat for days on end, not getting the song out of their heads, and just generally cursing the good people at Disney for putting this out into the world.

Frozen was a smash hit. If you read Smarter Better Faster by Charles Duhig goes into detail about how they reworked Frozen from a bad start, and how they innovated the old fairytale of the Ice Queen to make this monster of a movie (the sequel did even better numbers).

The pivotal moment in the flick is when Elsa banishes herself to the mountains and belts out the iconic song. Imagine the irony when our 4-year-old decided at exactly this moment to check out of the “watching Frozen” process. We decided to go walk the dog instead.

Now, I’m glad Matie wants to rather play outside than watch movies. But I take a few nuggets from this:

  1. Even the most iconic song in one of the biggest movies of the century is lost on the wrong audience.

  2. Frozen does have a massive audience. And it serves that audience by sticking closely to the Pixar principle while innovating and iterating the final offer according to customer needs and feedback.

The challenge of leadership is to both stick to your knitting and continually innovate. Let’s take a look at the core Pixar formula:

Once upon a time…

And every day…

Until one day…

And because of this…

And because of this…

Until finally…

It’s a great riff on the Elevator Pitch. For Classic Escapes, Luxury Africa Travel Company, it would look something like this:

  • Once upon a time, Jenny wanted to take her family to Africa.

  • And every day she was nervous about going to such a rough and dangerous country.

  • Until one day she was introduced to Caroline by a friend, who talked to her for hours about the perfect and safe trip for her family.

  • And because of this, she could arrange the holiday with total peace of mind.

  • And because of this, the family enjoyed an amazing experience that changed their lives.

  • Until finally she changed her mind about Africa, told all her friends, and came back many more times.

For the founder that just hired an A-Player, it would look like this:

  • Once upon a time, Susan worked too hard.

  • And every day she felt bad about not spending more time with her kids.

  • Until one day she decided to create better systems and hire more people.

  • And because of this she could help more customers and pay her team more.

  • And because of this she could keep everyone happy and have more free time.

  • Until finally, she could still have her business, make money and spend more time with her family.

One other thing about Frozen: The song is called “Let it go”. The biggest challenge that we have as leaders and founders is to “let go”. To trust the process, and let the smart people that you’ve hired to take care of things do their job.

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