Thursday, April 16, 2009

If you have a Roy, find a Walt (and vice versa)

I've been thinking about Disney lately - especially about a personal link between Disney behavior and Amazon behavior, but I still have to write that post. At this point, suffice it to say that while Disney has often been criticized, it is more often than not held up as a standard to which many companies aspire. Disney's intense devotion to customer service is only outpaced by its fanatical commitment, for good or ill, to maintaining its brand against all enemies, real or imagined.

G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón recently wrote a BusinessWeek article entitled "Are You a Walt Disney or a Roy Disney?". A brief excerpt:

[T]he next time you are marveling at the wonders of Disney (DIS), make sure you remember Roy. While Walt was dreaming about his Magic Kingdom and making a mouse talk, his brother Roy was actually making sure that Walt's dreams would come true. Roy was the operational genius; a yin for Walt's yang.

If you read the entire BusinessWeek article, you see that Maddock and Vitón not only state that both Walts and Roys are needed, but that entities that have one group in-house recognize this, and work with groups of the other kind. For example:

Venture capital companies are full of Roy Disneys, and they know it, so they don't waste time trying to think up new ideas. They know what they are good at and go do it.

Makes sense. For every Steve Wozniak who comes up with an insane idea, you need a Mike Markkula to help him deliver it. This is what Woz said:

The few of us that made up Apple at this time were all there to meet people and show them what we had. Mike Markkula talked to store owners and gave them legal paperwork to establish accounts with us and start ordering. We were a rare company at this time to even have such a professional approach. Almost all the companies had amateur technologies and amateur business practices.

So, are you a Walt, or a Roy?

blog comments powered by Disqus