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Bob Iger Discusses Disney History vs. Innovation

Tom P.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Many of you may have seen this, but I ran across a relatively recent interview with Bob Iger on YouTube, which I thought particularly interesting in light of many of the discussions that take place on these forums.

Here's the quote I found particularly interesting regarding when he took over as CEO from Michael Eisner:

"Disney, having been founded in 1923 by Walt Disney, still had an abnormal adherence to its legacy, to its heritage, to its past. It was a religion. And what was clear to me is that if that adherence or the reverence that people had within the company for that heritage continued, it would get in the way of innovation. We would not be able to adapt quick enough, we would not be able to look at change with an open mind and an ability to seize the opportunity as opposed to just looking at its threat.

And so I started articulating in the succession process the need to balance heritage with innovation. And what I ultimately concluded was that we need to respect our past, because there are a lot of qualities about the past -- the brand attributes, what Disney stood for, a number of other things, attention to quality -- that had value and that should be, basically, carried forward into the future. But let's not revere it, because if we revere something we might as well just put it in a glass case in a museum and let people look at it and say, 'Wow, look at that.' And there's a big difference. But there were a lot of folks in the company that were more on the reverential side than the respect side, and I had to really attack that. In some cases, it meant changing out personnel. In some cases, it meant taking some big, bold decisions that felt anti-brand to some people that in my opinion weren't at all. It was more about being pro-present and future than it was about anything that would be against the past or, you know, the brand."

That portion, BTW, begins at 8:48 in the video.


Premium Member
Thanks for posting this.

I haven't watched the video yet, maybe tomorrow. I'll need that time to allow my blood pressure to drop and my head to stop hurting after reading that quote... :banghead::banghead::banghead: I have a feeling I may need another break or twelve after watching the video, where Bob will undoubtedly **** all over more Disney heritage in his quest for more money.


Fans who accept Iger's Disney are still Disney fans, just as much as other fans. You have to experiment in order to stay relevant and alive, and that includes going against the grain. Iger was was in this regard. Of course, like anything, there's the potential to go too far with it, and there is a real chance of that, mainly because of the people that surround Iger on the board. The problematic elements about current Disney don't come from him, after all. It comes from Alan Horn.


I don't think Iger hates the classics at all. He enjoys them just as much as we do, but he is liable to be led astray by certain people, especially if an idea seems like "the next evolutional step."


Well-Known Member
I've seen this interview months ago. It's just a bunch of self-gratification on Iger's part. He is not keen to taking big risks, always going for the safe-guaranteed to win route. Boring businessman! SAD!


Well-Known Member
In terms of company CEOs, Igor is probabaly one of the best all of times. He's got two years to get Fox and Disney+ settled,both of which along with Marvel and Lucasfilm which he also purchased is going to set Disney up for decades to come.

I do hope that when his time comes, his replacement does value the companies history more considering the future has already been set out


New Member
Bob Iger feels like the hostile take-over the threat of which led to Disney surrendering itself to his ilk in the first place. Barf.

Iger's Disney has a lot of fans, but they aren't Disney fans.
I'm sorry but this is major gatekeeping that keeps potential new Disney fans away from being involved in the community. All fans of the parks, regardless of whether they enjoyed Iger, Eisner, or want the pure vision of Walt himself are all true Disney fans.
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