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Pixar Studios and the Power of Teamwork

Since 1995 when Toy Story was released, Pixar has created 11 feature films, all of which have become a huge international success. From its beginnings as a production company, Pixar has focused on the crucial value of teamwork and collaboration. Originally, the company planned to build three separate buildings with separate office spaces for the animators, computer programmers, and management. But Steve Jobs scrapped that plan and instead moved everyone into an old Del Monte canning factory that had one huge room with an atrium in the center. Jobs wanted to create a space where people throughout the company could bump into each other, deepen relationships, and share ideas.

But Jobs took it one step further: he moved everything—including mailboxes, meeting rooms, a coffee bar, and even the bathrooms—into the center of the atrium so people would be forced to interact. Initially, some of the employees complained that it was a waste of time to walk to the atrium every time they had to go to the bathroom or grab a cup of coffee. But Jobs kept telling Pixar employees, "Everybody has to run into each other." A Pixar producer called it "smooshing," and he added, "If I don't see lots of smooshing, I get worried."

Brad Bird, the director of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, eventually caught the vision for teamwork. Bird said, "The atrium initially might seem like a waste of space … But Steve [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." It's no surprise, then, that the Latin motto for Pixar says it all: Alienus Non Diutius, or "alone no longer."

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