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December 30, 2014 AT 8:23 am

Disney CEO Bob Iger’s empire of tech #makerbusiness

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Disney CEO Bob Iger’s empire of tech.

Bob Iger has spent much of his near decade at Disney wearing an additional corporate hat: CTO. The result? He has brought the coolest innovations from Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel, and ESPN into a single galaxy…

Iger surrounds himself with people who are steeped in both worlds, but he has made a deliberate decision not to have a chief technology officer. In fact, he’s the closest thing the company has to a central head of tech. And while there are many lessons to learn from the way he has run Disney over the past decade, this one is right up there: Not only do today’s media companies need to start thinking like technology companies—their CEOs also need to start thinking like CTOs.

…Meanwhile Disney’s investment in MagicBands, RFID-enabled wristbands that let visitors gain admission to the parks and buy merchandise, is starting to pay off: Guests who use them are spending more on average (Disney won’t say how much more).

As the CEO surveys the pointy towers and gilded hallways of the virtual construction, the words of Lasseter, Pixar’s co-founder and chief creative officer, come to mind: “Art challenges technology, and technology inspires art.” With the rapid changes both inside and outside Disney, maintaining the equilibrium of those two synergistic forces seems more relevant than ever. And Iger, straight-faced though he is, seems to relish perfecting the balance. 


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