As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, Robert A. Iger (@RobertIger) is the steward of one of the world’s largest media companies and some of the most respected and beloved brands around the globe. Since becoming CEO in 2005, Iger has built on Disney’s rich history of storytelling and innovation with the acquisitions of Pixar (2006), Marvel (2009), Lucasfilm (2012) and 21st Century Fox (2019), and the landmark opening of Disney’s first theme park and resort in Mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort in 2016.
Always one to embrace new technology, Iger has created an ambitious direct-to-consumer strategy that leverages Disney’s unparalleled creative content across new platforms, including the new Disney+ streaming service, ESPN+, Hulu, and Hotstar.
He serves on the boards of the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum and Bloomberg Philanthropies. He is a graduate of Ithaca College.
His new autobiography is titled The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, which offers stories and lessons about dealmaking, leadership, and much more.
You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.
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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
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Want to hear an episode with someone who also draws inspiration from the words of Teddy Roosevelt? Check out my conversation with LeBron James in which we discuss self-care, self-talk, sleep, wine, workouts, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Bob Iger:
The Walt Disney Company | Twitter
- The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger
- How Pixar saved Steve Jobs and Apple, CNN Business
- Disney to Buy Pixar for $7.4 Billion, The New York Times
- Bob Iger and Marc Andreessen Bridge Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Vanity Fair
- Iron Man 2
- ABC’s Wide World of Sports
- North Korea’s Behavior At The 1979 Ping Pong Championships Really Said It All, Business Insider
- A Herculean Effort: What Led to the 12 Labors of Hercules and How Did He Succeed? Ancient Origins
- The Odyssey by Homer
- How to Increase Your Luck Surface Area, Codus Operandi
- Foreign Experts Building, Beijing
- Home Slice Pizza, Austin
- Paulie Gee’s, F&F Pizzeria, and New York City’s Slice Renaissance, The New Yorker
- Norm’s Pizza, Brooklyn
- Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop, Brooklyn
- Eater Austin
- DeSano Pizza, Austin
- Little Deli & Pizzeria, Austin
- Pinthouse Pizza, Austin
- Tony C’s Coal-Fired Pizza, Austin
- Picnik, Austin
- Disney CEO Robert Iger Visits Penn for Authors@Wharton Speaker Series, The Daily Pennsylvanian
- Bipolar Disorder Symptoms and Causes, The Mayo Clinic
- The Slow-Burning Success of Disney’s Bob Iger, The New York Times
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson
- What Happened at Gallipoli? The Guardian
- From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
- Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
- The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming
- You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming
- Bob talks about the whiteboard meeting he had with Steve Jobs laying out the pros and seemingly insurmountable cons of Disney’s potential purchase of Pixar, and his impression of what was really going on in Steve’s mind at the time. [08:02]
- Steve used to call Bob regularly on weekends. In addition to scathing movie critiques, what did these two titans of industry tend to talk about? [16:24]
- Who was Roone Arledge, and what did he teach Bob about long shots? [19:39]
- How — and from whom — did Bob learn to navigate the impossible and make deals that, at first glance, seem like herculean tasks — like securing the rights for ABC to cover the 1979 World Table Tennis Championships in North Korea at a time when no Western press had been permitted to visit since before the Korean War? [23:52]
- With over four decades of education in the business, what separates a good negotiator from a great negotiator in Bob’s estimation? [26:54]
- How does Bob communicate with others in his organization when a deal they may be emotionally invested in doesn’t get made? [29:46]
- As someone with a reputation for taking risks, what was Bob’s early exposure to risk-taking like? [31:24]
- How being deemed “unpromotable” by a terrible boss led to the opportunities and contacts that really set Bob’s career in motion. [32:59]
- On maximizing luck surface area (a term coined by Jason Roberts) and the three reasons exercise has played such an important role in Bob’s life. [37:59]
- What does Bob’s exercise regimen look like? [41:46]
- Bob and I share a few of our experiences in China during the ’90s. [44:28]
- As Bob likes to exercise solo most of the time as a form of meditation, what role does his personal trainer play on the days he visits, and how often does this happen? [46:42]
- While Bob usually abstains from bread or pasta, he allows himself to indulge in pizza once or twice a month. Does he have any preferences or favorite places to get it? How does he save recommendations so he can remember to try new places later? What he indulges, what’s his limit? One slice or one dozen? [47:47]
- From an interview they did together recently, Adam Grant says Bob prepares more than most CEOs for meeting new people. What is Bob’s prep process for first meetings? [52:27]
- As someone who believes that leaders should exhibit optimism because “nobody wants to follow Eeyore,” how does Bob do his best to cultivate this quality in his own kids? [55:22]
- A challenging time in Bob’s career and how he navigated his way through it. [58:25]
- Bob shares the adversity he faced as a child with a father who was suffering from severe manic depression. [1:02:15]
- Growing up around his father’s frequently tempestuous — and unpredictable — outbursts, what is Bob’s relationship with anger like now? [1:04:58]
- Bob recalls a time when little things would set off his temper, but he’s since gained more control over this kind of anger. What changed to make this possible? [1:07:01]
- “There’s a cruelty to growing old in a way because the end is near, but there’s also a lot of value in growing old.” [1:10:11]
- Aside from optimism, what are some of the more important lessons and character traits Bob hopes to instill in his kids, and how are they taught? [1:11:33]
- Lessons or stories that Bob wishes people would pay more attention to. [1:15:08]
- On knowing how to identify opportunity and take it when it comes. [1:17:26]
- Leaders, philosophies, and books that Bob has leaned on to help him stay the course and walk through these doors of opportunity. [1:19:42]
- A memorable Teddy Roosevelt quote by which to live. [1:23:58]
- Parting thoughts. [1:26:09]
- Steve Jobs
- Kara Swisher
- Marc Andreessen
- Reed Jobs
- Roone Arledge
- Michael Eisner
- Jim Spence
- George Lucas
- Ike Perlmutter
- Frank Sinatra
- Jason Roberts
- Adam Grant
- Tim Geithner
- Ken Burns
- Willow Bay
- Marcus Aurelius
- Winston Churchill
- Babe Ruth
- Ian Fleming
- James Bond
- Teddy Roosevelt
- LeBron James
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11 Replies to “Bob Iger — CEO and Chairman of Disney (#406)”
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Gaspar B[Moderator: name edited down.]
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The questions you ask guests are very incisive. I love that you ask questions that seem trivial but actually make up the nuts and bolts of whatever you are talking about.
I had a suggestion for a podcast guest : Zach Perret. He background is so different than what he is doing successfully at the moment.
Thank you for the work you do
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Thank you Tim for your hard work. We love you brother. Amazing work and sincerely impressed with your deep dives in so many areas of life we can all relate to. I wish I could meet you and learn about what makes you tick and what drives your vision. Very Impressed with all of your accomplishments and you are still young so the world is your (and our) oyster!
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Thanks Tim for this podcast.. apologies have to admit the first one I have listened to .. and just loved it. Especially as I was on my way to the gym to do the great High Altitude classes we have here in Melbourne .Am Bob’s Age and yes fitness is so essential.. agree with him about carbs too,and pizza omg, have world wining pizza restaurant at end of my street. Wanted to add as a Boomer with my business I get what Bob was saying that yes life is about failing, done this often, stuffing up and getting on or else wasting the rest of your life.. but importantly of taking the chances and I have .. Esalen many years ago changed my direction.. after leaving a high level job with Aussie ballet… Anyway enough about me, did not realise you were on Spotify thank you . ( at times I am challenged by not having access to genuine high level achievers who are quirky) Sally
With all this pizza talk you should have Dave Portnoy on the podcast. Founder of Barstool Sports and king of the One Bite review. He would be a great interview. Bob himself has mentioned he’s a big fan of his reviews.
You are an inspiration and I appreciate the amount of energy that you put into creating the content that you do. This is somewhat unrelated, but I enjoy searching for ways to become a more effective learner. How you weave information together into your content is very invigorating and inspiring. What’s the best advice you have on retaining and applying information?
It was really amazing to hear you ask Mr. Iger about fatherhood. So much of the content published about personal growth and “world class performers” make it seem like parenting can’t coexist in the realm of high achievement. So thanks!