Walt Disney died in 1966.
Most people don’t remember how truly terrible Disney’s movies were in the 1970s. I mean, they were concisely rotten movies. People kept going to them because of their memories from the 1960s movies. But disappointment was inevitable.
Even projects underway, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion stalled in their opening for half a decade.
Then, EPCOT came out in 1982. This sterile facility had massive corporate structures, designed to be high-volume capacity and impersonal. EPCOT’s was a perfect reflection of sterile, corporate, unimaginative thinking present in Disney.
Then, management at Disney changed in the 1980s. Not Eisner (who gets much of the credit) but Frank Wells…an inspired and creative individual recruited to Disney by him. Disney rebounded once again…not from Eisner (who simply raised park admission prices) but because of creativity.
I see Disney’s history as almost exactly matching that of Apple and Steve Job’s death.
It comes as no surprise that Apple management is disappointed by the progress of Apple’s car (Project Titan.) It comes as no surprise that the iPhone 6 isn’t as classy looking as the iPhone 5. And, it comes as no surprise that I no longer stand in line for new Apple products. My upgrade frequency has slowed.
Even Apple’s keynotes have gotten both boring and longer. They used to be a tight, riveting 60 minutes. They were entertaining and surprising, and if you had to go to the bathroom while watching you would miss something exciting. Today, they drone on and on while they try to hype things by using superlatives.
After Walt’s death, Roy Disney (Walt’s brother) took over operations. Like Tim Cook he was an operations man. Largely devoid of innovation, he droned on while never really understanding how creativity was what was exciting. Disney had labor problems under Roy as well.
The more I think of Walt Disney’s death and the Disney company the more I realize it is very analogous to Steve Job’s death and Tim Cook. Tim has a knack for wringing the excitement out of things.
My wife is an excellent judge of trends and of what is classy. She instinctively picks up on things. And she declares that the iPhone 5 is classy and the iPhone 6 is not. End of story. I rest my case.
The future for Apple is, I fear, bleak. And, i worry for my Apple stock’s long term value.