The Braintrust, which meets every few months or so to assess each movie we’re making, is our primary delivery system for straight talk. Its premise is simple: Put smart, passionate people in a room together, charge them with identifying and solving problems, and encourage them to be candid with one another. People who would feel obligated to be honest somehow feel freer when asked for their candor; they have a choice about whether to give it, and thus, when they do give it, it tends to be genuine.

Ed Catmull - Creativity Inc.

Why “Pixar”? The name emerged from a back-and-forth between Alvy and another of our colleagues, Loren Carpenter. Alvy, who spent much of his childhood in Texas and New Mexico, had a fondness for the Spanish language, and he was intrigued by how certain nouns in English looked like Spanish verbs—words like “laser,” for example. So Alvy lobbied for “Pixer,” which he imagined to be a (fake) Spanish verb meaning “to make pictures.” Loren countered with “Radar,” which he thought sounded more high-tech. That’s when it hit them: Pixer + radar = Pixar! It stuck.

Ed Catmull - Creativity Inc.

Ezra: And you don’t mean legal trouble.

Mark: No, I mean will wind up with cannabis habits that are bad for them. Many of them will know it. Some of them won’t. Also that teenagers will use more of it. We don’t really want to get back to 1979 when 10% of high school seniors reported that they were daily or near daily cannabis smokers.

A lot of people on the pro-legalization side are still in denial about the cannabis abuse problem. The numbers are about 33 million people will say in a survey that they’ve used cannabis in the last year. About half of those, about 16 million, say they’ve used it in the last month. Of those, about a quarter say they use 25 days or more per month. In a different survey that folks over at Rand did the people who smoke many days per month also use a lot more per day. That very heavy user group accounts for 85 or 95 percent of the total cannabis consumed.

About half the people who are daily or near daily users just from their own self-reporting in the surveys meet clinical criteria for abuse or dependence. Cannabis is interfering with their lives and they’ve tried to cut down and they can’t. It’s not as bad as an addiction to cocaine or methamphetamine or the opiates or alcohol. But it’s plenty bad enough if it happens to you or your brother or your kid or your parent.

You get paid to decide. Some people love making decisions on their own. Other people need socialization and iteration to make a choice. Either way can work (or not) as a product manager, but to be great you really do have to decide. Deciding anything important or meaningful at all means some people will disagree. Some might really disagree a huge amount. The bottom line is a decision has to be made. A decision means to not do something, and to achieve clarity in your design.

No person, no matter where in an organizational hierarchy, has all the knowledge needed to thrive in the network era. Neither does any company. Neither does any government. We are all connected and dependent on each other. Hierarchies divide us.

Managing professional relationships as a network allows each node (person) to be unique. This removes the artificial barrier of the job, which assumes that people are replaceable, and that knowledge flows up and down. Knowledge in a network is about connecting experiences, relationships, and situations.

How else will London change?
There will be a prodigious number of old people. One area which is going to grow is gerontology and problems of old age. The average life expectancy in London has gone up 18 months since I was elected, people are living longer and longer and there is a huge medical opportunity there. I think what the prime minister has done about setting up a special institute for dementia, that’s the right approach and London should be at the forefront of trying to tackle that range of diseases.