I recently heard a rumor I can’t seem to get out of my head.
It’s probably because Walt Disney was the first studio Goliath, I had the luck to work with. Looking back I probably should have started with a smaller studio, but our paths met early on while building MovieLaLa so sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.
Disney is a company I’ve learned to admire even before I started MovieLaLa. I was doubly excited to work with them so early in our MovieLaLa career. For the record, I had not yet officially launched MovieLaLa while working alongside them, but I was very clear about my vision and passion: we wanted to decrease marketing costs (the largest fixed cost of all studios) by bringing new mobile technologies that are personalized and social, with data and analytics to bring transparency to user behavior and engagement.
Since working with Disney, I continue to keep an eye on them, their business and movements in the entertainment space. Even watching their acquisitions like Makers Studios and their massive debut of Star Wars. Which is probably why this particular rumor is hard to ignore.
The rumor I’m starting to hear in Silicon Valley relates to the news about Thomas Staggs and the open candidacy for the CEO position with Bob Iger stepping down in 2018. What excites me about this rumor is that it can really change the whole landscape for Hollywood. And it could really bring ONE of the studios into the modern era and attempt to directly compete with digital media/tech companies in the media space like Netflix, Amazon, etc.
The rumor is that Sheryl Sandberg is a contender to fill the shoes of Bob Iger.
Bringing the COO of Facebook (who by the way, sits on the board of Disney) to the CEO position at Walt Disney makes a lot of sense. She’s a women (Disney is driven by moms and lifetime value of children), she’s probably looking to bump her title from COO to CEO title (which will not likely happen at Facebook), she’s technology driven (which Disney needs to stay competitive now and in the future), she can easily move to LA and still leverage all her Silicon Valley contacts to help Disney transition from traditional studio to technology-driven studio, and she probably already has a good grasp of the business since she’s been Director of the Board of Directors since 2010.
When I first heard the news about Thomas Staggs leaving and the idea of Disney looking for an outsider to take over, I literally thought, “Oy. That sounds like a mess.” But, now that I’ve had a day to digest the thought of Sheryl Sandberg having the potential to be the CEO, THAT makes a lot of sense. And it’s not a far fetched idea either.
And for companies like MovieLaLa, it means the world to us to have a forward thinking technology leader as the brand and influence of the entire studio, working to restructure and reorganize an institution that could really use more technologies to compete in today’s technology-driven world.