Pixar president, business leaders speak at Domopalooza

Domo CEO Josh James interviews Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein at Domopalooza on Wednesday, March 22 in Salt Lake City. Epstein was just one among a lineup of business leaders who spoke at the conference. (Domo)

Some of the world’s top business professionals gathered at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 22, for this year’s Domo business management conference, Domopalooza.

Edwin Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was one of the event’s keynote speakers.

Catmull talked about his experiences studying at the University of Utah, working for Lucasfilm and growing Pixar Animation Studios with Steve Jobs. Many of his comments revolved around the importance of creativity and how to create a culture of creativity within a company.

“The right question is, ‘What are the management and cultural forces that block creativity?'” Catmull said. “Our most important job is to make it safe for people to say what they think.”

Catmull said companies often fall short of success when they put management or cultural forces in front of creativity.

Catmull said Jobs was a very effective business leader, but the true miracle with Jobs was he noticed his own negative behaviors and changed them.

“He became more empathetic. He listened,” Catmull said. “He understood the impact that he had on people.”

The Grand Ballroom at the Grand America Hotel was completely filled for the keynote speakers at Domopalooza. (Domo)

Catmull said this later version of Jobs — the empathetic version — created Apple.

Jon Ryley, head of business development at construction company Balfour Beatty, spoke about his experiences growing his company, the benefits of Domo and the overarching purpose of business.

“The purpose of business to me is to get and keep a customer,” Ryley said. “It’s my job to become a trusted advisor.”

Brian Lam traveled to Domopalooza from New Jersey. Lam said the conference was a really positive experience.

“It’s very informative and a lot of it is self-serving, meaning it’s really up to you to make the most of it,” Lam said.

Lam said the business environment in Salt Lake City seemed a little slower than that of New Jersey and New York, but not in a bad way.

“Here I feel it’s more thought-based, so it may be slower, but it’s usually better for the end result,” Lam said.

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