If you don't know Ed Catmull by name, you likely know the company he created. PIXAR has won 27 Academy Awards, 7 Golden Globes Awards and 11 Grammy Awards. The studio's films have grossed over 8.5 billion dollars.
Ed Catmull started the journey nearly 20 years before the studio's first film, Toy Story, was launched in 1995. Catmull started with the goal of producing a full feature animation film with a computer. Ed's story leading up to the release of Toy Story isn't unique for most start-ups.
Nights of sleeping on the office floor so every waking moment could be spent working. The 11th hour funding that comes through to save the company from shutting down. The crucial moment where the company decides to fight for their culture instead of bending to the pressure of investors.
But it was the days after the run away success of Toy Story that makes Ed's story stand out. He realized he accomplished his goal that he obsessed over for the last 20 years. He realized that "he built the train and the tracks" but wasn't excited to simply ride what he created. Just making more movies wasn't enough.
Thankfully for us that love PIXAR, Ed found a new exciting goal to work on. Ed was able to answer the question "what's next?" Unfortunately, many others get stuck the minute they hit that one goal. Always be thinking what's next. The brilliant plan for the future while not overlooking the present. The best visionaries know how to balance what's next with what's now.