Walt Disney’s perseverance: “if you can dream it you can do it”, and he did it

It was all started by a mouse. Walter Elias Disney used to make jokes on the funny origin of his fortune, but the beginning of his journey starts much earlier than Mickey Mouse’s creation.

His genius comes from an artistic streak guided by ambition, but above all from his tenacity. A story like this teaches us that never giving up when things get though is much more important than luck itself.

An American tale

Born in Chicago, he later moved to Missouri and during the First World War he began drawing patriotic cartoons and comics, hoping (in vain) to enlist. He started working for Kansas City’s local newspaper, but he was fired for “lack of creativity”. He discovered animation at  the Kansas City Film Ad Company, and he fell in love with it so much that he started running his own business.

Disney received his first earnings in Hollywood thanks to a series of stories mixing humans and cartoons, but his first successful character was Oswald the Rabbit. The character was kept by Universal, which held its rights. It was a tough blow, but Disney couldn’t surrend. 

The  success

The desire for revenge led him to a new character, this time a mouse. Mickey Mouse is the first imaginary character to receive an Academy Award. The rest is history.

Once the way was paved, Disney used the most innovative techniques to produce the first feature film with colours: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. From there, the animation industry was going to change forever.

What Walt Disney can teach us today

Today the  Walt Disney Company is one of the biggest economic groups in the world, whose annual turnover is over 42 billion dollar. The company is active in many sectors, from entertainment to merchandising and amusement parks. Above all everybody, in every corner of the world, knows its brand.

Disney’s key success factor was not only talent, but his storytelling power and his capability to inspire his team, pushing them to do their best. Getting inside stories, studying the details and making them real: Disney understood these concept and became a sort of “craftsman” entrepreneur, more than an artist.