Is Disney good for Club Penguin?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A New Direction. On GigaOM Carleen blogged that she thought that Club Penguin sold out to Disney and it might ruin Club Penguin. I think she came close on a couple points, but missed the bigger picture.

Disney is by its nature a big lumbering beast that is mired in bureaucracy. Having worked there a while I found it was unavoidable. Disney in many cases is less about the projects and more about dealing with the internal politics.

That said we should be fair, most large corporations have the same problem. To combat the bureaucracy large company’s buy small companies and grant them a degree of autonomy. That way the new unit can then at least get some things done.

The problem is that at the same time the new units want to take advantage of other verticals and other parts of the business want to get into what the new unit is doing. Instant politics. The job of senior management then becomes shielding that unit from the politics rather than integrating them into the Disney way. This will invariably mean that a large portion of managements time will be spent away from the main task of running the new unit.

I can only hope that Lane Merrifield CEO of Club Penguin and now EVP at Disney has enough experience to understand and work the system. At the EVP level you can get a bit done if you know how to work the system and keep everyone focused. As a former Disneyland employee perhaps Lane gets it. If so this is a big win for Disney and Club Penguin.