Author: Michael

The Power of Technology

The Power of Technology

Behind the stunning exit of Disney CEO Bob Chapek, the man who engineered the company’s transformation from a struggling entertainment company to the global powerhouse it has become, is a man’s man—an engineer.

After three decades of watching Disney grow into an icon in the entertainment industry, Bob Chapek was determined to change direction again. An engineer, he set out to create an industry company that relied on technology—a computer science degree in graduate school. Chapek hired a software engineer for his first big innovation, the digital surround sound systems that replaced the sound system on the Magic Kingdom Castle. When the company’s original idea to install the new systems didn’t work as well as expected, it was Chapek who realized that the technology that had worked so well on the hardware was not the magic in the box that would make the big difference. “When Bob called me to say that the technology didn’t work well, I said, ‘Well, you’re on the right track. You have to test it,’” says one of the engineers who worked with Chapek for most of his career. “He got up from his desk for the first time, went into his own office, called me into his office on his computer, and said, ‘I know what you’ve got to do; I know who is going to do it.’ And he did.” In the process, he brought his engineering skills to bear on everything from computer systems to the development of new concepts.

It’s not easy to engineer the future. But it’s worth it. It’s possible for a company to create a sustainable, market-leading digital franchise that provides customers with a consistent, high quality experience, whether for mobile devices, video, or the Internet.

That, more than anything else, is Chapek’s legacy as a leader who engineered the digital transformation of the business side of the entertainment industry. He recognized that when Disney created a new digital experience on the Web, it wasn’t simply a matter of designing a new application, but of fundamentally changing the company’s infrastructure and strategy. Bob Chapek wasn’t the first to realize this need. But he

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