Key Idea: Work For More Than Money
Host Hattie Bryant says that the founders of this company are happy to make money but it is the stuff of their work that gets them out of bed in the morning. More...
Work for the fun of it. Renegade Animation's purpose is for Ashley and Darrell to use their talents to serve the customers who bring them fascinating and profitable projects.
Q: Why would anyone start a business for such a seemingly self-serving reason?
A: Neither one of them were happy in the big corporate environment. After working for over 20 years for the big studios, Darrell said, "the whole thing with this business has not been to make money. I didn't start by saying, `You know what? I think we can make a lot of money. Let's go do this.' I did it because I wasn't happy where I was. I didn't like the alternatives out there once I left. Here we can kind of control out own destiny, and it's just more fun." Darrell also said it makes him "crazy" to think about taking work that doesn't interest him. He says, "There's no point in taking a job that you're not interested in and having your work be crummy because you're going to do a bad job if you're not interested in it. The client's going to know you did a bad job, so they're not coming back to you. So if you're doing it just for the money, then you should forget because you're not going to get any more work. That's a stupid way to operate."
This is not a bad business business purpose because as they please themselves, good work is created and customers are served. We found this same philosophy when we studied Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. There are other corporate drop-outs who express much of this same sentiment. Look at Bill Sugars and Pat Elmquest of Mickey Finn's Brew Pub and Andy Wilson of Boston Duck Tours. After working for years and years in a big business environment, they are all hell-bent on building companies that give them personal satisfaction.
Q: Why do you think they named the company, Renegade Animation?
A: Renegade "means a person who deserts from a group or cause." Ashley and Darrell deserted Warner Brothers, right? Well, maybe Warner Brothers wasn't damaged by their departure so we can't say the two left this hugh organization high and dry. But, in many ways their name empowers them. The name Renegade Animation means it was started by two people who don't need the big guys and who are independent rebels who are going to do what they want to do when they want to do it. And, if you want to do business with them, be careful because they can be outrageous. Douglas Martin writing for the New York Times on January 9, 2000 said that "successful brands work by carving out a niche in our subconscious -- what advertisers call a mind share."
By choosing a name like Renegade Animation, Ashley and Darrell are building their brand around who they want you to think they are. They are rule breakers, off the edge thinkers and certainly they don't need your job to put food on their tables. If you agree with Roy Spence, who is an owner of the Austin, Texas ad agency, GSD&M that, "The Jolly Green Giant and the Pillsbury Doughboy live in the same psychic space as Santa," then you can agree that with a name like Renegade Animation, Ashley and Darrell are saying, "we are out of the ordinary." By choosing a name that telegraphs so much they have less explaining to do. The name explains that they are in business to do the unusual and the fascinating and when they do that, they will make plenty of money.
Think about it
Are you exited to go to work everyday? If not, could it be because you're only working for money?
Clip from: Renegade Animation - Beating the Big Boys
Burbank, California: Back in 1992 Ashley Quinn Postlewaite and Darrell Van Citters left Warner's studios to start their own business, Renegade Animation. They truly were renegades. Their first challenge was to produce a 90-second spot for Nike. They did it. Called Aerospace Jordan, it aired on the Super Bowl. Now, that's real talent. And, that 's an incredible start.
This episode of the show takes us inside flights of the imagination, fantasy, and stretched metaphors. Today, among their customers you will find Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, CBS.com, Leapfrog, Toyota, Mattel, Barq's Root Beer, Campbell Soup, Dow, NIKE and more.
In their first year they did $1.4 million in sales. While the sales have held steady over the years, they have also have been able to do their work with four or less full-time employees.
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Ashley Quinn Postlewaite, Executive Producer
111 East Broadway
Burbank, CA 91205
Visit our web site: http://www.renegadeanimation.com
Business Services; advertising, marketing, pr
Year Founded: 1999
Work For More Than Money
HATTIE: (In the Studio) You may be tempted to take work just for the money. Darrell and Ashley would advise against that practice. They've built a solid business by saying no to projects that don't fit their mission. Learn from them. Clearly define what it is you want, then develop the courage to say no to opportunities that don't fit your mission. Just say no.
HATTIE: When did you first fall in love with animation?
DARRELL: I had heard about it through an animator I'd met back in New Mexico, that they were just starting up, at California Institute of the Arts, a Disney-sponsored animation program. And it sounded pretty cool. So--and it happened to be the ground floor, the first year of the program. So I came out to see what would happen.
HATTIE: And that was what year?
DARRELL: 1975. HATTIE: And you were how old?
DARRELL: I would have been about 18.
HATTIE: Was it as if the whole world opened up, and was it just so exciting?
DARRELL: It was. It was pretty cool because I came out to the school and I came across all these other people who thought the same way, who had been watching cartoons and loved them and wanted to do them, which was really strange because the environment I came from nobody cared about it, or anything like that. So you get this group of about 20 people in one room who are all really jazzed on the same thing. It was really cool.
HATTIE: What does it take to do a business--to make a business successful? It's more than talent.