Friday, July 11, 2014

Pixar Wage-Fixing Cartel

Mark Ames (via John Siracusa):

A top Pixar producer reveals in her email that Catmull had in fact flown down to Sony Animation and met with the two co-heads, Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandy Rabins, to rope Sony into the non-recruitment cartel. That meeting presumably took place in 2004, when Catmull emailed Steve Jobs his intention to meet Sony about poaching employees.

[…]

Catmull admits to what appears to be further criminal behavior, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act: An attempt by a top executive to get other executives to agree to secretly fix their employees’ wages and career opportunities.

Sources with knowledge of the discussion told Pando that Sony Animation’s understanding of the Catmull meeting was very different, and that Catmull had only asked Sony, informally, to let him know in future if they were hiring any Pixar employees.

Their different interpretations were born out in their actions: Catmull was still angry at Sony in 2013; and Sony did not join the Pixar-Lucasfilm non-solicitation agreement.

Update (2014-07-20): Oluseyi Sonaiya:

Just a few months ago I was thinking to myself that the lead inventor of the Catmull-Rom spline could qualify as a career role model for me in many ways. Not anymore. Now he is a cautionary tale, but in my disappointment I must take caution not to discard everything I learned from him. Creativity, Inc. is still a great book, and I will finish reading it and look to apply lessons from it to my work. The journey of Pixar is still impressive and inspiring to me, and I will allow elements from it to influence how I approach some day (soon) building my own company.

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