My day did not go as expected. I spotted an error in some closing documents from a title company that did not match what was supposed to be in effect for what I was working on and had to fix that immediately. The good news is, there were some awesome people who got it taken care of within a few hours. They have ordered the original to be shredded. It turns out a replacement wasn’t necessary because the correct document had already been signed; the error one was a duplicate of a form that never should have been used.
I’m glad it is off my desk; I’m waiting for confirmation that the mistake has been shredded but have already gotten several notes explaining that it was an error and they are working on it so there is a paper trail. Had they not, I would have had to use a right to rescind provision tomorrow or Thursday to undo the entire thing. That would have been very unfortunate.
When that was done, I called my dad to wish him a happy birthday and talked to him for awhile. I also talked to my Aunt Donna, for whom this blog was originally started, to help her with some merger documents she has to approve for one of her stocks. I’m going to look those over and get back to her as soon as I can.
I researched a few companies. Then, I tried to play SimCity for awhile but couldn’t focus because I was tired of being in front of a computer or behind a desk. I decided to sit outside near dusk tonight to listen to the birds screeching (they’ve calmed down now but it sounded like a jungle as the sun was setting), read, and just think for awhile, scribbling ideas, thoughts, things I want to accomplish, and things to research, in a notebook I picked up in Anaheim on June 15th in the Grand California Adventure park. The reading was part of me wrapping up my in-depth case studies I’ve been doing on the Walt Disney Company; looking at inflation-adjusted revenue and profits for the original Silly Symphonies and Mickey Mouse films, reviewing contract provisions for the original studio.
Hands down, the best biography on Disney I’ve come across is Neal Gabler’s weighty tome. It is absolutely worth reading if you have any interest in how the firm came into existence; though I’d imagine most of you are done given that we’ve already talked about the Disney IPO, Walt’s secret holding company, his first bankrupt corporation in Kansas City, and how he had his very first character stolen out from underneath him as a twenty-something artist, changing the way he did business forever. I like it because it gets into the things that pique my interest. I like knowing that The Karnival Kid cost $5,357 in 1929 – and that didn’t even include the distribution costs! – which is nearly $71,000 today.
After paying their expenses, there was virtually nothing left for the Disney brothers. They were breaking even as they had put all of the money into hiring the best animators they could, and were obsessive about quality even if they didn’t make a penny. And it showed! The quality jump between 1929 and 1935, when cartoons like Pluto’s Judgment Day were made was like going from riding horseback to flying in a supersonic jet; the color, the fluidity of motion, the sound quality, it’s easy to see in retrospect this is the source – the very beginning – of the brand equity that made the Disney company so wealthy. Nobody was willing to put out that kind of product, so it didn’t take long until Disney had half of the animators working in Hollywood on his payroll and build a competitive advantage around his enterprise that was impossible to breach.
With my brother’s wedding this week, the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, the reception, I am going to have to publish my new About.com content tomorrow evening as I probably won’t get a chance to work much on the site for the remainder of the month.