Star trails over the front of the Steve Jobs building at Pixar Animation Studios
Star trails over the front of the Steve Jobs building at Pixar Animation Studios

I spent my early career as a technical director at Pixar, working on some classic films. When Steve Jobs died, we had a company tribute to him where people shared stories. One of the most memorable was a story from John Lasseter, about when he saw Steve towards the end and Steve’s direction to him was to always “make it great.” Pixar embodies those words in everything they do. I’ve been ex-Pixar for years now, and those words are still forefront on my mind.

But what goes into making something great? Even after working as a product manager at multiple…

This is the third post in my Starting Products series. You can read the first post here.

Product managers live in ambiguity: which initiative will move the needle towards a success metric the most? What should you de-prioritize? Should you bet on a risky, unproven, but potentially huge technology or stay with a safer but less rewarding one? Ambiguity is such a part of life that a common PM interview question is “how do you make decisions in ambiguous situations?” But most PMs don’t appreciate how unambiguous their situation actually is — they have customers, whether they’re working on a…

This is the second post in my Starting Products series. You can read the first post here.

Being the first PM at an early stage startup is a really weird experience because it’s not always clear what you should be doing. There’s no product, much less customers, so the typical “look at metrics/goals/customer notes” you’ve done before on day 1 at bigger companies doesn’t work. You are often hired at this weird moment where engineering is starting to build something, but it’s going slowly so there are a lot of meetings where the team sits around pontificating about what they…

Startups are nuts. And I mean that in a good way! Mostly. There’s a ton to be learned, and the experience is like dog years — 1 year at a startup is like 7 elsewhere.

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The startup bug. Comic by #entrepreneurfail: A comic about the ironies of entrepreneurship and startups.

I’ve learned a lot, and I want to share what I learned with you. I’ve spent the past 8ish years working at a variety of startups (hardware, software, B2C, B2B) as a product manager. I’ve also consulted/advised other startups and helped friends with their projects. …

Disclaimer: I used to be a Director of Product at Magic Leap, I haven’t worked there in ~2 years, and I did buy my options/have a solid desire for/interest in the company’s success.

I’ve been using a Magic Leap One daily for over a week. I’ve been using it as a customer and not a developer — trying to make it part of my life — and I wanted to share my thoughts, especially focused on where I want to see it improve. I know this is a Creator release, but as an early adopter/AR advocate/tech product person, I want…

Why Everyone’s Suddenly Talking About VR And How To Experience It Yourself

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of virtual reality? Maybe it’s a flashback to the ‘90s:

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If only you could see his ’90s haircut. From

Or perhaps it’s the oh-so-soothing red and black Nintendo Virtual Boy?

I’ve known Eliot Peper for just over a year and Mara Winkel for almost as long. Eliot and I met at a talk I gave about Storytelling for Startups, and we completely hit it off. Mara and I met when I read her story on a flight to New York, and it kept me so engaged, I barely noticed the crying baby next to me.

Somehow I convinced Eliot that I knew a thing or two about storytelling, and he sent me a draft of the sequel, Power Play, to read. Fortunately this time there were no crying babies involved…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been trying to start a new type of feature film development company with Stephan Vladimir Bugaj. Raising money to make movies has turned out to be the hardest thing we’ve ever done, and despite a year of effort, we’ve raised a whopping $0. Zip. Nada. We’ve failed. In the middle of a bubble. That. Takes. Skill.

Throughout my life, I’ve been generally successful. Both on the product and engineering side, I’ve worked on multiple “impossible” projects and made them successful. I’ve failed at some things, but I’ve been pretty successful at everything I’ve truly focused…

Did you see The Lego Movie or at least hear the song Everything is Awesome? Catchy, right? When you think of people who are starting companies, you might think that’s what it must be like. Sure, it’s hard work, but when you think “entrepreneur,” you think of people working hard, whether in a hoodie or suit, getting massive checks from investors, and then going public or being bought. And it seems like everything is awesome — the CEOs always seem to be smiling, and if asked, they’ll probably even tell you everything is awesome! Heck if you’ve done any PR…

As some of you know, I’ve been working on starting a company, Visioneer Studios, and most of our team lives in San Francisco. While at first glance there’s nothing weird about that (everyone and their sister has a startup it seems), what is weird is that while we leverage tech, we’re not a tech company. And man has that turned out to be a challenge! Let me share my experience with you, what our current big challenge is, and what we’re doing.

First, some background. Our goal is to be the Pixar of live action. I dislike saying that because…

Josh Anon

Product at Roblox. Formerly product at Embodied, Magic Leap, & Lytro. Ex-Pixar. Views are my own. Find me on Twitter at @joshanon

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