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Macromedia CEO: What I Learned From The Lion King
by Tracey D. Marx

Strange things can get people through tough situations: a burger with fries, music, a long run along the beach and, sometimes, movies.

For Rob Burgess, chairman and CEO of Macromedia, one of the hardest experiences in his life was the death of his father. And what got him through it? His answer was simple: Disney's The Lion King.

The animated movie illustrated a spiritual concept that comforts many bereaved: that the dead live on in spirit through their children.

"I think the biggest thing for me was ... coming to grips with death and the fact that that was a necessary component in the circle of life."

Such sincere musing isn't a shock from the slender, soft-spoken entrepreneur. Burgess comes across as a no-frills kind of guy, wearing a simple windbreaker, old Guess jeans and a golf shirt.

For all his simplicities, Burgess has found a way to marry the high-tech world with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, bringing shows like South Park to the Web, and inking deals with filmmaker Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow) and Spider Man creator Stan Lee.

But The Lion King meant more to him than making money or bringing revenue to Macromedia; it was a deeper issue, a life lesson.

"I lost my father shortly before that movie came out, and that helped me come to grips with that," he says. "And it helped me come to grips with my children and what may happen if history repeats itself."

At the root of his understanding was the idea that death is a necessary component in the cycle of renewal. Burgess explains that this was a necessary lesson for his development as a person.

He also learned that by holding on to his father's traits and values, he will live on inside of him, in his mind and manners.

"In that way, they are alive in your life and can play an ongoing role."

Kind of sends shivers up your spine, doesn't it?

Prime Movers airs every Thursday on the Nightly Business Report. Check your local listing for times.

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• The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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