It is probably no secret we learn more from Hollywood movies than history books. The accuracy of some events and information, however, is often left to be determined. When it’s not trying to make us feel good about invading, mass murdering or enslaving – and these are just some random examples, so please don’t take it personally – Hollywood does not forget to sometimes serve us precious lessons about the controversial world of money making. Business that is.
All you need is love sung by The Beatles, was slowly replaced by Show me the money said by Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire. Then there are lines like Chris Gardner’s in the Pursuit of Happyness that are so smart, that can be interpreted both ways, by good hearted people, but also by the ones who’ll take this the wrong way, stepping on any person that ever questions their actions. This is the line: Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?
Or maybe this one is more along the lines of the American Dream, even if it’s from a British movie, Layer Cake: You’re born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you’re up in the rarefied atmosphere and you’ve forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake son. This, said by the actor who had no idea back then that he was seconds away from the rarefied atmosphere of the chosen one. His name? Craig. Daniel Craig.
Back to Hollywood. And business as product placement. Let’s go through the thin red line of some of the most iconic movies. Even if most of them are famous for a whole lot of reasons than the real meaning of the stories they present.
THE BIG SHORT – the financial crisis and its causes, explained. Explained after the events took place. Unfortunately. This is a recent example when we get to find out what happened with our money and houses and businesses from a movie. But let’s go back. Way back. Because history keeps repeating, aiming for us to understand something, but hey..
MODERN TIMES – a factory worker goes beserk due to his repetitive job. Sounds familiar? This movie is from 1936. That’s last century. But almost a century later, there are safety – or rather landing – nets installed on Apple’s building offices in Asia, in order to prevent the workers from suicide. It happened. That’s why the measures. Modern times indeed. Lesson to be learned? Besides the one that the big fish is still making his money in legal sweatshops abroad, I would tell my kids to remember not to overwork their employers. And think of ways to help them keep their spirit alive while dealing with deja-work.. Or see NINE TO FIVE – also about overworking, underpayment, and the rest of the modern day exploitation package.
THE WIZARD OF OZ – Disclaimer: the colour of money has nothing to do with the colour of an emerald city, right? And who is heading that way? Remember. You have to see that movie again. And understand what the pursuit of money can do to you.. Maybe I’m just being mean now that I found out that Santa is yet another invention.
CITIZEN KANE – a story about an American media magnate. It’s 2017…What have we learned? Nothing but what the media taught us.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – A small to medium entrepreneur fights the 1%. ‘Cause being wealthy is not about money, or is it? It’s a movie, ok? Years later, the 99% joined his fight and so, life continues to be wonderful. At least, for 1% of us.
MARY POPPINS – a banker hires a nanny for his two children, but she is full of out of the box ideas. The nanny is not an immigrant. But close. An artist.
WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – an eccentric business owner searches for an heir to his empire – or, just another exit strategy story.
THE GODFATHER – not just another family business. Not personal. Strictly business.
RISKY BUSINESS – about accomplishing something versus making money. The message still stands. How a huge crisis can unleash your entrepreneurial spirit.
BABY BOOM – or how you keep your career alive if you become a parent. What comes first then? Time is money? Baby is money? Baby is time is money? Business before anything? How come? What about the baby? Baby needs money. So business first. They say first place your own mask and then help the others. Ah and oh and uh.
WALL STREET – Greed is good? Yes, said all the Gordon Gekko-types in the world. And then changed the thickness of their skin according to the context. It’s all in the name. Gek it? Sorry. Get it?
WORKING GIRL – about copyrighting your ideas, about trust, but mostly, about being a woman in today’s business world. It’s still a challenge, but we’re getting there. Take JOY for example. This movie talks about the hardships of a start up; it shows what one has to endure, especially a woman, to go from an idea, to implementing it, to finding its way to the market. It must be the bible of the small to medium entrepreneur. A lesson of perseverance, determination and will. And yeah, a kind of a really mesmerising actress. I admit.
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS – how to sell less for more. The essence of making business.
THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY – ways of ruining one’s business in order to get it on the cheap. Let’s just say it’s a provoked exit strategy about hostile takeovers. Sounds familiar? So learn your lesson and watch out. The world is even meaner than in the last century.
JERRY MAGUIRE – an exceptional case in which the one trick pony works out just fine. Or, it shows, like in the movies, that sometimes it works. Even in a 1+1 versus the world scenario.
YOU’VE GOT MAIL – one small to medium business for Meg, one giant corporation for humanity. It tries to put a nice and lovable face (Tom Hanks) to the character representing the corporation. And it succeeds. The moral of the film? Only if the corporation falls in love with you, you might get to save your small to medium business. So have a very good business plan prepared, ‘cause you’re not Meg Ryan.
OFFICE SPACE – life in a software company. And what you become if your boss wants you to. It’s fun, if you’re an actor and after the wrap up party you forget about this life. But what if you’re not. You better awaken those entrepreneurial skills of yours and start something you like. Or you like to do. You don’t even need office space. You can work from home.
Ok. Enough of that. I’ll watch some manga. Business related of course.
P.S. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing. VENTACY is a better, cheaper and faster way to do business. It reduces the offline cost and effort while providing its members visibility on their specific market and endless business opportunities. Ventacy.com facilitates the wealth transformation. It projects and creates a market designing the transformation flows. Ventacy aims to solve a market congestion and the problem of transaction costs in the investment industry. Ventacy brings the investment democracy back into business.
So stress less. And join Ventacy. Business was never so easy.