Why are the best movies always about business? Hollywood has a rich history of using the world of business as a stage for drama. The Big Short was about the investment business. 99 Homes was about the mortgage business and this writer’s recommend as a must see to understand the human tragedy of the collapse.
There’s Tucker, about the car business; Jerry McGuire, the professional sports business; Jobs, about the business of being Steve Jobs 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. Then there’s The Godfather, the greatest movie ever made in the history of everything that was ever made, essentially about the family business.
But wait, there’s more…
There’s Working Girl, Hudsucker Proxy, In Good Company, Big Night, Michael Clayton, and of course, Glengarry Glen Ross, about the core of all business: sales. And there are more, many more, going back to Chaplin’s Modern Times and that perennial favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life, about the banking and spiritual salvation business. Hollywood has long used business, the corporation, the company, the job, as the stage to express the drama of the human condition.
Business should be jumping up and down with joy! I don’t know about you, but if somebody were going to make a movie about me, I’d be pretty excited, especially when they tell me Leo will be playing me and Margo Robbie will be playing anybody she wants.
So why does business, day in and day out, portray itself in a quintessentially boring way, from mission statement to Power Point, corporate biography to press releases? Is it because they don’t want to upstage the movies? “Don’t make our mission statement too interesting, or people won’t go to the movies anymore!” said no CEO ever.
What business ought to do is make themselves as interesting as a movie and as binge worthy as Breaking Bad. They ought to tell stories, ones that sink into the lizard brain of the press, investors and customers.
There should be a hero – the founder – and he/she/they should be as flawed as they are fabulous. There should be a garage or a one bedroom apartment in a dodgy neighborhood where they had the EUREKA moment. There should be a villain that tries to destroy them, a bunch of ideas that didn’t work until one clicked, only to stall, with another villain threatening to send hundreds of employees into the street with frozen 401 K’s until…until…the founders save the day again!
Boom! Tell that to every new employee with the same sci-fi nerd passion you would the newest Star Wars. Give that story to the press, put it in your annual report, make sure you CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CTO and CHR can tell it at the drop of a hat. It’s called Story, and every business needs to have one, create one, because without it the world has no way to remember you. It’s as important as the thing you make, more important than your advertising, and can fuel a whole host of content. So, pass the popcorn. Let’s get the story started.