‘Hablan de un tal “Heisenberg”, Que ahora controla el mercado’ (Talking about some “Heisenberg”, Who now controls the market).
– Ballad of Heisenberg
Yep, it’s 9 months later and I still suffer withdrawal symptoms from arguably one of the best TV shows ever made, “Breaking Bad”. The Emmy award winning storyline follows the life of an overqualified high school chemistry teacher with inoperable lung cancer and consequently two years to live who then turns into a masterly drug lord, manufacturing and selling the world’s purest Crystal Meth. All of this just to provide for his family.
The show not only serves the average TV buff but also the average entrepreneur looking to make it big “in the empire business”.
Walter White A.K.A the Great Heisenberg teaches us why we need to ‘Say his name’ and because ‘he his goddamn right’, here are some tips on how to build your ‘Empire Business’:
(Caution: Article contains spoilers)
1) Building a New and Unique Product
“If you are good at something, never do it for free.”
– Joker (The Dark Knight, 2008)
To say that Walter White was good at chemistry would be an understatement. Subliminally following The Joker’s advice, Walter quits his job as a teacher (I mean come on, with a teacher’s salary he might as well have done it for free) to use his prolific expertise on the subject and produce the world’s purest form of Crystal Meth. The quality of his product put even his pre-established competitors to shame. Startups today could learn a valuable lesson from this (no, don’t quit your job for drugs). To build and create something that sets you apart in an industry sprawling with spurious defects of the original.
2) Be a Perfectionist
Walter was a stark perfectionist. It’s what led him to make the purest form of Meth in the market. It’s also what led him to do things like refuse to cook in a lab with a housefly in it. He never let a product that wasn’t of “Heisenberg” quality reach the markets. It’s Walter’s obsession with his product that you need to draw inspiration from, his eye for detail was top notch. If you create something flawless, your customers will vouch for you. There’s nothing like having a following of loyal customers!
3) It’s Okay to Start Small and then Build From There
Walter cooked his first batch in a rundown trailer, far out in the desert. Initially, he used mediocre capital to create the best product that he could, like having to use locally sourced ingredients. He went from here to having a mammoth industrial set up and laboratory for production. Today, what really matters is that you start, no matter how small and impossible things may seem. You don’t need an initial gazillion dollars, a 50 storey glass building or a thousand member staff to start. You need your passion, inspiration, your expertise and a motivated vision to build something.
4) Build an Effective Team
Walter and his partner Jesse Pinkman stuck by each other no matter how difficult things got. Loyalty and perseverance are essential virtues for team members. An allocation of jobs is important as well; one person can’t do everything. This is where Saul Goodman’s famous quote “You two suck at peddling meth” rings true. Well, kind of. Walt and Jesse made the meth but Saul took care of distribution, legal matters and money laundering. And finally, we know the team suffered their share of ups and downs but basically stuck through it all. Things are never permanently hunky-dory (especially at a startup) and a team that works through the glitches comes out the other side stronger.
5) Be Ready To Get Your Hands Dirty
Getting the job done, finishing a task is of utmost importance, regardless of the ridiculous things you might need to do (obviously, there are moral and ethical exceptions to this). I mean, Walter has done everything from having to cook without pants on to dissolving dead bodies to get the job done. Nothing replaces hard work. So be prepared to work your ass off (excuse language), to sacrifice holidays, skip vacations or have almost no social life. It’s the price you pay if you want to sit at the top, people!
6) Have a Strong Back up Plan
Startups run the risk of failure from various ends, considering their foundation is initially a delicate one. It’s important to have a backup plan at every point. Just like Gus Fring had his own chemist and Jesse as backups for the inevitable eventuality of Walter not being able to produce Meth or like when Walter had Todd for when Jesse left the team.
7) Choose Investors and Business Associates Wisely
It’s important to be perpetually cautious about who you do business with. It’s a cut throat world and you never know for sure who you can and can’t trust. Walter and Jesse worked alongside a number of eventual traitors like Tuco Salamanca who tried to kill the pair in exchange for their superior product. Investors are watching your every move so, like Gus Fring, keep your eyes peeled (seriously, they could kick you out of your own company).
8) Money Isn’t Everything
It isn’t all about the money. If it was then Walter would have been cured of his cancer and the rich would never be sad and pigs would fly. That’s beside the point, clearly. The aim of your company isn’t solely to earn money, but also respect and dependability. So don’t let the greed for greens blur out your morals and ethics.
So, there are more things you can learn from Breaking Bad than drug dealing and doing and crimes and violence. Good luck with your startup!
Also, if you’re a startup looking to “Build an Effective Team”, we at SutraHR are more than happy (and qualified) to help. Give me a call on +91 87 67 427 427 or send me a quick mail at waqar [at} sutrahr dot com.
By Savio Rathod