It’s been 10 years since director, Christopher Nolan shot this masterpiece, which is now reminiscent of a cult classic. And although many good movies have come before and after ‘The Dark Knight’, no one can deny the impact ‘Joker’ created on pop culture.
Joker was not only the most loved super-villain, he was also the face for anything anti-establishment. Joker T-shirts, Joker quotes, Joker tattoos, and Joker memes are all still very much part of our daily lives.
Ofcourse, we also see and maybe meet, a person like the Joker in our everyday lives, someone who is anti-establishment and likes to question the status quo. I’m talking about the modern entrepreneur. If you are, or want to become one someday, here are 5 lessons you can learn from Joker.
- It’s all part of the plan.
From the opening scene of the movie, where Joker carries out a brilliantly planned bank heist, to the scene where he breaks out of Commissioner Gordon’s jail, it is amply evident that Joker has a plan for everything. He meticulously thinks of all possible outcomes and then chooses the one with highest chances of winning (which, spoiler alert, till the end of the movie, he mostly does).
Takeaway for the modern entrepreneur?
In one word – planning.
It’s obvious that when you step into shoes of the CEO of your firm, you will have to pay attention to the tiniest of detail. From go-to-market (GTM) planning that will help you swim amongst tough competition, to an exit strategy that will help you capitalise on gains, there are hundreds of things to consider while cruising your own ship. Not enough can be said about the importance of things like people, pricing and performance analysis for your product or service. Like the Joker, plan the details of your little mission and then have guts to execute.
- It’s not about the money.
In what is one of the most defying scenes in the movie, Joker makes a big heap of money he’s collected from the mob leaders, and sets it on fire, much to the horror of those around him. As the fire rages on in the background, Joker nonchalantly executes the next part of his plan, while stating the now iconic words:
“It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message. Everything burns”.
Often overlooked, an entrepreneur needs to be part of the solution to a problem, even if the buyer does not yet know he has one. All major consumer electronics we take for granted these days – personal computer, mobile or tablet device – have been built by entrepreneurs who have focused first on buyers’ problems. Now, I’m not suggesting you run your enterprise like a not-for-profit, but what I am saying is, you make profit a by-product of the solution you are providing. Money goes where ideas flow, and as an entrepreneur, learn to shift focus here, in order to drive profitable margins.
- Introduce chaos and anarchy.
The Joker calls himself an ‘agent of chaos’, and thrives in an environment where things are uncertain. In the near end of the movie, Joker pays a visit to Harvey Dent, the district attorney who got disfigured and hospitalised due to Joker’s own plan. In a bold move, Joker hands him a fully loaded revolver and with the toss of a coin, asks him to decide Joker’s fate. Fortunately for Joker, the toss saves his life. The takeaway?
Be fearless of change. When Garrett Camp and his friends got together and built Uber, they not only started a business that would disrupt the transportation industry, they became so popular in the shared economy space that changes in the industry are now termed “Uberisation”. In other words, train yourself to be “an agent of chaos”, sit back and then enjoy the results.
- Get down and dirty.
What defines Joker and makes him such a good villain (an oxymoron, I know…) is the fact that he absolutely loves what he does. Whether it’s robbing a bank or driving a truck, the Joker is a true leader, for he leads by example.
If you are a passionate coder and have a great idea but refuse to go out, network and sell, your idea will most likely remain just that, an idea. Be comfortable donning all hats in your venture, and do not get bogged down by so-called-operational tasks. Do whatever it takes to get the job done. Period.
- Be a man (or woman) of your word.
I will leave you with one last lesson, in Joker’s signature dark and sarcastic style. The Joker is a man of his word. When he says he will kill one person for everyday Batman refuses to reveal his identity, he follows it up with dead bodies addressed to the latter. Now I don’t mean, you should kill your competition and hang them from the sides of a building, but, be someone who makes realistic commitments that you can back up.
Every startup, like every good business, is built on a solid foundation of trust. Trust from customers, employees, and from everyone associated with the business. Build a strong network of people who trust your judgement and want to invest in you, by delivering consistently on your commitments. People who trust you will be ready to take risks with you, and that is where true success of your startup lies.
In summary, plan, don’t think too much about money, embrace change, get ready to get your hands dirty and be a man (or a woman) of your word.
“And if you are good at something never do it for free”, says Joker in one chilling scene.
As for you, my entrepreneur friend, it’s the only way of making sense of all your startup madness.