Startups

Star Wars for business: 10 helpful tips

Some sage bits of wisdom from Star Wars lend themselves beautifully to entrepreneurship. Here are 10 that we've picked out for you.

28 Oct. 2015 Melanie Petersen

1. "Much to learn you still have"
Yoda to Count Dooku (Episode II – Attack of the Clones)

This applies especially to entrepreneurs and freelancers in today's business world, but even salaried employees can't limit themselves to what they learned during their apprenticeship or studies. Ongoing education is necessary in many fields, in particular due to digitization. What a computer programming student learns in their first semester is already outdated by the time they graduate.

2. "Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side."
Yoda to Anakin Skywalker about his visions (Episode III – Revenge of the Sith)

Fear is not a good counselor when it comes to making decisions. A manager in a startup must often make risky decisions that can have a powerful impact in one way or another. The desire for safety cannot always have the upper hand.

3. "Great warrior? Wars not make one great."
Yoda to Luke Skywalker (Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back)

Wallowing in the successes or failures of your competitors wastes energy you can use for other things. Of course it's important to keep an eye on the competition, but instead of focusing on your competitors' weaknesses, it's better to think about your own strengths.

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4. "Anger, fear, aggression: the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight"
Yoda to Luke Skywalker (Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back)

A positive attitude towards your business and your own work are not the only keys to success, but they are certainly helpful. Especially if you still want to be happy after years of hard work and not burn yourself out. If you notice lots of negative feelings taking over in your work, you should find ways to change that.

5. "Do... or do not. There is no try."
Yoda to Luke Skywalker (Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, chapter 31 – There is no Try)

"Do... or do not. There is no try," says Master Yoda – and right is he. If you say: "OK, we'll try it," that means you don't have confidence in what you're doing. If that's the case, you should decide against it. But if you find enough reasons to go ahead, then say to yourself: "We'll do it!" Why show doubt when you've already decided to do something? Formulate goals instead: don’t say: "We'll try to win the French market," say: "We are going to win the French market."

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6. "Size is not everything. Smaller in number are we, but larger in mind."
Yoda to the clones (Clone Wars – Ambush)

Okay, this quote comes from the computer animated Clone Wars series. But still it's a perfect fit because in recent years, many startups have shown that they can stand up to the big names in the industry. With clever financing and new approaches such as lean management and design thinking , many a small team has shown amazing growth, as we can see from Uber , Airbnb , Slack and Dropbox . It isn't size that matters, but creativity, agility and determination.

7. "Open yourselves. Feel the Force that surrounds you. Your senses you must use."
Yoda to the younglings (Episode II – Attack of the Clones, chapter 14)

This quote also reflects a design thinking principle that is nicely described by Wikipedia (German edition): "The approach is based on the work of designers, viewed as a combination of understanding, observation, brainstorming, refining, execution and learning." Observing, improving and validating in particular are an important process for product development. To do this, entrepreneurs have to extend their feelers and not only pay attention to very specific details, but also recognize and understand the spirit of their target group.

8. "Your perception determines your reality."
Qui-Gon Jinn to Anakin Skywalker (Episode I – The Phantom Menace)

It should be clear to everyone that there is no such thing as absolute truth or a single taste. An entrepreneur's reality can be very different from that of their customers, employees or business partners. Regularly comparing different realities helps here, for example with customer surveys and performance reviews . Because point of view always matters.

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9. "Someone has to save our skins!"
Leia Organa to Han Solo (Episode IV – A New Hope)

Leia says this to justify her unorthodox approach to saving herself and the others. It includes a little barb, because what she's really saying is: “Someone has to save us – and you're not doing it!” She's taking charge. There's a matching saying in Facebook's corporate culture.

10. "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
Darth Vader to Admiral Motti (Episode IV – A New Hope)

An important characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is their unwavering belief in their purpose. This doesn't mean you should naively brush off every critique from an expert, but you shouldn't let yourself be discouraged too easily by setbacks.

If you're interested, you can also watch the trailer of the new Star Wars film here .

Yoda - "Much to learn, you still have."

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