Akif Malik


5 Lessons for Startups and The Next Jedi

Star Wars | The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest episode of the greatest story of the universe opened this past weekend so out of respect to those who have not seen it yet, no spoilers here, but here’s 5 lessons for startups or anyone planning to be The Next Jedi.

  • Let the past die — in order to take Star Wars into the future, director Rian Johnson took Kylo Ren’s line seriously across the movie with subplots, characters, twists and big surprises. Every startup, tech or sports organization faces these challenges at some point of how to balance what got them there to what to stay with, change or risk with their audience, users, customers and brand for the future.
  • Coaches and mentors are essential — no matter how talented, even if you are a Jedi, Michael Jordan, the Google founders, Golden State Warriors, Michael Phelps or any successful sports team, startup, athlete, leader or executive, you benefit from the wisdom, guidance and honest feedback from others to make you better than you can be on your own. Who’s your Yoda or Obi-Wan?
  • Failure is part of the journey — failure is critical to The Last Jedi story. We easily celebrate the success of athletes, teams, entrepreneurs, startups and don’t pay enough attention to the many mistakes, failures, missed shots and blunders along the way that made that success possible.
  • Dark Side is strong, the Force must be stronger — Star Wars has repeatedly demonstrated that no matter what you throw at it, the Dark Side always seems to have power. From doping in sports, stealing trade secrets, sexual misconduct, people often take the easy way or exploit others. This often backfires so if you just always do the right thing, you’ll find the Force is always stronger when you need it most.
  • Robots are our friends — Star Wars has co-existed with droids like R2-D2, C-3PO, BB-8, K-2SO for decades while humans catch up in real life with robots, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Imagine your life without a calculator, map app or smart device and that is the reality evolving with robots. So, be nice to robots. They will help you do things better and might save your life.

And, if you’ve already watched The Last Jedi, check out these two different perspectives from M.G. Siegler HERE and Anil Dash HERE.

May the Force be with you.

Reprinted from Podium’s latest newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. Podium is an accelerator, fund and community for sports, media and entertainment based in Silicon Valley.

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