Breaking Bad & Lessons from Walter White
Bryan Cranston delivered a great acceptance speech after his Emmy win about finding your life’s work and passion, and not settling for mediocrity. I was really struck by how intense and special creating Breaking Bad must have been for the players involved (I’m sure this applies to most other high quality creative processes for music, TV, movies, performance arts, etc. as well), and the collaboration and teamwork that needs to take place to pull off a series of its caliber.
Besides being great entertainment, Breaking Bad & Walter White’s struggle as a particular type of entrepreneur had insights for me personally that I found valuable over the course of the 6 seasons.
- Avoid half measures. This is similar to Ben Horowitz’s ‘debt’ accumulation concept he talks about in his book - particularly relevant for hard personnel decisions.
- When you’re the talent, you can dictate the terms if you want - but make sure you’re irreplaceable if you decide to go this route. Most of the time (extreme athletes in sports one such exception) it turns out that you are not.
- Sometimes you need a 'criminal lawyer’ - other times, you need a 'criminal’ lawyer. As struggles arise along the way, you may need to adapt your approach quite radically & do whatever it takes to achieve your desired results.
- Don’t let personal ego get in the way of what could be a win for everyone. This relates to 2) - Walter’s desire to break away from Juarez Cartel had catastrophic consequences for everyone involved.
- You may be a big deal at work, but neglect your domestic responsibilities at your peril.