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7 movies that featured failed business models

Businesses can initially witness great success, but if there’s a flaw in their plan that is exposed then it all can come falling down very quickly. The following businesses from the big screen had a flawed strategy, some of which you can learn from to nurture growth in your organisation. The failures won’t all be the same, but they all offer similar themes where there has been a bad consequence.

1. InGen – Jurassic Park

InGen is a bioengineering company that performs research to recreate extinct animals.

On the face of it, that’s a lovely idea, and one that would gain many investors if the research and planning was solid.

The issues behind InGen arose when several dinosaurs were cloned and shown to the public in Jurassic Park. One of their rivals managed to sabotage the operation, allowing dinosaurs to roam free on the island of Isla Nubar (where the park was located) which meant that investors couldn’t find a reason to justify the project.

InGen didn’t mitigate the risk of their park’s systems being compromised. The crisis meant that InGen’s stock dropped, though they were able to survive despite a financial struggle.

2. Stratton Oakmont – Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf of Wall Street is based on a true story, and Stratton Oakmont saw the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort.

Stratton Oakmont would trade penny stocks to artificially inflate the price of an owned stock through false and misleading positive statements, selling the cheaply purchased stock at a higher price.

There was one major issue with what Stratton Oakmont; what they were doing was illegal.

Many shareholders were defrauded, which lead to the arrest and imprisoning of many of Stratton’s executives, including Belfort. The firm was shut down in December 1996, seven years after it opened, having made $3 billion in revenue. Belfort served nearly two years in prison for his crimes. He took valuable life lessons from his experiences and is now a motivational speaker.

3. Cyberdyne Systems – Terminator

Cyberdyne Systems created Skynet in Terminator. Skynet is a neural net-based artificial intelligence that gained self-awareness, thinking for itself and spreading into millions of servers worldwide. When humans tried to shut it down, Skynet perceived the attempts as an attack and concluded that humanity would try to destroy it.

Instead, Skynet tried to destroy humans. A nuclear exchange prompted by Skynet led to the deaths of over three billion people.

That alone is enough to suggest that Cyberdyne failed. Poor decision making and risk mitigation of their major service meant that they make this list.

4. Weyland-Yutani – Alien

Weyland-Yutani runs human colonies outside of the solar systems, mainly being known for their technology. Their ethics are questionable at best as they sacrifice their workers to try and obtain alien Xenomorphs so they can be used as weapons.

Wey-Yu knowingly send their employees into situations that are basically suicide in the pursuit of profit and financial gain, exhibiting the worst aspects of corporate greed at the cost of human life and decency.

They came under serious financial and political scrutiny: colonies sued for independence and rivals took over contracts leading to the outlawing of Weyland-Yutani and subsequent folding.

Poor resource, people and stakeholder management led to the downfall of Weyland-Yutani.

5. OCP – Robocop

Omni Consumer Products (OCP) is a typical depiction of the evil movie megacorporation that has become a running theme in the sci-fi genre. They create almost every product that a consumer would need, entering ventures that would normally be thought of as non-profit and trying to make money out of them.

OCP also sought to fully privatise the city of Detroit, Michigan. “Delta City” as it was known had fully privatised services, including police, where residents had representative citizenship through purchasing shares in OCP stock.

Again, a company that focuses on money with questionable ethics and practices with poor stakeholder management.

6. Umbrella Corp – Resident Evil

OK, there’s a running theme here. Just don’t be evil, but don’t use that as your company motto.

Umbrella Corporation has a large array of subsidiaries which cover-up illegal practices and activities.

They are responsible for engineering the t-virus and G-virus in the Resident Evil games, which later received a big screen adaptation, which qualifies them for this list.

A containment failure at the Arklay Laboratory meant that infected Cerberus “zombie dogs” escaped their cages, killing and wounding hikers, who turned into zombies and ate others.

Espionage, destabilisation and congress interference led to Umbrella collapsing. Their loss in a court trial surrounding the zombie incident made them bankrupt, with no-one wanting to purchase the company due to the stigma attached.

7. Octan Corporation – The Lego Movie

Octan Corporation features in The Lego Movie as the evil corporation that controls all consumer goods. They make everyone believe that they’re living in a utopian land, when in fact, things are being dumbed down and portrayed as happy, along with the annoyingly catchy and upbeat jingle “Everything is Awesome”.

Octan is run by the imaginatively named, and evil, Lord Business. The alter ego of the uptight President Business, Lord Business seeks to take over the Lego Universe. He wants to stifle imagination and creativity as he believes it to be messy, wanting to capture all Master Builders to achieve his goal of a world of order and organisation.

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