The show, about a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who turns to a life of drug dealing when he’s diagnosed with cancer, has continued to pull in audience members with its mix of dark humor and pathos. In fact, the season five premiere was the most watched episode in the show’s history, until the premiere of the last stretch of episodes shattered all former records.
What does this have to do with your startup? Breaking Bad might be the story of one man’s moral decay, but that man is also running a business. Walt has certainly made a lot of mistakes with his business over the course of five seasons (the first of which was probably choosing to sell meth). Surprisingly enough, these mistakes can help you avoid common pitfalls in your own startup life.
So before Walter White and protege Jesse Pinkman drive off into the sunset in their mobile meth lab, here are the four startup lessons you can learn from Breaking Bad:
Follow Your Passion And Believe In Your Vision
Walter White is a great chemist, which is what gets him into the meth business in the first place. But I doubt anyone has really “followed their bliss” into meth production. On the show, Walt had been burned years earlier by a bad business deal which lost him millions of dollars. He dropped out of the business at the exact wrong moment, right before the company hit it big.
Walt should have stuck in there, especially for a company he believed in. Not surprisingly, studies have shown entrepreneurs tend to be more optimistic than the average employee. Why? Because you’d have to be a “glass half full” kind of person to think you were going to beat the poor odds of startup success.
Still, there is something to pie-in-the-sky idealism. Studies have shown optimistic entrepreneurs are ultimately more successful. This is because they believe in their vision and they’ve followed their passion. Optimistic entrepreneurs are more likely to see setbacks as challenges, not excuses to throw in the towel. If Walt had stuck with his initial business, there would have been no reason to start cooking meth.