Hollywood through the lens of the business expert

Hollywood through the lens of the business expert

The reviewer: Fabrice Cavarretta teaches Organizational Behavior and Entrepreneurship in the Masters and Executive Education Programs.

Blue Jasmine, the failed leader

Blue Jasmine tells the story of a rich Manhattan socialite and her dramatic fall from grace. At first, she manages to successfully embody an ideal: the wealthy, attractive, popular and dutiful Manhattan wife. But when the going gets tough, the façade falls and the true shallowness and fragility of her character is revealed.

Jasmine’s fall from grace is in fact a perfect example of what we call Leadership Derailment: while certain qualities brought her to a certain position of power, they ultimately fail to sustain her in that position over the long term, much like many young professionals who are singled out early on in their career because they’re attractive, good communicators, and extroverted. However, qualities can in fact hide shortcomings.

Jasmine’s qualities hide a deep seeded narcissism which drives her to worsen her financial situation, and pass blame. The same is true for narcissistic leaders, who are more likely to take risks at the expense of the company, a relationship which is outlined by ESSEC colleague Arijit Chatterjee. 


Dallas Buyer’s Club: more proof that users can be outstanding innovators

Dallas Buyer’s Club is the real life story of a man, Ron Woodroof, who is infected with aids and decides to take charge of his fate rather than wait for the slow moving Food and Drug Administration.  He’s dying, he has no time to waste, and he sees what needs to be done – he’s the epitome of what drives “user innovation”, a concept developed by MIT’s Eric Von Hippel. In other words, Ron is a Lead User – someone who faces a significant need that will eventually be general in the marketplace. He’s the ideal person to tweak, tamper and hack what’s already available – and innovate with fellow users, outpacing large corporations (here drug companies).

His experiment is also an example of Lean Management: Crowd sourcing the development of new products allows them to validate the idea and its business viability, and responds quickly to an actual need: the value of Ron’s product is defined by what the customer is willing to pay for it.

Her: Shades of a third industrial revolution to come

Theodore falls in love with his artificially intelligent operating system in Spike Jonez’s Her. This AI future isn’t that farfetched and will have serious repercussions on economies and societies, let alone the impact it will have on our personal lives.

The first and second industrial revolutions automated manufacturing and data processing to a large extent. But of course, a person had to be there to push the buttons, and tell the computers what to do. The thirds industrial revolution will increasingly take humans out of the equation. And if – or when – the day comes that technology gains emotional intelligence, so many jobs will be at stake—both intellectually and emotionally complex ones--that it will change the way our societies function.


Further Reading:

"Quels compromis pour composer l'équipe entrepreneuriale"  published in L'Art d'Entreprendre : des Idées pour Agir, 2008

ESSEC Knowledge on X