Jan 5, 2009

Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark?

In December I participated in a fun interview:

Entrepreneur.com: Who Is The Better Entrepreneur: Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark?

Not all of my answers appeared so here are the other answers I provided, but that were not published:

Who would you rather work for?

WayneCorp. I'm not big on munitions. Wayne Enterprises has a social focus which I prefer. I'd rather find different, useful ways to help my fellow man/woman rather than focus on more innovative ways of destroying him/her.

Who had a better strategy for building up his company?

You got me. I need to study their histories better.

However, it's important to know that Wayne Enterprises was already a gigantic operation when Bruce Wayne inherited it. I think that Stark Enterprises was still iin growth mode, though I'm not sure.

The skills needed to manage a mature, centuries-old company are somewhat different than a constantly growing, relatively young company.

And some other comments:

  • Bruce Wayne has one trusted advisor (Alfred) who he listens to periodically. He is willing to admit that he may be wrong and will try to correct the course before disaster strikes. He does more planning than reacting. Tony Stark, on the other hand, trusts himself to make all the right decisions all the time. He will head right into disaster and figure out a way to get out of his mess. Somehow, he always does, but it would be much less of a hassle for him and for his entourage if he took more time to plan ahead. Executives need trusted advisors, and need to listen to them even if they don't agree.
  • Both are highly innovative and resourceful which is essential in a world of rapid change. They both have the ability to act under constant pressure (usually) without a complete breakdown.
  • Both have demons they are constantly battling with (depression, substance abuse, womanizing, etc.) Fortunately for them, the wear and tear on their psyches and bodies are strictly limited to the written page. For any executive, any form of abuse needs to be dealt with and eliminated as much as possible. Executives have a responsibility toward their company, employees and other stakeholders. Substance abuse affects mood and judgment which are critical to effectiveness. Therapy, for both of them, is essential. Many high-powered individuals may not seek help because they feel they are constantly in control and therapy is a sign of weakness. It is actually the opposite: it takes a strong person to admit they need help and cannot do it alone.

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