3 Business Lessons from Star Wars’ Han Solo


Smuggler, fast-talker, ladies man, cult-favorite, cynic, criminal, space pirate, murder (if you, like me, believe he shot first), hero, captain of the Millennium Falcon, one of the greatest leaders of the Rebel Alliance, best friend to an over-sized bear-like creature from the planet Kashyyyk – Han Solo is all that. These are just some of the words that you could use to describe this roguish space cowboy that George Lucas created more than 38 years ago.

Like him or not, next to Darth Vader, Han is probably the most popular character from the entire Star Wars universe. Why? – Well, because he’s always on the verge of being labeled as a hero or an anti-hero. He’s neither this, nor that. He walks that fine line between these two epithets, without ever really tipping over to a single side.

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Although being known around the galaxy for his mischief, during the course of three films, Han shown us that he has all the qualities needed to become a real hero, but still, he refused to discard his bad boy image.

He’s loyal, courageous, selfless, and, above all, a great friend.

When we first met him, back on Tatooine, in A New Hope, he was a guy who only cared about getting paid. Han was presented to us as an arrogant, shifty and selfish smuggler who had no problem of telling even the most dirtiest of lies, in a blink of an eye, if they could help him gain the upper hand in any situation.

As we’ve established in the whole Greedo incident, Han was a shot-first type of guy. However, as the film progressed, we saw a whole new side to him. In the original trilogy, we saw this loud-mouth small time criminal go well out of his way and even risk his life to save those around him he cared the most about.

With all this in mind, you could say that the character famously played by Harrison Ford is a morally ambiguous individual, who also, above everything else, has a pure heart. As Lucas described himself: “Han is a loner who realizes the importance of being part of a group and helping for the common good.”

The very reason why I find Han Solo so interesting is that, when you really sit down and think about it, he really isn’t involved in any major aspects of the Star Wars story. He doesn’t care about the Force, nor is he interested in establishing peace across the universe. No. Han just wants to get Jabba of his back, and keep his friends out of trouble. That’s it. Ok, maybe he wants to make a few bucks along the way, but nothing more than that.

Although he’s a complete outsider in this story, he somehow fits there. Next to the two extremes we have here, The Rebels & The Sith, The White & The Black, we get Han as someone who’s neither really good, nor bad. He’s basically “Grey”. I find that fascinating. I think that’s why I really liked him the most as a kid. He’s a character you could easily relate to.

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Alongside his trusty co-pilot Chewbacca, Han Solo has lived through many adventures throughout the galaxy. He has dealt with all sorts of shady characters and lived to fight alongside Luke and The Rebellion. If you ask me, there are a lot of things that we can learn from this space cowboy, from the planet Corellia, who later on becomes a General thanks to his efforts in a number of Alliance battles against the Empire. Here are just a few:

1. Never Fear The Odds!

Han is an “shot first, ask questions later” type of guy. During the course of three films, we saw Han set out to do the impossible. For example, he went out to find Luke on Hoth, despite the chance that he might freeze to death before he gets to the first marker. Apart from that, this crazy space cowboy smuggles himself and his friends past the entire Empire’s troops in the Millennium Falcon, even though it seemed like a 1/1 suicide mission.

Whenever C3PO tried to use logic to explain the complexity and the danger behind some of his plans, Han would turn around, look him dead in the eye and say: “Never tell me the odds!

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This quote has been adopted by many Star Wars fans. I use it whenever I find myself in situations where I have to overcome the impossible, like pass an exam that I forgot to study for.

Although I have often been criticized by my friends and colleagues for going head first in potential hazardous situations, I think that taking risks is quite important in life.

It doesn’t matter how well you calculate your odds, you always have to keep in mind that there are a lot of unknowns out there that could turn even the most precise of plans in a whole different direction. That’s why I don’t always trust the numbers. If I have a gut feeling that I should try something, I tend to go for it. If I fail, I fail. At least I tried.

Naturally, I’m not a reckless person who tries the impossible, like climb to the top of the mountain wearing nothing but flip flops. No. What I’m saying here is that any action, no matter how trivial it may be, carries a certain risk with it. Going by that definition, we take risks all the time. Some may not be as detrimental to the desired outcome or may be close to inconsequential, but they’re still risks.

Taking risks is a big part of life. Any sane man would take a risk only if he believes that despite a possibility for failure, he is capable enough to struggle against the odds. It shows courage and a strong desire to succeed at the task at hand.

Just like Han and the gang, we should take risks when we believe that we could truly overcome the odds, no matter how slim the possibility for success may be. It is this belief that grants us success and the chance to become something else, than just regular Joe’s.

As Frank Warren so perfectly put it: Be wise enough not to be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks.

2. Never Agree To Anything Before You Truly See The Big Picture Behind a Specific Deal

Han Solo is a lot of things, but certainly not a good businessman. He’s reckless, far too greedy and full of depth to actually think before he commits to something. We’ve seen that numerous of times in the first Star Wars film.

For example, after losing Jabba’s cargo, we see Han and Chewie meeting this old man (Obi Van Kenobi) in the Cantina, who wants them to take him and this young boy to the Alderaan system. They arrived and start to go over the terms of the deal. Solo assured Kenobi that the Millennium Falcon is the fastest ship around, because, and I quote: “It had made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.”

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Before they even really get into detail, Solo set the price for services at 10,000 credits (higher than he usually would ask for this sort of thing). Kenobi sees his 10k proposal, and raised Solo’s bid to 17k, promising him 2k now on the spot, and 15k when they reached Alderaan.

Without even taking a second to think about why would anyone be dumb enough to overpay this sort of service to such ridiculous extent, Han accepts the old man’s offer.

A short time later, a bunch of stormtroopers appears in the docking bay and starts to fire at Solo and his furry friend. Fighting for his life, the smuggler finally realizes that he got the worse end of the deal.

3. It’s Better To Be Broke Forever Than To Work For A Big Slimy Worm


Before they met Kenobi and Skywalker, Solo and Chewie used to work for Jabba the Hutt. For those who are not familiar with the name, Jabba is the Outer Rim’s crime lord, based on the desert planet Tatooine, who is basically this one big, fat and slimy worm type of thing.

Solo and Chewbacca smuggled all sorts of things for Jabba. At one point, Han Solo even became Jabba’s top smuggler.

However, that was instantly forgotten when the duo was forced to dump a shipment of valuable goods when the Falcon was boarded by Imperial troops.

Han and Chewie got arrested and Jabba’s shipment – well, it was gone.

Although Han explained that he had no choice but to dump the cargo and that he would compensate him for his loss, Jabba still placed a bounty of 50,000 credits on the pair, which only could be removed if they compensated him for his loss, with a 20% interest.

Backed into a corner, Solo managed to talk him down to15%, and ironically stated that the Hutt was a “wonderful Human being,” before entering the Falcon and leaving the ugly worm’s sight.

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I don’t know about you, but, unfortunately, even though I haven’t really smuggled any goods for money in my current lifetime, I’ve done business with my fair share of “Jabbas”. You know the type – greedy, ungrateful, ruthless and detached individuals who would suck the life out of you just because they can.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot defeat a bad boss. If your boss isn’t a person who understands your situation and he isn’t willing to grow with you, as an employee, then I wish you good luck. You can try working more closely with him (or her), appealing to his character, giving him constructive feedback, but in the end – you can’t change who he is. Your only remaining option is to quit.

That doesn’t mean you need to quit the company entirely (it could mean you get yourself transferred to a new boss), but you should never work for a bad boss (it will stifle your development).  And if everyone who works for a bad boss leaves, he would eventually get replaced or demoted.

Thank you for following through this blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. If you have anything to add, or you think I forgot something important to mention in this article about one of the greatest leaders of the Rebel Alliance – feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section below.

If not – Take care, and may The Force be with you!
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.

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