5 Things Marvel’s Iron Man Taught Me About Business


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5 Things Marvel’s Iron Man Taught Me About Business

Billionaire, playboy, industrialists, world’s greatest engineer, inventor, genius, philanthropist, Iron Man, Avenger, superhero – these are just some of the words that describe the greatness that is Tony Stark.

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last two decades, I’m quite sure that you’re familiar with this name. Iron Man’s heroics have been adapted and seen in almost every popular medium today. Thanks to Robert Downey Jr’s majestic embodiment of the character and the wild success of his standalone film back in 2008, Tony Stark has transcended the comic book medium and entered a much bigger scene. He plays an essential part of today’s pop culture.

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Even though he’s still a product that’s designed to entertain people, when you really dig deep and start to analyze the character from all sorts of different angles, you can see that there’s so much more to him than just a flashy suit. Under all that metal exterior, there’s still a real man there who, even though he often makes mistakes, does everything in his power to grow and right all the wrongs in the world.

Personally, I find this character quite inspiring. Following his adventures for years now in print and on the big screen as well, this character helped me learn a great deal of different things about life, friendship, and business. Especially about business. So, without further delay, here are just a couple of tips about business that I picked up from the Invincible Iron Man:

1. Everyone Makes Mistakes, But Only A Few People Are Willing To Admit When They’re Wrong and Work To Make Things Right Again

Like him or not, Tony Stark is one of Marvel’s most iconic and celebrated characters. Why? – Well, because, unlike most other popular comic book heroes out there, Tony is first and foremost human. He’s relatable. Even though he is part robot, insanely rich, exceptionally intelligent, suave and extremely charismatic, throughout his adventures Tony constantly keeps making rash emotional decisions and mistakes that later on come back to bite him on the ass.

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Everyone who knows anything about this character has acknowledged the fact that Tony Stark has myriad flaws. He’s arrogant, sociopathic, pompous, impulsive, stubborn, and overconfident. Although these flaws sound irritating, the truth is – they actually make him quite likable. In Mr. Stark’s case, these imperfections manifest from his comic perspective of the world and intensify his existence. It’s always interesting for me to see how Iron Man’s big mouth and pompous attitude gets him into all sorts of troubles.

Although he’s exceptional from every angle you look at him, he still carries the same burden as you and I do. Tony Stark has family issues, he misses his dad, even though he never really had a real relationship with him, he depends on his friends and wrestles with his inner demons on daily basis. He’s a human being with standard human problems.

Even though he’s stubborn and often causes grief to everyone around him, he still has the decency to admit when he’s wrong and go out his way to make things right again. Mr. Stark doesn’t really live in the past. To him, what’s done is done. There’s no reason to cry over spilled milk. He believes that if we truly want to progress in life, we need to drop everything and start focusing on the future, because unlike the past, the future isn’t really set yet.

I completely agree with you here, Iron Man.

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2. You Always Need To Build A Better Machine

As seen in any of Iron Man’s adventures, there’s always need for improvement. The foes keep getting more powerful, the risks higher, and the stakes – well, you already know – as big as they possibly can.

As seen in Iron Man 3, it takes an army of Iron Man suits to save the president and stop all those villains that want to see Tony dead. In The Avengers: Age of Ultron, we have learned that in order to slow down The Hulk even for a second, Tony needs to up his game and create an iron monster that matches Dr. Banner’s size and power when he goes green. So, having all this in mind, we can agree upon that if Tony wants to keep counting victories over his enemies, he has to constantly work on his inventions and think of new ways on how to stay one step ahead of everyone else?

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Good. I’m glad we see eye to eye here, because, guess what? – The very same set of principles goes for every business out there. If you don’t want to end up crushed by your competitors, you constantly have to rebuild your “machine” and make it better.

It doesn’t matter what you do or sell, if there’s any money to be made in your niche, sooner or later, you’ll have to face some real competition. If you, like us, have 10.000 active paying customers and a steady rise of leads, you shouldn’t just keep your head down and be grateful for everything that you currently have. No. Why? – Well, because things change. New companies are born every single day and if you don’t do your best to constantly grow and provide your current and future customers with new values from doing business with you, it’s only a matter of time when you’ll find yourself in a situation where you powerlessly watch new brands steal your piece of the pie right from your hands.

Continue to work hard on yourself, your products and services, and no one will ever stand a chance against you. As Charles de Montesquieu once said: “It is always the adventurers who do great things, not the sovereigns of great empires.

3. It’s Not Just About The Money and Power – If You Want People To Remember You, You Have To Stand For Something

Born and raised in Long Island, New York, at a very young age, Tony showed the world that he has a great and exceptional mind. At the age of four – he built his first circuit board, at the age of seven – his first engine, at seventeen – he graduated from MIT.

Once he turned 21, Tony inherited Stark Industries, a weapons and technology conglomerate, from his late foster father Howard Stark. Under Tony’s leadership, the company became the world leader in the development and manufacturing of advanced weapons. Stark Industries were supplying grade A weaponry to anyone who had deep enough pockets to pay for them.

Like most accomplished businessmen out there, Tony took pride in his success. He did all he could in order to fully enjoy the fruits of his labor. He partied all night long, hit on thousands of women and spend as much money as he possibly could on meaningless toys and pleasures. You could say, Tony was living the dream. However, that all changed once he got captured by terrorists in Afghanistan, and figured out that he has a piece of shrapnel lodged close to his heart which will cause him to die within hours, unless he does something drastic, like build in an arc reactor in his chest to keep him alive.

After doing exactly that, surviving his near-death experience and escaping from the clutches of the terrorists that really showed him the destructive power of his creations, Tony decided to completely turn his life around and dedicated his time and talent to designing powerful robotic suits that could help him protect the world from all sorts of different dangers.

And just like that, Iron Man was born.

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Looking back at this iconic transformation, we can see the old saying in action: “To change the world, we must first change ourselves.

I think this is one of the biggest and most important giveaways that we can take from Tony Stark. Even though he was powerful on paper, he never really stood for anything, and thus – his life had no real meaning. Take a page from Tony’s book. Strive to inspire, to be great, to help people and stimulate growth. Don’t just work to pay the bills. You’re better than that.

4. Even Superheroes Need Friends To Help Them Out

As we seen in almost every Iron Man film and comic, even though he doesn’t initially want to, being an egomaniac that he is, Tony often finds himself in situations where he needs his friends to help him out of a jam. Pepper, Rhodes, The Avengers – these are just some of the people that Tony often relies on for help.

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Most businessmen I know, especially those that run big and respected companies, would rather drive their brand into the ground, before admitting that they need help with something. Everything they don’t really understand, they immediately discard. I don’t really get that. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you sell, or even how well you run your business, there’s always something you don’t fully understand yet. It’s normal. No one is ever knowing and ever powerful. Even pharaohs who believed they were direct descendants from the Gods knew that they couldn’t build their pyramids on their own.

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it’s quite opposite. It proves that you have your both feet on the ground and that you’re open to learn and conquer your challenges, instead of just stroke your ego.

5. Nothing Can Really Stop You If You Calculate Risks And Work On Your Advantages

Unlike most Marvel characters, Tony Stark doesn’t have any real superpowers. He doesn’t turn into a big green monster when he’s angry, he doesn’t shoot web from his arms, he isn’t a demigod, nor a super soldier, nor a well-trained assassin. Nope. He’s just a guy, like you and me, in an iron suit. Maybe even less, if we acknowledge the fact that he’s basically an invalid. And yet, he still stands hand-to-hand with all these superheroes in battle.

How come? – Well, there are a lot of different reasons. First and foremost of all, the thing that really sets Tony apart from any other guy is his wits. Unlike any from the above-mentioned heroes, Mr. Stark always thinks ahead. He never tries to punch his way out of a jam. No. Tony’s a lot more clever than that.

Tony Stark is a visionary. He focuses on the futuristic possibilities, and one of his major skills is calculating risks and striking when the time is right. Apart from that, he’s willing to put in the man hours in order to transform himself into something far greater than he actually is.

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Calculating risks and working around the clock to make yourself better is something that I can really relate to. As you probably know, web hosting is an extremely competitive niche. In order to rise on top, you constantly have to upgrade your service and assure your clients that their website is in good hands. Reducing the risk of their digital office going offline is one of the most important things I need to do every single day of my life. That’s why we invested a whole bunch of money into developing our own network infrastructure. Now we can guarantee 99% network uptime, so people will have a legitimate reason to keep their websites on our servers.

Even though Tony is a fictional character, one can still learn out of things from his character traits. I hope you enjoyed reading this text as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have anything to add here, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section below.

Until next time,
As Tony says: “Don’t drink and fly!
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.

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