Friday, June 20, 2014

The Wolf of the Wall Street - A lesson in persuation

The movie made me loathe the Wall Street and the brokers.  The brokers are a sink hole who suck up money like leeches and produce nothing useful.  The characters concede that their only job is to move the money from their clients' pockets to theirs.  They don't give a flying f**k (this word has been used 506 times in the movie, breaking all previous records) about their clients or their money, they won't let their clients en-cash profits, because as long as the clients remain invested, the money is 'fugazi'.  It's as if the Martin Scorsese want you to hate the Wall Street brokers.  But the one thing I loved about the movie was the persuasion skills of the characters.  How a bunch of high school dropouts (selling weed) with next to none skills in negotiation and persuasion are trained to convince the millionaires into ponzi schemes.  The millionaires, who have climbed their way up by the virtues of their intelligence and sound judgement.  It's easy to fool a schmuck, but these sleazy guys did it to the wealthiest 1% Americans.  What made their fraudulent words so appealing?

My favorite scene in the movie is the one with the discussion between Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey.  The scene uses obscene words and all (of course), but it's a lesson in conveying a message.  The cavalier way in which Matthew delivers his 'sermons' on survival on the Wall Street is fantastic, almost a religious experience.  It is a lesson in induction for employers, managers and leaders.

While dealing with the clients: the tone, the body language (even on phone), the pitch and the choice of words reach the hearts and souls of the clients.  Of course, those skills are used by the protagonist (irony?) to cheat, but the same could be used by us, the developers and creators, to put forth our ideas assertively.  Developers, I have seen, hate convincing something that is so glaringly obvious to them. Sometimes this holds us back.  The pointy haired bosses make us do things we hate, but we still do it, sometimes due to the lack of the trait I am talking about here.  Sometimes to prove a point, it's necessary to gold plate the proposal, like it's done several times in the movie.  It's sometimes necessary to really believe in the lie you are telling.  Sometimes, it's not a lie if  you believe in it.  I am not asking you to be a compulsive liar or a fraud; that will only spell your doom.  I am asking you to understand the fact that it's OK to be sleazy sometimes to prevent a wrong or to make a wrong right.  That of course is not a direct message of the movie, but it's an inferred one.

Go ahead, fellow creatives, don't let that management mambo-jumbo overwhelm you.  Create your own style of persuasion.  Go grab the wind and rule the world!


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