In honor of the passing of Leonard Nimoy, aka Spock, Benjamin Wey reflects on how the Vulcan’s non-emotional approach to life translate into business. (© Matthew Mendelsohn/CORBIS photo)
Love it or hate it, “Star Trek” is a part of modern pop culture, so the Feb. 27 passing of Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on the TV show and in its movie versions, made headlines. It also caused me, Benjamin Wey, to reflect on the completely logical science officer from the planet Vulcan and what his non-emotional approach to life could teach about business and careers.
I, Benjamin Wey, wouldn’t put him in the same class as Peter Drucker, but still, the character delivered a few relevant lines.
“It’s interesting to see the links between entertainment and business values. This is classic example of that.” Says Benjamin Wey, investigative reporter and Wall Street financier, and CEO of New York Global Group, a private equity firm specialized in funding growth companies.
1. “Change is the essential process of all existence”
If that doesn’t sum up business, I don’t know what does. Whether you flourish or perish all depends on how you handle change, but change itself is inevitable.
2. “In critical moments, men sometimes see exactly what they wish to see”
I think I, Benjamin Wey, would replace the word “sometimes” with “most of the time,” but the thought is spot-on. If you have to deal with change, and you only see what you want to see, disaster looms. Yet somehow, we can ignore the facts right in front of our faces and believe in the most unreal fantasies. It never hurts, in a critical moment, to ask “am I wrong?”
3. “Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them”
And yet, we believe in the computer models, we interrupt face-to-face conversations to read text messages, and some of us can’t stand being unplugged. You have to ask yourself, who’s the boss around here, anyway?
4. “Insufficient facts always invite danger”
This is so obvious that you may wonder why anyone would even need to point it out. But when you consider the three quotes ahead of it, it does need to be stated, over and over.
5. “Logic is the beginning of wisdom not the end”
You don’t need to have taken a class in logic to understand that just because something is logical doesn’t make it wise. The reductio ad absurdum argument proves this. If you can follow logic to make some premise or supposition seem ridiculous, it probably isn’t wise. Business leaders who don’t understand this have wrecked many a company.
6. “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do”
This is entirely why I, Benjamin Wey, love business. You are asked to test your limits in a variety of ways and always on the fly. People who say “I can’t” have failed before they begin. Those who say “I can” are either proven right or wrong. And being proven right makes up for everything else.
7. “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true”
I, Benjamin Wey, am convinced that the “serial entrepreneurs” among us feel this acutely. The rest of us experience it often enough. If you fail at something, this can make you feel a bit better about it, and if you succeed, it’s a reminder that change is going to happen. So, take your victories with a grain of salt.
8. “It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want”
This one speaks for itself.
9. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”
This puts Spock in the anti-Ayn Rand group, but when it comes to business, this is almost always applicable. Do what benefits the greatest number, and you tend to get results. Looking out for No. 1 has its place, but it’s a poor long-term strategy.
10. “Live long and prosper”
When it comes to business and careers, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
Benjamin Wey is a financier, investigative journalist, professor and a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine and other media outlets.