Over the summer, the BBC showed the complete run of The Wire, a cult American television
drama about the complex inter-relationships between criminals, police,
politicians, and the media.
Almost uniquely for a television drama, it took the
mechanics of business seriously. One drug dealer, Stringer Bell, even studied
economics at night school and applied what he learned there to his day job.
So it is not surprising that fans of the show – and it was
one of those shows people either loved or you hated – sometimes find themselves
thinking about it when they should be thinking about their own businesses.
These are the sort of thoughts that occur when that happens.
1 Wherever there is
demand for a product, there is a business opportunity.
2 Drug dealers and
politicians have more in common than either party likes to pretend.
3 Knowledge is
power: be careful about sharing information. When Proposition Joe introduced
Marlo to his wholesaler it was only a matter of time before Marlo cut out the
middle man – and had Prop Joe shot a couple of episodes later.
4 Never confuse
business and friendship – remember Prop Joe.
5 A business can
actually benefit from having a restricted number of outlets if it maintains a
high quality product – this was Stringer Bell’s great discovery.
6 Stick to what you
know: just because you succeed in a sector you know well does not mean you will
succeed in other sectors – this was Stringer Bell’s great mistake, when he invested
his drug profits in dodgy property development schemes.
7 Keep an eye on the
details – Omar was shot by a twelve year old boy whom he did not consider to be
8 Honesty is the
best policy – or at least it keeps you out of a lot of unnecessary hassle.