A Lesson on Entrepreneurship from The Transporter

I am a fan of Frank Martin, the character played by Jason Statham in the action film series The Transporter, who, as I do, runs a business services company based on technology and skill.  In his case, he uses a tricked out BMW and ex-special forces skills to take items, or people, from where they are to where the company wants them to be.  In my case, I use a tricked out TypePad blog and ex-dot com skills to take a company from where it is to where it wants to be.

Same thing, right?

What I respect about Frank Martin is his commitment to what he's doing.  In the opening scene of the first Transporter film, when Martin arrives at the appointed time to take items – this time hooded bank robbers to their drop-off destination – four men, not three, get in the car. 

With bank alarms pulsing, even a gun to his temple, Martin refuses to begin driving.  The deal was to transport three men, not four.

“Rule number one,” Martin says.  “Never change the deal.”

In a rebuttal to “The customer is always right,” Martin reiterates the specifics of the deal.  He explains that he won’t be able to provide successfully the service for which he contracted with the customer if the customer doesn’t meet the conditions by which the contract was made.

The major enterprise of my VT KnowledgeWorks member company is the business news and public relations site Handshake 2.0, which celebrated its one-year anniversary on July 28, 2009.

I was asked the other day why I was writing less often about my experiences as an entrepreneur.  The answer is an excellent one:  Instead of being busy writing about being an entrepreneur, I’m busy doing business as an entrepreneur.

I am, however, continuing to reflect on year one in hopes of, well, increasing the profitability of year two.

The plot of The Transporter thickens when Martin breaks one of his other rules, “Never look in the package,” and I have plenty of life experience to corroborate his findings that sometimes rules will be, and must be, broken.

But when I see Frank Martin sitting in his high-end BMW, refusing to depart, and think of my own repeated gnashings of teeth and self-admonitions to be strict about what I'm doing and why,  I realize the lesson I seem to have the most trouble acting upon, i.e. sitting in the driver's seat and refusing to budge, is this one:

I waste the precious time of my life, lose my integrity and morale, and ultimately disappoint the customer when I try to be and do what the customer wants, rather than who I am and what I can do.

"Handshake" rule number one, then, thanks to The Transporter:

"Stick to the vision."

And, yes, we own all three Transporter movies, and, yes, I have watched them many times.

If you’d like to see the scene I've described above, slide the play arrow to minute 2:23.

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