Unless you have been hiding out somewhere for the past couple weeks, you have no doubt heard and seen all the fuss made about the release of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. No wait, that movie isn’t out until December…and the fuss was made about its trailer! The second one out, in fact. Yes, think about this: the excitement was not about the end product–but for its commercial! (For a real treat, check out this real-time reaction from die-hard fan who also happens to be a Catholic priest.) Talk about being pre-sold!
Those with children–especially grown ones–can identify with the challenges of generational gaps. When I was a kid, my father was the quintessential critic of the contemporary music that we listened to (it’s mostly classic rock now). Indeed, even though I have a variety of tastes in music, when I hear some of the stuff these kids listen to today, I still don’t get it.
But I know one thing when it comes to me and my boys: whatever generational differences we have, we will always have Star Wars. (Okay, they are both also Pink Floyd fans, but I digress…)
This nostalgic feeling of sharing an enthusiasm for this epic adventure hit me when the first Star Wars trilogy was re-released in 1997, and then my oldest son was only five. But he went and watched it in awe. And then came the toys and the posters and everything else (some of which I even shared with him).
Then came the prequels, which my kids grew up on (I’m not a prequel basher…I see little point. Despite his creative genius, George Lucas never could write dialog; obviously no one around him ever had the guts to tell him so, but that’s a topic for another article.). We still loved them–and when we finally learned how Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side, we were there in the front row.
And what I loved about that the most was seeing my kids enjoy something that truly was a big part of my own childhood. Yes, I clearly remember when Star Wars came out–I was eleven years old. Until that day of its re-release in 1997, I had seen it in the theater a total of seven times (Remember the key question was not whether or not you had seen Star Wars, but…how many times!).
Indeed, there are plenty of things that do cross generations…and those include many other great literary and film works. The Lord of the Rings is another fine example; and a few weeks ago I showed my 17-year-old son Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ–and he was glued from start to finish. For other parents and their children, it may be a shared enthusiasm for sports, cooking, or other common interests.
But I guess the point of today’s piece, besides seeking an excuse to write about Star Wars, is to call to mind the power of a legacy–a gift that is passed from one generation to the next. As market leaders who aspire to create prosperity for ourselves and our loved ones by first doing the same for others, we should keep our eyes focused on this ideal.
How many companies are truly built and then successfully passed on to the next generation? Not many. Indeed, it calls to mind one of my favorite expressions: “Rich people plan for three generations; poor people plan for Saturday night.”
Yes, your product may have a limited lifespan; even your book may become outdated. But a legacy endures. It is timeless. May the Force be with you, as you work to build your legacy for future generations.