Star Wars’ top 5 lessons for service providers

With the Star Wars brand once again making big international news, I think it’s the perfect time to reexamine the timeless wisdom it has to offer…so here are my top five lessons that service providers can learn from the Star Wars franchise*:

  1. Partner for success – doing battle with The Empire was such a monumental task that even an enthusiastic Jedi Knight like Luke Skywalker had to team up with the free-spirited rebel forces to experience success. There are now promising signs that service providers and over-the-top (OTT) players are also letting go of old grudges to work together for their mutual benefit. Colman Parkes Research examined this relationship and found that 70 percent of service providers view OTT players as potential partners. The best of these partnerships combine each side’s unique skills to expand and improve offerings. For example, European service provider TeliaSonera and online music service Spotify have formed a partnership that Dana Porter, head of Amdocs global marketing, recently cited as having “all-around value” in a recent blog article.
  2. Remain agile – the Death Star was massive. Just imagine all of the Storm Troopers, low-level managers and cleaning staff necessary to keep the Empire running (although there have been unverified claims that they used independent contractors). All of that busy work surely detracted from the main goal of conquering the galaxy.  Today’s service providers are also often stuck performing tasks that aren’t vital for their business, that drain both resources and time, and are outside of their natural areas of expertise. That’s where an experienced managed services vendor can really help, enabling huge service providers like MetroPCS to stay agile, keep costs down, operate more efficiently and speed up product introductions and resolution times, while freeing them to concentrate on their core business.
  3.  Break with tradition – Luke Skywalker is a prime example of why you shouldn’t do certain things just because that’s how your father did them. (Maybe that’s easier to understand when your father turns out to be Darth Vadar). Smartphones and smarter networks were supposed to make it easier to communicate between communities of connected users. But the reality of multiple applications and fragmented contacts and calendars has shattered this dream like a light saber, and so service providers now have to find a different way to deal with what is now a fragmented experience. One fresh approach is Joyn, a cooperative effort by leading mobile operators (and supported by the GSMA) to offer a Rich Communication Service that is interoperable across all operators, with a suite of features that will be embedded in handsets.
  4. Do. Or do not. There is no try! – Yoda wisely instructed Luke Skywalker to set his mind on goals and accomplish them, without letting anything hold him back. And this needs to be service providers’ attitude toward the customer experience. With so many different options available to customers in an evolving marketplace, service providers really can’t afford simply to try to provide a solid customer experience – they must do!
  5.  Find a trusted advisor – as the above point illustrates, Luke Skywalker surrounded himself with wise mentors, such as Yoda and Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi. The same should apply to service providers who will benefit enormously from partnering with a trusted and proven industry advisor that can draw upon its experience and relationships to provide valuable thought-leadership.

 Unfortunately, I have not seen the Star Wars trilogy as many times as I would like (although I look forward to introducing my son to these classic movies from my childhood sometime in the near future). Please add any lessons that I may have missed in the comments section, and may The Force be with service providers!

 *I am referring only to the original trilogy and NOT the Star Wars “prequel” trilogy. I prefer to pretend those movies never happened.



  1. Posted November 14, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    May the schwartz be with you!

  2. Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Excellent post Eric. Don’t forget when you absolutely utterly have to get projects done rapidly, efficiently and evading all Imperial Cruisers find a consultant who has done the Kessel Run in under 4 parsecs, even if they shot Greedo first (arguably).

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