The “Breaking Bad” school of business

The Economist on the business lessons of Breaking Bad:

Three things help our chemistry teacher turn an insight into a flourishing business. The first is huge ambition. He is not in the “meth business” or the “money business”, he says. He is in the “empire business”. The second is product obsession. Other dealers might peddle “Mexican shoe-scrapings” on the ground that addicts care little about quality. He produces the king of meth, so pure that it turns blue, and would rather destroy an entire batch than let an inferior product be traded under his brand. The third is partnerships and alliances. He spots talent in a former pupil turned drug-dealer, Jesse Pinkman, and forms a strong working relationship with him. He also contracts distribution to a succession of local gangs so that he can concentrate on the higher-value-added part of the business: cooking and quality control.

I think they’re overlooking the fact that Walt was selling a product that is so addictive it destroys the lives of its users and compels them to do deplorable things for a taste.

We’re not talking about widgets.

Yeah, okay, Walt had the big picture in mind and could recognize relationships that could help him get ahead, but don’t forget that the guy was selling meth.