1984: Terminator – What a cool movie! Great concept, excellent filmmaking, excellent execution. Time travel fun!

1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Effective use of new technology (CGI!), fun story arc with a scarier Terminator. Bigger action. Time travel gets more complicated.

2003-2015: Multiple variations on the older themes, stretching to come up with compelling story lines. Time travel becomes an excuse to go wherever the story deems necessary.

2019: Terminator: Dark Fate – “How can we leverage all the latest technology in filmmaking, recycle all the aging characters (who hand off time-looping ‘responsibilities’ to a younger hero set), and create a ridiculous volume of action, explosions, combat, mayhem, and destruction.”

Who should see this?

  • Anybody who felt like episodes 1 and 2 were compelling enough to watch the rest of the franchise up to this point.
  • Anybody who REALLY likes guns, explosions, and lots and lots of death.
  • Anybody who doesn’t mind ignoring a weak story line (riddled with plenty of modern complain-ey social commentary and poor acting) to get to the killing.

To be fair, the action was fun—for the first half hour. Then it got kind old after a while.

There wasn’t much reason to go back and watch the originals again—there wasn’t enough commonality with previous story arcs to need to remember—the touch points were flash-back reminders of previous story arcs that (due to time travel nullification) aren’t even relevant in the modern story. This tied of most of the potential problems that could arise from trying to explain why aging characters are still relevant, considering what happened previously.

The movie did fail to explain why or how the original Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) managed to actually age as he waited around after the late 90’s. These sorts of distractions at least provided some distraction to non-stop action.

All in all, it was a fine distraction—most of the CGI action was effective. Over the top, completely unbelievable, but not too distracting. There were a few “lazy CGI” sequences where the super-human strength and agility of the Terminator would allow it to easily ascend with extra speed, but somehow allowed gravitational forces to pull MUCH faster downward than would happen in reality. (Extra strength and a fast jump upward doesn’t translate into faster-falling-than-normal—the brain quickly discards these moments as production failures. This sort of nonsense might work for Superman, but not here.)

At the end of the day, this movie feels like a project to have a project—it’s a money-making enterprise—a new iteration of the franchise. The art is gone. The machine rolls onward.

Similar philosophies are observable everywhere in the business world!

Most startups and smaller organizations must have a different survival philosophy than larger corporations. Cash flow management and employee usage patterns differ hugely from organizations whose debt structures allow years of operation without profit.

Large organizations can afford to buy contracts (whether done ethically or not) while small organizations worry about funding their marketing budgets. An organization with the funds and power to lobby lawmakers is in a completely different league than a business who struggles with managing the gaps in their accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll cycles.

The good news is that there are enough of the smaller fish that they do create a competition balance—if the large organizations become too bloated and rely on their cash-cow residuals, the granular workforce loses power when competing with smaller, hungrier groups. Innovation and hustle from the mosquitoes and biting flies can cause the horse to start to wake up and start working again.

Competition is important.

ERP systems—while important for large corporation—can become strong pivot points in a smaller company’s competitive strategy. Consider these parameters:

Large Corporation ($500 Million+)

  • Can easily spend $5-50 million on a large-scale ERP rollout, taking years to implement.
  • Large ERP implementations often fail completely, retool, and re-attack with a new focus (who knows just how deep the rabbit hole goes of planned failure and resulting upsales…)
  • A high number of internal development and implementation resources are necessary to augment consultants. Consultants (at this level) often work at a lower level than internal staff.
  • Projects are overly aggressive and fail because too many integrations with too many changing components over too long of a project make failure a high likelihood.
  • Much of the functionality is internally developed as customizations to make the ERP usable.
  • ERP investment (as a percentage of total revenue or profits) is inconsequential—simply a budget line item.

Small to Medium Business ($10 to $500 Million)

  • Will spend $10,000 to $200,000 per year on subscription or perpetual license/maintenance deployment
  • Implementations are much shorter time frames, and rapid out-of-the box software deployments become much more common.
  • Consultants can often fill the role of internal staff for purposes of development, administration, and implementation—the savings from having to employ full-time staff can be huge. Consulting (when done correctly) can provide many tangible advantages over hiring internal specialists.
  • Best of breed philosophy allows users to leverage new technology to increase competitive advantages. This can show up in workflow efficiencies, cost savings, and increased ability to compete based on better knowledge.
  • ERP investment (as a percentage of total revenue or profits) is high, but the offsetting competitive advantages can often leverage the investment in both quantifiable and subjective ways that multiply the growth and profitability of the whole organization.

Startups ($0 to $10 Million)

  • Will spend $300 to $5,000 per year on subscription
  • Will not engage consultants to help, except when things go wrong, and then it can quickly become overly expensive repairing failures.
  • Will hire external accountants to make things work and protect assets (reactive approach to growth and information.)
  • Will often not leverage technology to their competitive advantage.
  • Worry about the overall cost of their ERP system—can they afford it?

Like the movies, when the money is flowing and it’s relatively easy and quick to leverage previous investments, big things can happen without intense effort. (But the efficiencies and competitive capacity diminishes through relative laziness.)

However, when the entrepreneur, the competitor, and the hungrier smaller fish are fighting for a seat at the table, magic can happen.

Let’s make sure we don’t make strategic decisions based on the path of least resistance—let’s choose an approach and strategy that allow us to make things MUCH better, MUCH more competitive, and MUCH more financially leveraged.