The Business Breakdown: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

What can credit unions learn from a movie that tells us to be careful what we do with our own powers?


Evolution can be a double-edged sword. That’s the message of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The movie is an origin story and tells of how apes originally got their intelligence, language skills, and interest in exploring the boundaries of power.

I liked it, but it wasn’t as action-packed as I would have hoped. Aside from a stunning helicopter explosion, the action scenes were too infrequent for me. Still, I’m an Apes novice, so if you’ve seen all the other installments, you might want to check this out.

In the story, an ape named Caesar takes his intelligence (given to him unintentionally through his genes) and leads a revolt against the oppression of his captors. But he doesn’t stop when he breaks free from his literal prison. Check out the preview below. Stuff gets serious real quick when they escape into San Francisco.

What’s the financial equivalent of this story? I don’t know that there is one, but the lesson of managing growth and minimizing greed is a good one. Let’s take a look around the economic world and see what kind of connections we can make.

  • Costly College Trinkets: USA Today takes a look at the market for back-to-school spending. The update? People tend to buy stuff they don’t need. The Breakdown: Certainly, some of your members have college-aged kids. Share this story with them and remind them that just because the suggested list of stuff might be long doesn’t mean that they have to buy it all. Moderation for members can not only save money but also teach kids to spend wisely.
  • Jobs In Jeopardy: CNNMoney has a solid piece on the jobs crisis. Unemployment’s at 9.1%. We added jobs in July, but it’s just too unpredictable to feel confident. The Breakdown: Here’s an instance where we see the negative effects of hyperactive growth and greed. The mortgage meltdown and other negligent behaviors led to the economic mess we’re in now. What are the results? The millions of unemployed Americans struggling to make ends meet. Credit unions can help though. Brainstorm ways to save members money or lend them money to help them get back on their way.
  • Phone Preferences: Mashable has a cool graphic that shows which mobile operating systems win in which states. The Breakdown: Technology has allowed people to connect in ways never thought possible. Credit unions can link up with members via apps that allow for transactions simple and complex. But never forget what got you in good with your members: personal service. Don’t let technology reduce the quality of your service. Members still need people; an app can’t solve a complex problem.

One of the themes of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is that “Evolution becomes Revolution.” It’s wise to remember that when you’re evolving as a cooperative. It's not a universal truth, but make sure you understand where you’re headed and what kind of results you’re working toward. That way you won't get lost.

The last thing you want is the financial equivalent of a couple hundred apes rampaging through San Fran.



Aug. 10, 2011



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