The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) Movie Review

Imagine the scene: Interviewing for a sales job with no prior experience, and the CEO of the company asks you to sell him a pair of fictional headphones. Most people would have tried all different things, such as describing every feature about the headphones or why they are so good. Honestly, I’m pretty sure the CEO was expecting the same from me, but thankfully I had watched a little movie called The Wolf Of Wall Street.

 

A movie I enjoyed so much that I watched a talk from the main man of the film, Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film). In this talk, he discussed one of the key components to selling anything; questions. Asking questions such as how long they’ve been looking for this item, what they plan to use it for, and so on, can help identify the product they need and help you upsell the right product, thus solving their problem. It was these techniques I used in the moment and just like that, I had a new horizon ahead for me.

 

But whilst I was looking forward, let’s look back at this outstanding 2013 biopic and the remarkable story of Jordan Belfort. A young, slightly naive Belfort sees his career as a stockbroker on Wall Street come to an abrupt end following Black Monday in 1987, the largest one day market drop in history. After starting again at a specialist penny stock boiler room brokerage firm and taking it by storm with his outlandish selling style, Belfort begins a firm of his own with new ambitious Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill).

 

Bringing in several of Donnie’s acquaintances, Jordan trains them in his hard selling techniques as part of a pump and dump scheme. This entailed making exaggerated statements on stock prices, before the client is eventually left with virtually worthless stock whilst the brokers take home a big paycheck. With his slowly growing business and the attraction of many young brokers, Stratton Oakmont was born.

 

But like many individuals who make it big, Jordan’s lifestyle takes a drastic change and starts to put him on thin ice. After leaving his wife following an affair with Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie), Jordan finds himself in trouble when he is tracked by the FBI after making $22m in one day thanks to the IPO of Steve Madden. With A Swiss bank account opened, a worsening drug addiction, the FBI on his tail, his colleagues being arrested and eventually his wife leaving him, Jordan’s world starts to crumble.

 

Despite all his issues, he can’t let the company go and with the evidence against him piling up, Jordan is left with no choice but to turn on his former partners by wearing a wire, and even this goes wrong when he tries to inform Donnie of the recording. With the FBI made aware of his betrayal, the final nail is firmly banged into the coffin.

 

And with that, Stratton Oakmont dies a quick death following an FBI raid. Although he had the world at his feet, his illegal methods meant Jordan’s success was built on borrowed time, and eventually was forced to serve 36 months in jail. In spite of this, this film inspired memes galore, one of the wildest multi million businesses you’ll ever see and for me personally, inspiration which has got me where I am today.

The Social Network (2010) Movie Review

Even the biggest of businesses can start in the smallest of places. Every day, people scroll through Facebook- sorry…Meta, to look at their feeds in a bid to kill time, or sometimes just see what people are doing with their lives. Well, this piece of social media, which is worth $554b today, all started in a university dorm by a young man named Mark Zuckerberg.

2010’s The Social Network shows the polarising journey of Zuckerberg, who would make many questionably moral decisions on his way to launching his virtual empire. Starting out as a revenge mission against his ex-girlfriend, Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) sees his controversial online stunt as a reveal to a gap in the market; the ability to share interests, relationship status, photos and more.

There was one small issue though, which was Facebook was not entirely Zuckerberg’s idea. Kind of. After an approach to a similar idea for a social networking site from the Winklevoss twins and business partner Divya Narendra, Zuckerberg took the idea and built it in his image with his and partner Eduaro Saverin’s (Andrew Garfield) vision; TheFacebook.

Of course, turning his back on investors led to a lawsuit, and as Zuckberberg found himself being influenced by bigger names as the money came in, meeting Napster founder Sean Parker proved to be a poisoned chalice. Swayed by Parker’s advice, Zuckerberg forced former friend Eduardo Saverin out, leading to another lawsuit.

Despite taking Facebook all over the world and becoming one of the world’s richest men, Zuckerberg was forced to pay out millions of dollars in settlements and caused many of his closest allies to turn their back on him. Risking his reputation, relationships and friendships, Mark Zuckerberg risked it all to change the face of social media as we know it. Even in 2023, he is regarded as an extremely controversial figure in the world of business.

The Founder (2016) Movie Review

For anyone thinking that they may be too old or past it in business, The Founder will make you realize that if you have the vision and the willpower, anything is possible.

Just ask Ray Kroc, who In 1954, was a milkshake machine salesman in his 50’s selling his stock out of car, pitching to several fast food restaurants, normally to no avail. However, while one project was failing, Kroc would stumble upon something even better when he went for lunch one day at a small burger joint in San Bernardino, California. That burger joint was a small family run restaurant called McDonald’s. 

By the time Kroc passed away in 1984, he had taken that same restaurant worldwide and turned it into one of the recognizable brands on the globe, which now grosses over $20billion a year.  So how did he do it? Well, Kroc (Michael Keaton) found himself encountering many fast food restaurants during his pitches which simply couldn’t deliver the adequate service to give their customers a satisfactory experience. 

That was until he went to McDonald’s for lunch, and was stunned by the speed and convenience this small establishment offered at a time when drive thru and deliveries were a pipe dream. Blown away by the way McDonald’s had customers served and fed in such a fast and practical manner, Kroc realized he had found a gap in the market.

Taking on a deal with the McDonald’s brothers, he ran a successful new restaurant. But his attempts at making changes, which included the addition of powdered milkshake, were usually met with skepticism and outright refusal by the McDonald’s brothers. But like many strong businessmen with a vision, Kroc was not going to sit and wait for them to eventually relent.

It’s at this point we see Kroc’s ruthless side that makes us all question his morals, as a meeting with Harry Sonneborn helps Ray realize the real business is not the burgers, the fries, or in fact anything on the menu; it’s the real estate in franchising the restaurant to different locations. Seeing the opportunity to take his vision of McDonald’s to the next level, he didn’t wait around.

Kroc expands the restaurant to numerous locations by opening his own real estate business under the McDonald’s umbrella against the founding brothers wishes, in the process putting his marriage at risk and enduring issues with his mortgage. Despite his questionable tactics, his new venture is so successful that he is able to buy the brothers out of their business for $2.7m ($26m in 2020) and as a result, officially became The Founder of the biggest fast food corporation in the world today.