I saw “The Founder” – a movie about Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds recently.
All I knew about Kroc was that he was the person who saw the potential of franchising McDonalds. And, I knew little about the relationship between Kroc and the McDonalds brothers. So, watching the movie was an eye opener.
While the movie starts out seeming like a story about the triumph of entrepreneurship and hope, it moves into darker territory and becomes about greed and ruthlessness. Kroc’s success gets to his head and he attempts to write Jim and Mac off from the company’s founding story. He then promises them 1% of the profits of the company through perpetuity via a “handshake” deal and then refuses to honor it. And, finally, he ensured they couldn’t use the name in their founding store and drove them out of business.
It feels like a movie emblematic of a time when there was sayings like “It’s not personal, just business.”
I think that’s less the case today. You can’t choose to write off a person from a company’s founding all that easily. Word gets out thanks to blogs and the internet.
But, that said, there’s still a lot of dirty stuff that happens under the pretext of “business” and “industry.” And, movies like this do make you think about the real cost of a relentless cost of success and wealth.
More than anything, it is a reminder that it is on us to ask that all important question – how will we measure our life? What are we really looking to get out of life? And, at what cost?
PS: The movie is well done. Michael Keaton does a great job in the lead role.