It’s been 20 years, and the happy sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea still resonates with people around the world. The Nickelodeon cartoon “SpongeBob SquarePants,” created by the late Stephen Hillenburg, since its debut the syndicated children’s show has become a fixture in pop culture, and memes especially among millennials. In a way, the show taught us lessons about life, money, and business.
While the character’s mass appeal has surprised some critics, SpongeBob’s millennial fanbase, now grown-up adults, took away messages on friendship, honesty, business, and finding the courage to be yourself.
Here are some money lessons from the show that influenced a generation.
Never Give Out the Secret Formula
We all know this, Plankton has devised plans to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula from Krusty Krab. Business is a war of information. Information is a very powerful thing, but it depends on how you end up leveraging it. Some pieces of information are more valuable than others too. There is certain information that within the wrong hands can end companies, ruin lives, and tear apart friends. Information such as the contents of the one and only- Krabby patty secret formula.
Let’s say Bill Gates is Mr. Krabs and he holds the formula on which case it the source code of the Microsoft Operating System. If somebody got their hands on it, Mr. Gates and Microsoft would not have stayed at the top of the technology market of their time as competitors can easily mirror their business model.
This explains why Mr. Krabs, Spongebob, and even Squidward at times end up going to great lengths to protect this information from falling into the wrong hands. After all, this is an entire plot formula within Spongebob.
There are also organizations that purposely show their Kraby Patty formula for the sake of improving the state of the technology. Tesla Motors and Bitcoin developers, for example, the source code of their product is readily available over the internet for everyone to study it. Giving out information can be beneficial to you, but also harmful. Choose what you share very carefully, but never disclose the entire Krabby Patty Secret Formula.
Time is Money
This one isn’t actually it kind of old school. Even if it wasn’t from good old Mr. Krabs, you’ve probably heard this at some point in the past. However, there’s more to this saying than what meets the eye. Money is a resource and time likewise is also a resource. They are unique currencies to be spent and distributed as one sees fit. I do hope this is starting to sound familiar?
You see, taking a slight detour from Spongebob, videogames actually provide an adequate demonstration of how diverse resources can be. Look at the game DOTA2. Could you tell me what resources are used in that game? At first glance, one would easily say Gold, the goal of the game it to Kill enemy heroes and creeps for gold so they can make their heroes and their team stronger than the other team in a given time so they can easily take the objectives.
In business, this is entirely the same about strategies and money goals. This means that when Mr. Krabs says “Time is money!”, he is actually saying “time is a valuable resource!”.
We can allocate our time effectively to meet our personal goals but we must be mindful not to waste in unproductive ways. It’s entirely up to us whether we want to transmute our precious Time into actual Money.
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau
Own your mistakes and learn from it
People aren’t perfect, and that includes SpongeBob and the rest of the gang. He’s accidentally splatted a drop of paint on Mr. Krabs’ most prized possession. He’s gotten orders at the Krusty Krab wrong. He blew up the whole bikini bottom and a lot of other things.
Mistakes happen. But every time SpongeBob realizes that he has made a mistake, he fesses up and apologizes, but you know what happens in the end? People forgive him because he tells the truth. We make money mistakes in investing and business but that us okay as long as we stay true to our goal and we learn from our mistakes, we will live through.
I have not heard a single business who did not make a single mistake in their lifetime, it’s part of the process!
And let’s not forget about our dear old Plankton, every though he failed hundred of times to get the formula or make Chum bucket a successful business he still move on. Another lesson here is, You can’t do good business with a bad person.
Find positivity in everything you do
Not everyone SpongeBob meets is as jolly as he is. His neighbor and co-worker, Squidward, is a persistent grouch. Plankton, the business rival of Mr. Krabs, is always plotting ways to take down the Krusty Krab.
But even faced with sour characters, SpongeBob stays true to himself and lets his spirit shine. And eventually, SpongeBob’s infectious positivity catches on.
In life, even in business, we will face a lot of negativity and anxiety but it’s up to us which face do we want to wear, a happy face will attract more money than a grouchy one. “My job sucks” Hey, everyone’s job sucks but we continue to do it because we need the money and we need to grow.
Always look on the bright side, there’s a two side every coin, like SpongeBob always try to look on the good side of people it’s a good way to give out a good vibe.
Deliver the Pizza
The Pizza Delivery episode which was first aired in 1999, the premise of the episode goes as such- the Krusty Krab is just about to close up shop for the day when a customer ends up calling in. He asks for a pizza, despite the restaurant only serving burgers.
Naturally, the cashier, Squidward, rejects the customer, only for his boss, Mr. Krabs, to show up and override Squidward’s refusal. Mr. Krabs effortlessly turns a pile of hamburgers into a pizza somehow, then tasks Squidward and Spongebob with the delivery of said pizza.
Sounds silly right? But Mr. Krabs is not as greedy as he seems, he found a niche that his business could fulfill and is attempting to capitalize on that.
As I write this blog, we are in the midst of a pandemic almost every business need to shape up to the new ways of doing business and try to “deliver the Krusty Krab pizza” in the sense that, if there’s something they haven’t done in the past that they could start doing to help out the specific demands of the market. Even if we sell hamburgers, the customer wants pizza, let’s do our best to see if that’s possible.
You can’t spell ‘fun’ without friends
SpongeBob considers just about everyone in Bikini Bottom his friend. But there was never a doubt that Patrick, the pink starfish, has and will always be SpongeBob’s best friend. The two go on fun adventures, laughing at themselves as they make memories along the way and there has the same goal, to have fun and be happy.
Doing business is more fun if we have friends, look for people who belong to the same industry that can help you, and in turn, help those businesses who are just starting out, and you will be surprised how rewarding this is.
Want to be financially stable? stay away from energy and money vampires, I’m not saying throw away your friends it’s just that it will help to accomplish this goal if you surround yourself with financial positive people who have the same goals as you.
Are you hanging around people who are constantly complaining about their money “situation,” or are you surrounding yourself with successful friends? And by success, I don’t necessarily mean mega-millionaires, but those with a financially positive mindset.
It’s fund doing business and discussing money matters with friends and that’s what friends are for: having fun. SpongeBob is so adamant about this that he devotes an entire song to help people remember.
“‘F’ is for friends who do stuff together. ‘U’ is for you and me. ‘N’ is for anywhere and anytime at all down here in the deep blue sea.”
Find the right people to work with and you can’t go wrong. Mr. Krabs has good people on his side Spongebob, Patrick, and even Squidward to make Krusty Krab a successful business.
Hopefully, you can now understand how a simple children’s cartoon is not actually as dumb as it seems. Are the lessons found within Spongebob 100% accurate? Obviously not given the intense qualification I’ve had to do. Despite this, it provides a stable platform of common knowledge which helps to prove a point, especially to the young generation. New knowledge is always easier to parse within a familiar context.
Using the knowledge you have gained through humorous reference, hopefully, you too will be on your way to becoming the next Mr. Krabs! Or well, a less crabby, less greedy, but still successful version of him. All it takes is a sense of humor and a desire to learn in order to make complex ideas simple!
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