Because I am the opposite of cool, I used to spend more hours than I’d care to admit watching Star Trek. Oh lord, I can’t believe I admitted that to the whole internet. That sound you hear? That’s my girlfriend frantically packing her bags so she can leave forever. Can’t say I blame her.
Time for an impromptu ranking of my favorite Treks? Don’t mind if I do.
- The Original Series – Shatner is kind of annoying, and the special effects are lame. Grade: B-
- The Next Generation – Mostly good, some of the clothes they wore were hilarious though. Grade: A
- Deep Space Nine – Avery Brooks tries way too hard, but I liked the war seasons. Grade: A-
- Voyager: Teenage Nelson undressed Jeri Ryan about a billion times, but the show got weaker as it went on. Grade: B+
- Enterprise: Did anyone watch this? I sure didn’t. I heard the Vulcan chick was pretty hot though. Grade: ?
Now that we’ve got that out of the way (and my newly found singleness confirmed), we can get to what I was going to talk about. One of my favorite things about Deep Space Nine was how many “random” people found their way into recurring roles. These people were much more like real life. They were deeply flawed in certain ways. As much as everyone loves Captain Picard, you’d be hard pressed to find a weakness in his character, which isn’t exactly how real life works. Except me. I AM YOUR GOD.
One of my favorite characters was Quark, the Ferengi bartender. Quark was an unabashed capitalist, usually breaking some sort of law to smuggle aboard some fancy thing for resale. He was always getting into wacky adventures because of his greed.
In the show, the whole Ferengi race is into this stuff. They travel around the galaxy looking for opportunities to make a buck. Starfleet, meanwhile, has apparently evolved into a form of socialism, since technology have made all of humankind’s basic needs easily met. They even have holographic chicks you can do stuff with, except nobody ever does for some reason. Is it cheating if you do a hologram? Asking for a friend, of course.
The Ferengi live by a series of folksy one-liners they refer to as the Rules of Acquisition. Even though some Hollywood writers just randomly came up with them on the fly, there are some gems in there that will be useful to most any entrepreneur type person. There are also some real head scratchers. Let’s take a look at a few.
(A complete list can be found here)
Rule #1: Once you have their money, never give it back.
Well, duh. Except if you’re a retailer, that is.
Fun fact: there’s a real problem in real estate with this. As a buyer, you don’t go over to inspect the house until after the seller has their money. Like the seller is going to refund you money for anything at that point. You can sue, but that’s expensive and time consuming. Not to mention stressful. I’ll write a post about it sometime.
Honestly, a little weak for THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE, but whatevs.
Rule #3: Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.
I don’t care what you’re buying. Chances are, there will be an opportunity to buy it at a lower price at some point in the future. This doesn’t mean that you should sit on your hands for all of eternity, but just that patience is especially important for investors. It’s not a big deal to sit on some cash for a couple months.
Rule #6: Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.
I’m all for having relationships with people, but if your friends or relatives want to hold you back while you move onto bigger and better things? Those friends suck. Luckily, there aren’t that many people like that in real life. Most people are legitimately happy for their friends’ success.
Rule #10: Greed is eternal
You mean, Ferengis don’t tithe? SOMEBODY GET THE FAINTING COUCH.
Rule #17: A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.
According to Star Trek, most of the Ferengi left the home planet because they all went to search the galaxy for opportunities to make money. Can you imagine living in a world where every person on the planet was looking to best you in a business transaction? That would kinda suck, actually.
Rule #59: Free advice is seldom cheap.
I prefer the other axiom — free advice is worth what you paid for it. Keep in mind that most of your friends’ opinions on things are kinda baseless. The big thing you learn from being questioned by lessor investors is having the ability to strengthen your own argument.
Rule #62: The riskier the road, the greater the profit
That’s gold, right there. The issue is finding out how to minimize the risk.
Rule #94: Finances and females don’t mix
The Ferengi are a highly sexist society that doesn’t let women leave the house, own property, or even wear clothes (unless they’re in public). It’s strange, to say the least.
I’m not arguing that anybody should be that sexist, but there’s a gem of wisdom to take from it. When you’re with your lady (or fella), let the money stuff slide a little bit. Not keeping such a close track of who pays for what isn’t the end of the world.
I’ll leave you guys with that one. There are 285 in total, but it’s an incomplete list. I wouldn’t go as far as printing them out or anything, but it’s fun when a show like that can teach us stuff.