What Spider-Man Taught Me About Business

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On our third date my husband (boyfriend at the time) introduced me to his comic book room.  He said he wanted to “get the awkwardness out of the way”.  As I looked around the room filled with boxes of old comics, shelves of action figures, and the Spider-Man quilt draped across the guest bed I recognized that if this relationship progressed, these characters would most likely remain a part of our life together.  After we married and began having children this suspicion was confirmed.  Before our kids could walk they new the difference between Marvel and DC.  My daughter could correctly identify Daredevil, Mr. Fantastic, and The Abomination.  For my son’s first birthday he sported a pair of Hulk hands.

I can’t say that I ever understood the comic heroes, but there were attributes in each that I thought were admirable.  This was true of all except one, Spider-Man.  What a wuss!  I couldn’t relate to the Peter Parker alter-ego.  It wasn’t until I looked at Spider-Man as a businessman that I began to cheer for him.  He may not preach “Truth, justice, and the American Way”, but what’s more American than the entrepreneurial spirit?  Spider-Man is a true entrepreneur.

Spider-Man was the first “web” developer of course, but aside from the pun he did leverage opportunity.  Bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker took a freak accident and not only became a protector of citizens, but a very successful photographer.  Peter Parker never set out to become a super hero, he wanted to work as photographer at a newspaper.  His transformation into Spider-Man allowed him to capture Spidey photographs and nail down a freelance job at the Daily Bugle.  As a freelancer he was his own boss.  Additionally, Peter Parker used this opportunity to promote the good of Spider-Man.  Perhaps this was the first viral marketing campaign?  Peter Parker created a brand for Spider-Man using the costume and mechanical web shooters.  As Peter Parker he was neurotic and anti-social.  As Spider-Man he won the hearts of both Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane.

Yes, there are many superheros that guide children in their moral decisions, but heck, whether starting a lemonade stand or developing your own company we can all stand to gain some business insight from our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

What superhero do you think demonstrates the best business sense?


Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.

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