Things Tech Can Learn From “The Batman”

Things Tech Can Learn From “The Batman”

As we enter 2023 the tech industry is entering uncharted territory with layoffs, budget cuts and downsizing. This was just supposed to be a 2020-2021 pandemic thing right? Not so fast. Recession, macroeconomics, and fear have other plans. As bad news mounts, I can’t help but think what the industry will be like over this next year and beyond? Instead of turning to another data-based article for answers, I’m turning to The Batman.

WARNING Major Movie Spoilers Ahead

The Batman (2022) was one of the greatest films in recent history. Played by Robert Pattinson, Bruce Wayne is forced to face several personal demons as he faces off against the dark underworld of Gotham City. The personalized journey Bruce takes is unique to the Batman universes and offers a symbolism many face in life. The point of the movie I want to highlight is the final speech given by Batman as he rescues the city from destruction. He knows that even though he has saved the day today, the destruction will last for a long time. Much like the tech industry, in which any good news is dwarfed by the massive layoffs. Let’s review.

“Wednesday, November 6th. The city is underwater. The National Guard is coming. Martial law is in effect, but the criminal element never sleeps. Looting and lawlessness will be rampant in the parts of the city no one can get to. I can already see things will get worse before they get better. And some will seize the chance to grab everything they can.” -Batman

Tech could be described “underwater” as it currently stands. As chaos erupts it provides an opportunity for people to make moves. People have to do what they have to do. When they enter self preservation mode anyone can surprise you. Now this isn’t to say that it’s always a bad thing. We hear stories all the time about the employees that save companies during recession. They took advantage of the short staffing and moved forward 5 years in just 1. However, it can lead to darkness as well. In which Batman predicts the Penguin will rise through the chaos by taking advantage of every shortcoming. I predict we see both good and bad instances during this downturn.

“I’m starting to see now… I have had an effect here, but not the one I intended. Vengeance won’t change the past — mine, or anyone else’s. I have to become more. People need hope, to know someone’s out there for them.” -Batman

As negativity swirls social media streams, offices, and TV screens, it’s inevitable that people will start to doubt their overall impact in tech. When I speak about the social media industry, I like to discuss the family we have. A family that has built this industry together through blood, sweat and tears. Before it was “big tech” it was a community and I still truly believe the community atmosphere exists. Despite the good, there have been so many plot twists along the journey. It’s easy for someone to head down the road of vengeance or “wanting to prove someone wrong.” These thoughts become dangerous as they consume us, drive down creativity, and collaboration. As an industry “hope” is something we can give each other. To know we’re not alone, to know we still stand together through this year. Our words have an effect on others whether we always see it or not.

“The city’s angry, scarred, like me. Our scars can destroy us, even after the physical wounds have healed. But if we survive them, they can transform us. They can give us the power to endure, and the strength to fight.” -Batman

In this quote the city represents tech. Look, I know we see the posts popping up saying “thank you for the opportunity” and political correctness. Being professional and respectful is absolutely the way to go. But I can’t help but acknowledge the frustration in the industry behind closed doors. Tech has seen incredible ROI since 2020, monumental growth, and has spent money on a lot of fancy things. It’s hard to swallow that in an industry that has grown to be so big, that layoffs at this scale are necessary. But then again I can’t pretend to be a CFO. I can only explain how people feel. Scars of being laid off go far beyond a severance package. They hang with you. Four months of being unemployed during my layoff journey in 2017-2018 still hangs with me today. Once that little piece of fear is put into your head it’s hard to get rid of. Which leads to the ultimate villain to creativity and that is self doubt. When you develop a little self doubt in this game, it’s hard to find the strength to rebound. Batman battles this very same issue in his upbringing. But as he saves Gotham, he realizes that his scars could be his greatest asset. They can be the strength to endure, to fight for our careers, to be a part of the solution. We will see thousands of individuals in our industry rise above the tide. They will come back into tech and be better than they were before.

“We will rebuild. But not just our city. We must rebuild people’s faith in our institutions, in our elected officials, in each other. Together, we will learn to believe in Gotham again.” -Mayor Bella Real

At the end of The Batman, Gotham Mayor Bella Real, delivers a very powerful message. She instills confidence that the city will rebuild, just as tech will rebuild. When this rebuild happens it has to be more than positive ROI. People are inevitably going to lose faith in tech for the near future as illustrated by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph. This should come as no surprise. I don’t think a CEO can make any promises with a looming recession, inflation, etc at this current time. That’s fair. But there will be a day when this levels out. When it does it will be important for tech companies to rebuild their trust with their employees, their partners, and elected officials. The constant battle back and forth is penalizing the people they vow to most protect. The employees.

How do you feel? Are my Batman revelations fair or foul? I’m curious your thoughts!



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