CHAPTER :
A Codependency of Interests: Lessons on entrepreneurship from True Detective
With entries from:
Mark Hand   —   6 years ago

"This place is built on a codependency of interest," says Vince Vaughn's character as he steps menacingly into the personal space of Blake Churchman, his assistant. "It worries me, you talking so stupid."

In the first episode of Season 2 of True Detective, which aired on June 21, Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, an ambitious, crooked casino owner. In the wake of a news article threatening to uncover the municipal-level corruption Semyon pays into, Churchman plays down the potential impact of the story on his boss. "I'm saying you're not touched," he says. "Everybody gets touched," Semyon responds.

What Semyon understands--and Churchman misses--is that Semyon's power and fortune are the fruits of his having built what network science call "patterns of interdependencies." For Churchman, one relationship matters above all others: the one with Semyon, his boss. But that simple reality is manufactured ; it is Semyon who has wrought simplicity for Churchman from the complex political, business, and personal relationships Semyon must navigate.

That navigation of chaos, that transformation of complexity into simplicity, is the unique and primary role of the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs do not build businesses in isolation; no company is an island. Instead, they construct or reorganize relationships so as to create "codependencies of interest" that or redirect value: often monetary value, and often into their own organizations and pockets. Semyon is in the boss because he understands this; Churchman reports to someone else because he doesn't. And the next seven episodes of True Detective, I suspect, will see the rather violent unraveling of the codependencies that keep Semyon in power.

For more, watch Oxford Professor Marc Ventresca's "Don't be an Entrepreneur; Build Systems." from TEDxOxbridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9T3diyqRPg

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