Okay. I admit it. Plankton is my favorite character on Spongebob Squarepants. If you’re not familiar (which is more than likely), Plankton is generally considered the antagonist on the show. His entire being exists to steal the Krabby Patty (think “Big Mac”) formula from his arch rival, Mr Krabs, who runs the Krusty Krab, the most popular restaurant in town. While most viewers likely view Plankton as “the bad guy”, I see things a little different. The more I think about him, the more I find that he embodies many of my most admired qualities:
1. He is goal oriented
Not that his goals are worthwhile or even good for society. His primary goal is to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula and put Mr. Krabs out of business. Sort of a Russia to the US during the Cold War. He wants his business, the Chum Bucket, to thrive while crushing the Krusty Krab. Not really a Win Win attitude.. Nevertheless, he is goal oriented, and I think we have to see the good in that.
2. He is a strategic thinker
To achieve his goals, he plans. He plans, and he plans, and he plans. It’s rarely the RIGHT plan, but it’s a plan. Adding a second eye? Brilliant! Build a superhighway right over the Krusty Krab leading straight to the Chum Bucket? Ingenius. Imagine Microsoft putting up construction sites in front of all the Apple Stores to make it impossible to get into the store. Hey! Why didn’t Bill Gates think of that? He’s clearly no Plankton.
3. He executes against his strategy
When he goes after the Crabby Patty formula, he does what he says he going to do. Whether it’s dressing up as Spongebob’s GrammyMa or inventing a brain altering device to turn all the residents of Foggy Bottom against Mr. Crabs, he executes on his plan. Does it work out? No. But what’s better – a great strategy that you can never execute? Or, a poor strategy that gets implemented? Plankton is all about the latter.
4. He believes in technology
Who’s more invested in technology than someone who has a computer wife? His computer wife Karen is his sidekick, and he always takes her input, albeit reluctantly. Oh, and “WIFE” is an anagram for Wired Integrated Female Electroencephalograph. Who wouldn’t want one of those?
5. He’s an entrepreneur
Not a successful entrepreneur, I grant you. He operates a struggling restaurant located directly across the street from the most successful place in town. Nonetheless, the Chum Bucket is an enterprise and his dream, and he does his best to make it work. Too bad for him he’s next to The Crabby Patty. You’d think from a strategic standpoint it would work out? Think Coffee Bean to Starbucks. Burger King to McDonalds.
6. He has an evil laugh
Who doesn’t love an evil laugh? I’ve been practicing mine and am just waiting for the right moment or meeting to unveil it on the team or on a client. One of my favorite Spongebob episodes is when Plankton tries to teach Spongebob and Patrick to have their own evil laughs. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a fine line between evil and disturbing.
7. He’s physically challenged but that doesn’t stop him from reaching for his dreams
Look…here’s a guy that’s 2 inches tall, has a Uni-brow, tiny little arms, tiny little legs, and one eye. For Pete’s Sake, he’s plankton! Yet…he continues to dream. What else is there to say?
8. His entire life is about the recipe for a burger
Talk about focus! Hey…we all have our priorities and passions. Since it seems en vogue to slam on anyone who actually likes to eat burgers these days, I’d love the idea of building my life around a burger.
9. He lives his dream and works his passion
His passion is to get the Crabby Patty formula. He lives, eats, and breathes it. It probably doesn’t even feel like a job to him. He loves what he does. If you believe in what Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”, then you have to think Plankton has it good (even if HE doesn’t think he has it good).
10. He never quits
Anyone that has failed as much as Plankton would have to at least think about quitting. And, Plankton does ponder it from time to time, but each week he comes back more committed than ever to his goal and his dream. You have to admire the stick-to-itness and commitment. We could all learn a little and be inspired by this.
I know a lot of folks have other favorites on the show, but Plankton is really the only one for me. Mr. Krabs…too greedy. Squidward…old and a fuddy duddy. Patrick…a little thick. Spongebob himself…too nice. Sandy…too much of a Science nerd. Yes. I’ll take Plankton every day of the week. He’s not exactly a success story in the true definition, but he’s an inspiration nonetheless.