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Transcript of The Aviator
Entrepreneurs Take Flight!
Mission, Vision & Values
The film " The Aviator" provided a real life based story that revolves around the entrepreneur Howard Hughes and allowed our group to relate aspects from the course such as: Characteristics of an Entrepreneur, SCAMPER, and Business Strategy.
“Creativity is the production of solutions
that are both novel and appropriate.” (Malleck, 2013)
Mission: To succeed no matter what the cost.
What was Howard Hughes’ mission?
Hughes always has a goal in mind, even from when he was young.
o Goal: make movies, drive the fastest planes, build the largest aircraft and be the richest man in the world.
- Very driven by his passion for aviation
- Risks life to ensure his goal will be a success
o Tests planes even with chance of it failing
- Jeopardizes his relationships
o Prioritizes his passion over everything
o His relationship with Kate ended because he was obsessed with his business
- Does whatever he can to make sure his work is perfected to the last detail
o Hires meteorologist to tell him when clouds would appear in the sky so the planes in his film, ‘Hell’s Angels’, would have a sense of speed.
What SCAMPER methods did Hughes use when producing Hell’s Angels?
Provide some examples.
Howard Hughes spent $2 million on the production of his film Hell’s Angels, and even when he was close to finally releasing it, he decided to start over to make it a talking picture due to the sudden popularity of sound.
having clouds behind the planes provided dimension and made them appear as if they are going faster. Need the sense of “relative motion” to mimic what the war was really like. Hires meteorologist from UCLA to accomplish this one task.
after the premiere, Hughes wanted to make edits and cut some scenes to make them shorter.
What was his vision in achieving his goals?
Hughes sees beyond his current goal to complete a task. Not only does he envision his goals being met, but he also sees what can become of it. Like a camera focusing on a particular spot, Hughes also sees the bigger picture. He anticipates growth to the aviation industry and as well advances in his career.
What are some of Hughes’ values?
How did Hughes apply SCAMPER to the H-1 Racer (the plane with which he set the record for fastest time with an airplane, and fastest around the world?)
His main value is aviation:
devotes his life to building planes
Hell’s Angels was a movie he filmed and it also entails aircraft
He puts his money on the line to ensure his planes are properly built even if it means using all his money
There are some things in which he did not value:
“drill bit” and oil money
When Hughes asked the mayor for two more cameras to add to the 24 he has, the mayor implied that if he continues to shoot the movie the way that he is, he won’t have enough oil money.
Hughes does not care and still does everything in his power to obtain two more cameras
Hughes substituted the engine of the original plane for a larger, more powerful engine.
Changing how the plane was riveted together, and making the rivets flush to the body of the plane increased the aerodynamics of the plane, thus decreasing drag.
Hughes initially removed the top wing of his biplane to make a monoplane. This allowed the plane to be lighter and move more quickly.
In your opinion was Hughes a creative individual? Were his ideas novel and appropriate?
Yes, his ideas were always about the modification of the picture for its improvement and all about making the plane faster or the movie more realistic.
Since sound was now popular, making the switch to a talking picture was wholly appropriate if Hughes wanted to consider his audience
His ideas weren’t necessarily novel but the entire production with its scandals and budget was novel for Hollywood at the time.
In your opinion, was Hughes a creative individual with the creation of the Hughes H-1 Racer? Were his ideas novel and appropriate?
Yes! With the help of his crew, changes were made to the classic biplane to create a plane which was completely new for America.
While sometimes obsessive (such as with making the plane as aerodynamic as possible,) Hughes ensured that the plane matched to his design and purpose.
What type of business level would Hughes fall under? (Generic, Cost, Different or Intimate)
Hughes did not have one particular business level since he was always experimenting with new planes for different purposes such as his movies, the war, his business, and for his passion.
- The Hercules was built for the sole purpose of being delivered during the war.
- Used a unique product to ensure that the government will provide funds
- Hughes offers a very unique product
o The Hercules is a very large flying boat that takes flight from the war. It is the largest flying boat ever built.
o Was not offered at a reasonable price. It was very expensive to build; however, the uniqueness of this plane was enough to woo his target consumer.
What are some examples of Hughes buying companies?
He purchases majority interest in Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA), the predecessor to Trans World Airlines
How did Hughes’ obtain staff?
He gave them double their current salary to come work for him. He also had his Noah hire for him.
Howard Hughes: Do you know those men? Do they work for me?
Noah Dietrich: Everybody works for you, Howard.
Who filled Hughes’ organizational cornerstone positions (Delivery, Sales, Financier, Technical)?
Noah Dietrich – Delivery, Financier
Noah can be considered his right hand man, and ensured all of Hughes’ plans were executed. Hughes orders Dietrich to mortgage the TWA assets while he
Jack Frye- Sales
Glenn Odekirk- Technical
Glenn served as his engineer for most of his planes such as the H-1 Racer, Hughes XF-11, Spruce Goose" flying boat, and H-4 Hercules.
Jack Frye : So you want me to bribe senators?
Howard Hughes : I don't want them bribed, Jack. I want it done legally. I want them bought.
How did Hughes manage his PR, Marketing and personal image?
He hired Jack Frye to be his Public Relations Manager, whom he expected to have connections such as when he needed to obtain more cameras for his movie.
For new release he threw extravagant parties where he insured that his stakeholders like soldiers would be happy since he hired hookers or show girls.
Eventually Hughes knew he had a prominent image and would be seen taking many young actresses around.
Flying Plane Debate: Howard Hughes...
Good or Bad Entrepreneur?
The class will be split into 2 groups down the middle section of the class. One side will have to argue the positive aspects of entrepreneur Howard Hughes, and the other side will have to argue his negative aspects.
A person can only speak when they are in possession of the paper airplane. After the student finished his or her point, they can aim the paper airplane across the classroom to the opposite team.
Would you say that Howard Hughes effectively ran the Hughes Tool Company?
Side for Hughes:
It can be argued that a successful entrepreneur often has to assign other people to manage their business in order to have more time to build their enterprise
Side against Hughes: Howard Hughes paid other individuals to run his family business and focused on his aviation and film productions, which were risky
Discuss the use of Howard Hughes’ family inheritance. Was it really a smart decision to purchase Trans World Airline (TWA)?
Side for Hughes: He acquired this company when it was failing and expanded its profits. It eventually became a major competitor and threat to the Pan American Airways company. This is impressive, considering that Howard Hughes did not have a formal education.
Side against Hughes: He spread the money too thin and in the end had to choose between funding the airline and building the Hercules. So he wasn’t fully invested in the support of TWA.
Can the investment on Hughes’ film, “Hell’s Angels”
be defined a success? Take into consideration
the length and costs associated with this project
Side for Hughes: By investing a large portion of his family inheritance in the film, Hughes received good reviews from critics. Ex. He made sure that it was up-to-date: followed the trend with sound pictures, impressive effects, etc.
Side against Hughes: Without a definite plan or deadline for the film, Hughes wasted a lot of his funds. His obsession with perfection (i.e. waiting for favourable weather conditions) lost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Justify Howard Hughes’ desire for a competitive American airway market (instead of the Pan American World Airways being a monopoly power in the airplane industry)
Side for Hughes: This was a smart tactic as an entrepreneur. He promoted fairness in the American market while ensuring the continued success of his company.
Side against Hughes: Having a monopoly market would have created better conditions for the consumer. If it was Hughes up for nationalization, he would have had no problem with the CAB bill.
Several of Howard Hughes airplanes for the United States Air Force were never used due to the fact that the war ended. Justify:
Whether or not he handled business in a professional manner
No, making deadlines is very important in business. You have to fulfill your contracts in a timely manner.
Whether or not his airplanes were a success
Yes, he created a new innovation, the Hercules, which was used beyond the war and was a breakthrough in aviation
What are some of Hughes’ characteristics as an entrepreneur?
Discuss the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of
Howard Hughes’ “hands-on” approach to doing business
The construction and modifications to his planes He assured that the product was to his standards which was effective
Also set back production for things which seemed to be insignificant (ie. steering wheels)
Modifications to his films
He was willing to push boundaries and not afraid of the censor board unlike many others
Took way too much time and money in both editing and production
How is Hughes ambitious and dedicated towards his career?
- Wanted to build an empire when he was young
- “When I grow up, I'm gonna make the biggest movies, fly the fastest planes ever built, and be the richest man in the world.” (Scorsese, 2004)
- Produced the famous movies Hell’s Angels, Scarface and The Outlaw
- Built the fastest plane at that time “H-1 Racer,” plus the largest plane “The Hercules”
Despite difficulties, he never gave up!
- Spent $25,000 US per day just waiting for the clouds to appear while making the Hell’s Angels
- Spent $7 million from his own pocket when the government cancelled the contract on the jet
- Didn’t have enough money to fund both TWA and the building of the Hercules
- “I’ve lost millions, and I will go on losing millions. It’s just what I do.” (Scorsese, 2004)
Characteristics of an Entrepreneur
How is Hughes charismatic and manipulative?
- Threatened the photographer not to release Katharine Hepburn’s affair photos
- Bribed the Air Force generals with high-end prostitutes so that TWA could get a contract with them supplying planes for the war
- “I don't want them bribed, Jack. I want it done legally. I want them bought.” (Scorsese, 2004)
- During the court scene when Senator Owen Brewster accused him of stealing $56 million from the government and not providing even one plane, he was strong in his opposition to this claim and provided evidence that this was a setup for conspiracy.
- The public hearing became one of Hughes’ legendary successes rather than leading to bankruptcy.