The TV Show ‘Billions’ Gave The Most Badass Advice Ever For Making Millions As An Entrepreneur

Look, I’m going to have to throw out a very preemptive SPOILER ALERT for anyone out there reading this who doesn’t watch Showtime’s Billions. If you’re remotely interested in business, entrepreneurship, capitalism, finance, and money, you ABSOLUTELY need to start watching the show now. It’s probably the best show ever created about “the game” of Wall Street and modern high finance. Just a constant cat-and-mouse game between Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) as a ruthless hedge fund billionaire and District Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti). Also, Rhoades’ wife Wendy is maybe the most seductive woman on television. She melts hearts with her intellectualism than drinks them with a green straw from Starbucks.

Anyway, last week’s episode featured one of the most badass scenes to date. Some backstory: Bobby’s wife Lara (Malin Ackerman) and her sister, both registered nurses, start an on-demand IV hangover cure company. These are all the rage in cities like NYC, Miami, LA, and Vegas (…we had one come into our office once), but Lara wants the funding to make her brand the McDonald’s of IV hangover cures. So Bobby sets her up with a meeting to raise venture capital and expand. Except she gets treated as “the wife” by the VC firm who just wants to stay on Axelrod’s good side. Naturally, this is a blow to her ego.

When she explains this to Bobby, he leans in, agreeing with the firm. His outburst is coldblooded, honest, and ruthless, the type of thing that starts divorce proceedings in a nurturing relationship. But, as a capitalist, it’s actually some damn good entrepreneurial advice, as INC Magazine noted earlier this week. Peep the scene above. And the transcript below:

What is it you do that you’re the best in the world at? You offer a service you didn’t invent, a formula you didn’t invent, a delivery method you didn’t invent. Nothing about what you do is patentable or a unique user experience. You haven’t identified an isolated market segment, haven’t truly branded your concept. You need me to go on?

So why would an investment bank put serious money into it? I all but told you that ahead of time, but you wouldn’t listen. Now you’ve heard it, but it’s too late. You. Weren’t. Ready.

Take note, entrepreneurs. That’s advice that will make you millions, if not billions in the case of someone like Evan Spiegel: If what you’re doing isn’t unique or the best in the world or something everyone knows you invented, you’ll always be running around in second place.

BTW, while we’re on the subject of Billions, how badass is Wags? Guy is the glue that holds Axe Capital together. Might be my favorite premium cable TV character since Bunk on The Wire.