4 Bad Business Decisions That Brought Down Darth Vader and the Empire

We all know the official story…a rag-tag group of rebels led by Luke Skywalker and friends managed to defy ridiculous odds and overthrow the evil Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader and the entire Imperial Navy using little more than outdated ships and some nifty lightsaber skills.

It seems like a pretty unlikely story when you consider the overwhelming advantages the Empire had.  They controlled most of the galaxy, boasted the most powerful fleet ever assembled (including a battle station that could destroy a planet with a single shot), and a seemingly endless supply of stormtroopers to send against anyone who dared to stand in their way.

But if you look beyond the surface, you see an Empire that is badly mismanaged.  In fact, when you look at some of business decisions made by their senior management you’ll see that defeat was in fact inevitable.

A One-Man Fighter Brings Down A Super Star Destroyer

During the battle over the moon of Endor, the Imperial Navy’s command ship loses its forward shields and becomes vulnerable to attack.  A single rebel fighter loses control and smashes into the ship.  The Star Destroyer just keels over and sinks right into the surface of the Death Star killing all aboard.

Seriously, who designed a ship that could be brought down so easily?  Did he even have a college degree?  During WWII, American ships often came under attack from Japanese kamikaze pilots who were trained to purposely crash their planes into enemy ships.  Many of those ships took multiple hits and still continued fighting.  How could a ship the size of a small city be completely destroyed by a one man fighter no bigger than the planes flown by the Japanese in the 1940s?

Bad design.  That’s what happens when you go with the cheapest vendor without looking at their quality control.  You’d think they would have learned their lesson after…

A Single Torpedo Destroys The Death Star

The original Death Star was a monster of engineering, the size of a small moon.  But in the end it was taken out by a single torpedo fired from a one-man fighter.   Whose bright idea was it to have an exhaust port lead directly from the surface to the main reactor?  Perhaps it would have been harder to hit if they made the port at an angle instead of a straight shot, but lazy engineering won out again.  I realize the whole Death Star project was ridiculously expensive but would it have killed them to put some shielding up over the exhaust port?  Or, I don’t know…maybe a $50 vent from Home Depot?

And that’s not the only place that cost containment has cost them…

Stormtrooper Armor Couldn’t Stop a Cool Breeze

At the start of the original Star Wars (Episode IV these days) the Empire has pretty much the entire galaxy in the palm of its hands.  Few dare to defy them because they know they’ll have to face the full military might of the Empire.  Presumably, the stormtroopers are the most highly trained and well-armed soldiers around.

But somewhere along the line there must have been cuts in the defense budget (perhaps too much money was going to the Death Star project) because the stormtroopers we see in the movies are armed with inaccurate blaster rifles and body armor that is absolutely useless.  Virtually every shot fired by the rebels at a stormtrooper is fatal.  Hell, even a bunch of primitive Ewoks manage to overpower one of the Emperor’s crack units with nothing more than some sticks and stones.  The Imperial troops prove to be poorly trained and armed with substandard supplies.  Obviously, the cost containment initiative went too far.

But that’s nothing compared to…

A Single Laser Blast Could Have Ended the War

Early in the original Star Wars movie, Darth Vader captures a rebel ship carrying both Princess Leia and the stolen technical plans that show the rebels how to destroy the first Death Star.   As the battle is wrapping up, C-3PO and R2-D2 manage to flee the ship with the stolen plans by sneaking aboard an escape pod.

A diligent Imperial gunner is about to fire his cannon and vaporize the escape pod, when his micro-managing boss tells him to let it go.  Save your energy son, there’s no life forms aboard.

Really?  In a galaxy full of droids of all shapes and sizes, it never occurs to him that a droid could be on that pod…and that droid could be carrying, oh I don’t know…the technical plans that could destroy the entire Death Star!

Think about what happens if that middle manager could just mind his own damn business.  Threepio and Artoo are vaporized and the Death Star plans go with them.  They never meet Luke and he remains a bored farm boy while Ben Kenobi remains the creepy old guy down the road.  No one comes to rescue Leia and she is executed as an enemy of the Empire.  Sooner or later one of the other members of her crew caves in and gives up the location of the secret rebel base.  Without the knowledge gained from the stolen plans the rebels don’t know how to destroy it and there is no random X-wing pilot with an unnatural gift with the force to fire the shot.  The rebel base is annihilated by the Death Star and the rebellion is all but over.

Unfortunately for Vader and Company, that shot was never fired.  All because some nimrod in a suit thought he could get some brownie points by cutting his energy output by 0.00000001%.

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Mike is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in finance and parenting topics. He is a dedicated husband and father of three who is obsessed with creating multiple streams of income and building wealth so he can achieve true financial freedom for his family. Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our free RSS feed and follow us on Twitter.

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  1. says

    Brilliant. Love this clever post and so true. I’m glad the middle manager did mess up though or we wouldn’t have had the rest of the movies :) Thanks for sharing on Bizsugar.com

  2. says

    And don’t forget the soft skills. Business people always neglect the soft skills of leadership – persuasion, influence without authority, negotiation.

    If Darth Vader had better interpersonal skills, he wouldn’t have been killed (in effect if not in deed) by his alienated son and daughter.

  3. says

    Where there is no vision or proper leadership for that matter, people perish. So it was with the Empire and so it is with many a business. It also helps to have formidabble liutenants and sorrounding oneself with smarter people who can properly advise you.
    Beyond that, “May the force be with you” :)


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