Movie Monday: 21 Jump Street’s Secret to Business Success

By katie simpson on August 18, 2014

21 Jump Street with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill come together as a bumbling buddy cop duo, undercover in a high school trying to take down a drug distributor and the supplier.

Chaning Tatum and Jonah Hill as buddies in 21 Jump Street. (Source

While in the beginning of the movie, they can’t even remember to recite the Miranda Rights, this pair successfully takes down a drug ring. More than that, this pair’s secret to success reveals great strategies for creating a thriving, strong business. 

1. Figure out your weakness, and find a partner who can compliment

The movie begins with Tatum’s character, Jenko, and Hill’s, Schmidt, in the academy. While Jenko is great at the physical requirements, he struggles at the academics. At the same time, Schmidt struggles to keep up physically but aces the tests. Both have strong points, but they also need help to become actual officers.

Pretty quickly, they realize they can help each other pass. Jenko helps Schmidt train for the physical, while Schmidt helps Jenko study. By working together, they are able to train the other, and both come out ahead.

In business, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is crucial. Productive teams know what they’re strengths and weaknesses are. More than simple awareness, this allows teams to effectively delegate tasks to the right people. For instance, a writer will be more comfortable and faster creating a written report, but I’ll rely on my research colleague to focus on collecting the data. 

By working together, the report not only takes less time, but is stronger overall. 

2. Know your audience

To get in with the cool kids and gain traction at the school, Jenko and Schmidt throw a party.  While cliche, they understand their audience and how to not only grab their attention, but also resonate with them. This party allows Schmidt to become more accepted by the popular kids, and get even more access to their group.

In business, knowing your audience is crucial. It helps you speak to their issues, market your product, and respond appropriately to their needs. But knowing your audience can be hard, especially if you don’t have face to face interaction on a daily basis. 

Some ways you can do this include:


  • Survey your customers
  • Talk to your sales representatives or listen as they interact with customers: they speak with customers every day and can help.
  • Meet with customers and see them use your product. While time intensive, this can be incredibly helpful in understanding their day-day work, and overall needs.



3. Gather information from a variety of sources

Schmidt and Jenko work different social groups at the high school. Jenko gets in with the chemistry nerds, figuring out how to tap into cellphones. At the same time Schmidt gets in with the popular kids who sell the drugs. 

By working different groups, they get different kinds of information and different tools. This diversity is crucial in helping them take down the drug ring. 

You don’t have to be an undercover police officer to collect information. Every business needs to collect information, from date of a sale, to taking inventory of your stock. Most of this information has only been collected on paper forms. Not only does this rely on handwriting, but also on written descriptions, and mental calculations. This system is both limited and prone to a lot of error.

Going with a mobile app for forms such as inventory, inspections, or invoice can help you diversify your sources of information. Take photos to collect visual information. Let your smartphone or tablet do the calculations for you, avoiding errors in pricing or invoices. You can even confirm an inspection’s location with GPS. 

You get a variety of tools to make your data more accurate and strengthen your understanding of your business. 

4. Need for speed

Towards the end of the movie, Schmidt and Jenko get into a car chase with a motorcycle gang. They have to be fast and ensure that they aren’t seen by this gang and have their cover blown. 

The cops run to take a faster car. 

The need for speed isn’t life or death in business, but it’s becoming a more important factor in an increasingly competitive market. With paper forms, you have to wait hours or days for information to return to your office. Even then, you have to spend additional time entering that information into your database.

With mobile apps, you can share these forms in real time. For instance, your service technician can fill out their service report. That information is then immediately available in the cloud. In real time you can share the report with your billing department. Invoicing that once took days, can now be done in hours, giving you a faster sale cycle and a better bottom line. 

5. Accuracy is crucial

In the final scene, Schmidt needs to take a shot against the kingpin of the drug ring. He’s nervous, needing to make this an accurate and effective shot. If he doesn’t, they won’t be able to take the criminal in. Accuracy in this moment will make or break their case.

Accuracy in business isn’t always moments of high dramatics. In fact, accuracy in business is a day to day habit that must be maintained over months and years. You need accurate information for your own records, and tax purposes. Without that kind of information it’s hard to know how your business is doing or where your weaknesses lie. 

Mobile apps allow businesses to gather highly accurate information quickly. Clear text removes ambiguity from handwriting. You can make fields required, ensuring your forms return back complete with the information you need. Calculations ensure appropriate invoicing or estimates for customers. With all the information sent immediately to the cloud, you don’t have to worry about data entry or information typed incorrectly into your database.

Day to day, mobile apps will build you more accurate information faster, while costing less.

6. Roll with the punches

At the end of the movie, the two cops are celebrating their arrest. But what does their boss say? He sends them on their next assignment at college. Success in one case only means it’s time for a new case. They have to change, change locations, undercover aliases and more. 

Change is also a natural part of business. Your customer’s needs change over time, the tools you need to use become updated. To thrive as a business, your goals are always moving forward. You have to roll with the punches again and again. 

You also need tools that evolve with you. Faster and stronger computers, phones that allow you transcribe messages and more. As your needs change, you need a mobile app that will grow with you.

At GoCanvas, all our mobile apps can be edited and customized for your needs. For instance, if safety regulations change, you can update your app to reflect those new rules. Whether you have two or twenty users, they get the updated app in real time. They use the same familiar program, but are filling out the form for your ever evolving needs. 

We can’t all drive limos with doves. (Source)

Your work may not include stretch limos, doves or drugs. Still, your business can use the strategies these buddy cops utilized through the movie. With the right tools and effective strategy, your business can save time and thrive.  

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