Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So what happens to all the cars the US government is paying to produce?

We hear about all the cars piling up on the docks and at dealerships since consumers can't or won't buy. Now that the Federal Government is paying the Detroit companies to continue to make cars, who will buy them? Many consumers are scared to buy, and others cannot get loans. It seems to me that the fix is on the demand side rather than the supply side. If consumers would buy cars there would be no need for a "bail-out." Perhaps the Government should pay car companies to pay workers and suppliers, but remain with idle factories. Better still demand stimulus may be the way to go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blagojevich or Madoff, can you really trust anyone?

Year after year, we see a succession of people in positions or trust and authority who let us down. Whether they are politicians - see the number of ex-Governors or members or Congress who get sent to jail - or business people - from John Rigas to Stephen Gardner; Ken Lay to Conrad Black - it never ends. In all probability more people get away with it than get caught. Furthermore, many who do get caught manage to rehabilitate themselves, and few show any shame.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

How do we blend wisdom, energy, creativity and technology understanding?

One of the issues with leaders and managers in any field is that there are often conflicting requirements. Youth can bring creativity, tech-savvy, energy, while age and experience can bring wisdom, perspective, and knowledge. However, many older people also have energy, creativity (half of all entrepreneurs are over 50), and are very technologically up to date. A 60 or 70 year old can be more effective than a 30 or 40 year old - but individuals need to be looked at as such, not just as a category.

JFK's team when he was elected was stunning in its intelligence and energy. "The Best and the Brightest," as Halberstam called it sardonically. Yet this was the team which led the US into a deeper and deeper quagmire in Vietnam and huge social as well as economic unrest at home. Companies led by unusually young CEOs underperform companies led by CEOs over 60 - though not always.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

George Fisher, lead Director of GM, shows he still does not get it!

He was quoted in the New York Times as stating that the reason GM is in trouble is that it made "business decisions" vs. "marketing ones." 'We were late on hybrids,”George M. Fisher, the lead outside director on G.M.’s board, said in an interview this week. “Why were we late? We made a business decision as opposed to a marketing decision. That’s probably a mistake, in retrospect.'

The fact that the man who ultimately leads GM, and former CEO of Kodak, thinks that marketing is somehow antithetical to business, is horrifying. There is no way that GM will survive in the long haul as long as it is not market-driven.