Archive for July, 2008



Now there’s a cadence to her life

That gives that sentient clock its tick

The surge and pulse in rhythmic strife

That measures out forever’s wick

As Ye Sow

Somewhere in the early 80s we turned the corner on corporate productivity in this country. We demonstrated our commitment to this new path by filling our top corporate Board Chair and CEO slots with legal and financial people in place of production wizards and marketing mavens. The reasons that these moves make the case for lower productivity is nestled deeply in the notion that, one always tends to use the tool with which one is most familiar (If your only tool is a hammer then every problem starts to look like a nail…don’t give your chipped crystal or china to the carpenter unless you want it pounded!)

We write down massive debt (even cheat), acquire until we choke, merge until we are unrecognizable, tend the bottom line until there is virtually no top line and kiss the idea of building stuff “TaTa”! With copies of the likes of Porter or Drucker under their arms they worked to Get customer satisfaction at an all time high by kissing their collective butts and giving away the store in a one-quarter-of-profit-three-quarters-of-cash-flow shell game. With monkey-in-the-mirror precision they jammed lower margins down the throats of smaller vendors and merged/acquired the larger ones in any attempt to avoid iminent total collapse.

They failed!

Sucked into a “service” market, a “wal-mart “ retail bloodfest and the lowest productivity in history our deep American know-how is engaged in imagining how we can avoid the work and still sell stuff cheaper than the third world. Innovation is bust, quality gone and motivation barely extant. A cynic would be quick to announce that Osama won, but the truth is that we did this to ourselves with our avarice and penchant for glitz. Our political system is based on morally corrupt concepts that undermine every worthwhile endeavor. Extreme competition, something-for-nothing greed and showboat self-agrandizing.

If we give, even scant, serious thought to “who brung us”; Wal-Mart is the culmination of years of “price-leadership” marketing as consumerism slid into position at the markets helm in place of capitalism. We can’t avoid going offshore for ever increasing amounts of goods and services because our politicians are unwilling to deal openly with the idea that Americans need to make far too much money in order to support our government excesses and over-heated consumerism. When you find the backpack too heavy as you climb the mountain there are but two solutions:

need less or get stronger!

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