5150 Business Strategy

Life in the Corporate Fast Lane and Still Remaining Intelligent

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Animal Farm

Let’s all put in $75,000 to purchase a building and share in the wealth as the building appreciates in value. What a great idea and at least several of us thought the idea was worthy of investing in under those conditions. Little did we realize that those making the proclamation of equality, as in Animal Farm, thought equality meant something different based upon who you were.

Almost immediately Napoleon tried to change the terms under which the investment group was formed. No, I don’t think the original $75,000 was completely invested by the LLC members. It comprised $35,000 from the operating company which needs to be paid back. WTF, are you on drugs?? That was never the case as it was understood, and documented, in the LLC documents that the source of the entire $75,000 was from each individual member. No, no says Napoleon, all my minions agree with me that the LLC was formed for the original founders primarily and those who came along afterward are not of equal standing. Really? Now that was news to me and, as it turned out, to the attorney brought in to kick some pig ass. Indeed, this was an egalitarian investment group until some saw an opportunity to exploit other members. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs – except when one group decides to define needs in line with their own self interest with no regard to established contracts and agreements. Just as in Animal Farm there was a hierarchy, albeit unknown, that all animals were created equal, except that some were created more equal to others. Unfortunately for those trying to exploit the “minority” they failed to realize that even the “minority” were able to hire pit bull attorneys that could eviscerate them and serve them up as pork chops, LOL.

This same scenario played out in a variety of different transactions. Do as I say, not as I do was the golden rule with this group. Being egalitarian only meant something to the chosen few and everyone else be damned.

Let’s build a warehouse for the operating company and then deduct the value from the LLC partnership members accounts. Why, you might ask. Well because the operating company majority owners wanted to pass the expense on to the LLC where they had less of a financial interest and, therefore, essentially see a greater profit for the operating company. Of course this neglects the fact that the operating company was the driving force for building the warehouse. Again, all animals are created equal, but some animals are created more equal than others. Except for the fact that this foolishness was squashed before it could gain momentum.

Then there was the ad nauseam open proclamation of the senior manager that the LLC investment should not benefit all equally. There was no explanation as to why they felt this could be supported, only that it was the way it should be. Funny how the value fell along the ownership percentages of the operating company – the greater ownership of the operating company, the greater your “equality” in the LLC regardless that all members in the LLC were legally equal members.

There was a universal deceit by senior management that sought delegitimization of the equality of members in the LLC. It came in the form of outright declarations and in the form of subtle intimidation. To the point where telling the truth was, indeed, a revolutionary and noble act. Animal Farm as a parable which is played out daily in the business environment is as valid today as when George Orwell wrote it. Sadly the masses of men continue to lead lives of quiet desperation and religion, and one could argue equality, are the opiates of the masses. There are those who utilize the utopian promise of equality as a way to divert attention from their ultimate goal – to prove that all animals are created equal but some are created more equal then others, and they just happen to be more equal.

Lesson learned: beware of claims of equality from those who have much to gain by diverting your attention from the dangers of them being more equal and feathering their nest at your expense.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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You Can’t Fix Stupid

Another viewpoint

So called management at one firm thought they had the upper hand in a game of should we pay him for the stock he owns or not. For months they labored under the misguided notion that withholding my stock payout somehow gave them power to shape events related to another business entity that I was managing partner. Two other members of this LLC had given their desire to exit due to their loss of confidence in those remaining at the operating company. The brain trust, and I use brain loosely, thought they had control of all the variables needed to force a resolution in which they could payout one third of the value to the exiting members. A low ball offer that they justified under what they called “minority interest”. Funny, thought we were all in this LLC with equal shares – unfortunately for them that was well documented, there were no minority interests in this LLC. Learn to read numbnuts.

The sound of “I am the boss” echoed through the halls as one senior manager jumped up and down in a tantrum. What I say goes and I say we don’t payout stock like we did for everyone else. Of course, then they made an offer to buyout my stock not using the standard formula adopted for past shareholders and, of course, it was for a lower amount. Wait a minute Sparky, here it is clearly documented what the formula is and how it is to be applied. The reply after consulting with their counsel was worded in legalese – “we are not bound to calculate share value with the formula you provided but we will in this one instance”. LOL, checkmate. Sign this agreement before we do the calculation and we will pay you out. Ha, Ha, Ha – nice try you dimwits, I don’t think so – you do the calculation and establish the price and then I will sign. Checkmate. Then things go on hold as they regroup and try to figure out other ways to screw me over. This takes several months as they are extremely dim witted and it takes a long time for them to come up with these lame brain schemes.

Right about now one of the brain trust looks at the balance sheet and sees the shareholder loan which has been on the books for the last five years. I can see the senior manager now running down the hall in glee declaring victory but then realizing that the loan is for more than the stock value they owe me, LOL. Glee turns to sadness as they realize they have been outmanuevered once again. Checkmate. The senior pigs gather round to devise a new strategy. Although just about every one of them has a shareholder loan they of the weak minded arrive at this – the shareholder loan he has is unauthorized and this is embezzlement. Really!! It took you five years to figure this out, LOL. If I was an embezzler this company would be a target rich environment – they were clueless. First, let me record my entries on the balance sheet for all to see and then distribute these statements to all partners every month. What a most excellent strategy not to be discovered, LOL. Like I have said numerous times – these guys are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, one short of a six pack, toys in the attic, etc…. You get the idea, I am dealing with those of limited IQ.

Lesson learned: You can’t fix stupid. There’s not a pill you can take or a class you can go to.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Hear that Flush….

5CA06FC8-B9DE-4F16-9ED4-59F3E181C8DCSound of a million dollars going down the drain……

Management at one firm was so detached from reality that they could not wrap their brain around why anyone would get upset about getting a million dollar plus free to the bottomline boost and have it disappear due to poor management. More frustrating was their continued refusal to acknowledge that losses had piled up due to poor project management and poor estimating.

“We paid for these items in prior periods so this settlement means nothing”, WHAT? I would expect that type of an answer from a three year old, not the senior manager and leader of a firm. Duh, really – you think because items were expensed in prior periods that recovering that money in a current period means nothing?? Mental midget time. The entire justification for why losing a million dollars was OK was this logic? Surely there must be more to it I thought. Man and the UniverseWaiting for the stars to align would be more fruitful than getting a logical answer from senior management. One cannot speak intelligently when the mental capacity to do so is lacking and where the entire justification boils down to, “because I can”. At this point one should resign themselves to the situation being unsalvageable. It is DUHHHH time.

Of course senior management at this firm came up with elaborate excuses for why it was not their fault for these losses. Thank God we caught the finance guys before they took the entire firm down the toilet, LOL. Idiotic on the very face of it given that the finance and accounting department had nothing to do with projects that racked up million dollar losses. Plays well, however, to those not in tune with the inner workings of the company and the fact that management had been warned multiple times about the need to clean up their estimating and project management.

'Here's the plan. We acknowledge a minor management problem or two, then get busy on a major cover-up.'

Years of warnings went unheeded while all along the project losses piled up one after another. Poor estimating and poor strategy on where the firm should be heading all contributed to the quagmire the firm found itself in.

Jane, Moe. Larry and Curly strike again…………Stooges

Lesson learned: shares in a company that cannot form a cohesive strategy and remedy their shortcomings are worthless. Fifty-one percent of zero = zero. By extension, you could conclude that the majority shareholders of firms such as this are worthless, both managerially and monetarily.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Raider Nation – The Foundations

Traditional print media was covered with Silver and Black Illustrated.

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Read more…

Raidermobile

nationmobile5Yes, believe it or not, there was a time I actually drove this car around town!! Obviously, years ago in a galaxy far away as the Pacific Bell reference makes clear – it was long ago. Not many people can say they were a big enough fan to do this on a daily basis. Gives new meaning to the phrase I bleed Silver and Black, or at one time I did.

 

nationmobile4nationmobile3nationmobile2nationmobile1

 

The Snake Design – Reposted

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The snake design came about based upon the popularity of Ken Stabler who came to be identified as “The Snake”. Early in the evolution of Raider Nation I opened discussions with representatives of Stabler and, eventually, with Stabler himself. He was developing a presence on the internet and I thought there might be some synergy to be gained if we could team together on a design that he endorsed. The original concept is pictured here with the website Snakes Place incorporated, this was Stabler’s site. Let’s just say that we could not come to terms on pricing strategy and I pulled out of the deal. The idea was good enough, however, to move forward without incorporating any references to Stabler, a generic Raider Nation t-shirt which turn out to be as killer as the original design.

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But now you have a little bit of insider history on what went into the designs development and what could have been – see below. Lovely isn’t it? Too bad it never went into production as originally designed since I am not inclined to be sued for infringement and no agreement could be reached. In my opinion, very short sighted on The Snakes part as this would have been a marketing gold mine for him and establish his place among a new generation of fans. Alas, it was not meant to be.

scd2All was not lost however as the design went on to become a top seller and solidified its place in Raider Nation history. Of course, it never hurts to have Raiderettes modeling your designs!!

rolleen9 rolleen8 rolleen7 rolleen6 rolleen5 rolleen4 rolleen3 rolleen2 rolleen1

Lessons learned: don’t be short sighted with your marketing. Look to the long term to capitalize on success, what cost you now will come back to yield dividends in the future. All photos are exclusive to the original Raider Nation website.

 

Raider Nation – Brand Identity Part 2

cheer4bEarly on I scored several major coups by enlisting the aid of various Raiderettes to the cause of Raider Nation. This drove the competition bonkers as they were driven insane by the very real speed by which Raider Nation was becoming the acknowledged leader for Raider fans on the Internet, and beyond. First they lost the coveted Raider Locker Room outlet by which the image and name of Raider Nation could be advertised daily through a brick and mortar outlet. Then they lost the battle for the very hearts of Raider fans when the Raider Nation moniker started to appear on the backs of cheerleaders – WTF, this is adding insult to injury. It was a brilliant execution of strategy aimed at making the Raider Nation brand well known and adopted as a symbol of Raider fans worldwide.

Read more…

Wordpress Website Creation

For those who thought that WordPress was only for blogs………… Stay tuned for the new and improved ERRG website.

For an example of what can be done:

http://www.giantsnation.com/wordpress/

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ERRG Code of Ethics

Statement of Commitment

Engineering/Remediation Resources Group Inc. (ERRG) recognizes that corruption can have a detrimental effect on society by undermining legal systems, damaging social and economic development and free and fair competition.

ERRG is committed to carrying out our business in an honest and ethical manner. We have a zero tolerance for violations of our Code of Ethics and we are committed to the following business principles:

  • To carry out our business fairly, honestly and transparently;
  • To adhere not only to the letter of the federal ethics guidelines but to the underlying spirit that the guidelines represent;
  • To avoid doing business with others who do not accept our principles and who may harm our reputation;
  • To keep transparent and updated records;
  • To ensure that everyone in our business knows and adheres to our principles;
  • To keep our principles regardless of whether the environment we operate in condones otherwise.

Any breach by employees or others working on our behalf will result in disciplinary action being taken, up to and including termination of employment. Similarly, any third parties working for ERRG will have the business relationship reviewed and/or terminated if they breach our principles.

ERRG has a corporate Code of Ethics program in place to support our principles, which includes a Compliance Officer to oversee ongoing review and education. The Compliance Officer operates independently and will report possible violations to senior management.

Under the Federal Acquisition Regulations, ERRG has an obligation to make a timely disclosure to the Government when it is aware of credible evidence of a violation of law. It is ERRG’s policy to promptly investigate reported concerns or suspected violations and to report these to the Government when management concludes that the evidence or information related to a suspected violation has been provided by a credible source, is more than mere conjecture or unsupported suspicion, and would support a conclusion that a disclosure is warranted if no contrary evidence exists.

Our continued success depends on us doing the right thing at all times and maintaining the highest ethical standards. Only in this way can we continue to earn the trust and confidence of our customers and community in which we live.

Shareholders of Engineering/Remediation Resources Group, Inc.

Welcome to 5150 Business Strategy

This is where right is wrong, wrong is right, stupid is smart, smart is stupid……  you get the idea. There will be critical observations and questioning of traditional business thought via random musing on current, and past, experiences in the world of business in America.

Traditional theorists might call it contrarian thinking but regular people would most likely call it common sense. It is something sorely lacking in businesses today and it starts at the top. Now that is contrary to what those in management positions would have you believe!!

Ever wonder how the so called experts became experts? Simple, they declared themselves the keepers of the flame independently and convinced the unknowing masses that their daft observations and actions were worthy of adoption. The next time you are sitting in a meeting where some high minded executive is pontificating on a subject as if they had a corner on the intelligence market dare to think outside the box and question their credentials to be such an authority. From long experience in several companies I can attest to the fact that stupidity knows no bounds and that those in what we call upper management are many times more clueless than you would believe. Partially from the business environment that companies operate in but, many times, due to the corporate culture fostered by upper management.

This blog will feature ruminations on what is good, but many times bad, about the state of businesses today.

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