5150 Business Strategy

Life in the Corporate Fast Lane and Still Remaining Intelligent

In the Pursuit of Happiness

Selling England by the Pound

The key lyrics at this point in my life and career:


Having gone through several positions it has become apparent to me that the upper levels of management many times is populated with posers. Imagine if you will a world where what you know matters little to whether you are qualified to be in the “C” suite. In fact, your only qualification for being a so-called executive is because you know how to play the game and have risen through the ranks by dodging positions that require substantive knowledge on subject matters for those which only require that you know how to shine people on. So, a variation – I know what I like and I know I don’t like you. The business world is over populated with those short on knowledge but who possess an abundant amount of shiny sparkly dispositions – shiny happy people.

As 2018 closes out and the past fades further into the rear view mirror, here are the other things which I don’t like:

  • Senior executives who dally with contract procurement officers and other government officials.
  • Senior executives who dally with employees where the amorous adventures lead to human resource issues.
  • Whacked out senior executives who speak authoritatively on subjects for which they have not a clue what they speak of. Tell me again how you think WIP is calculated and how it causes losses on a project.
  • Senior executives who play fast and loose with the money invested in a company and obviously are not qualified to be making the decisions they make. Tell me again how you can lose a million dollar settlement and still want me to roll the dice on the historically bad decisions you have made in the past. Uhhh, no.
  • “Consultants” whose only claim to fame is in their past and, many times, that past is less than stellar. Yes, they have convinced everyone that they are the speakers of the truth and holders of wisdom.
  • Those in decision making positions in all areas of business that lack the critical skills needed to make those decisions. It has become all too common to have some pinhead pontificating on why things should be as they say they should be. When pressed for substance one finds there is none. Scary that they can alter the course of a business with their ill advised “knowledge” of what should be.

So, onward into 2019 with not much optimism that the wrongs of the business world will change. The very best that can be hoped for is that you steer clear of the posers, wannabees, and holders of the “truth”.

Lesson learned: stick to your inner path and take comfort in the knowledge that there is satisfaction in knowing what you like and liking what you know.

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.

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.

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.

The Snake Design – Reposted


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.


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.


Moral Compass


Can you really trust a senior manager who has no moral compass?? Who has no problem acting in an unethical manner both in their personal and business life? Those without a moral compass take the Adam Smith philosophy to extremes by acting in their own best cheatself interest to the detriment of all others around them, including family. Working for this type of management is just waiting for the hammer to drop on your head. I sat in so many meetings where there was a litany of pronouncements about how the manager wanted to screw over somebody because of some self centered logic. Didn’t matter if the terms and conditions were established at the beginning. All it took was for the situation to present itself for this person to benefit more if they made things happen a different way. Essentially, let’s look for ways to screw the other guys/gals out of what is rightfully theirs.

What should have made it a clear cut conclusion for me was the fact that the person saw no problem in having multiple “business” hookups on the side, if you know what I mean. Eyes wide open I stayed in the company but with a level of pessimism which served me well when I finally did leave. There was nothing the person could do which I had not anticipated, and I anticipated the worst given what I had seen over the years. Out and out lies about events that took place, digging up dirt when necessary, back dating documents, and convincing others to join in whatever the next grand lie was to be. The person was actually in their element when they were rounding up co-conspirators to spin things their way.

This manager took glee in being able to pull off the grand deception as it meant they got away with it once again. A serial hookup artist who you could not trust given it was a matter of time till you became their victim, but only if you allowed them to get away with it. I can imagine when I left the company the directive went out as it always did when someone left the fold – find me some dirt to use. How many times I had been asked to look at timesheets for perceived abuses, examine expense reports, and corroborate stories about events which never happened as the person described them. “You saw how they spoke to me!!! It was insubordination. Grounds for dismissal, let’s look for other reasons to terminate them.”, was the usual dialogue. All the while the senior manager went about rounding up the other stooges to do their bidding.

Moe, I want you to talk to George, Larry you talk to Ben about the deal on the investment. Tell them what a great deal it would be to take a third of the value of their investment. Yessiree, whatever you say. We got you covered as usual was the reply from Moe, he of the famous nickname, and Larry, he who scratches his nether regions. Ignore the fact that such a ludicrous offer flew in the face of the agreement made when the deal was first made years ago. Bwaa Haa Haaa, and then they had the gall to get upset because attorneys were called in to halt their imbecilic actions. That’s not nice after we have been friends all these years!!! Why can’t we all be friends? Let your guard down so we can screw you over like all the others, LOL – I don’t think so dragonlady. I can hear them now, “After all we did for him and he treats us like this”. Those who act like these senior managers really do not see their shortcomings as they are truly C level players. It is always someone else who is to blame. Some other cosmic curse of the universe which made them do what they did. Yeah, I don’t think so. It is called lack of a moral compass.

Playing out concurrently with the separation from the other investment some were trying to extricate themselves from stock investments in this firm. In another brilliant stroke the senior managers broke from the customary practice of buying out shares upon termination. Instead I can imagine the backroom machinations – let’s just not pay him for as long as we can, not at all if we don’t have to. We do have the “option” to purchase his shares, not the absolute obligation. They were smirking like Linda Blair in the Exorcist about how devious a plan they had devised.

Whoa, hold on a minute Skippy. What is this shareholder loan on the books. WTF, you mean he owes us more money than we do him for the stock! Bwaa, Haaa, Haaa call this checkmate mofo’s!!! Remember I told you I anticipated their worst possible moves – WTF, that ruined our entire grand plan. They were so predictable in all the actions they took. Predictable because they had done it to others over the years and gotten away with it. Their time was up.

Here is where the lies and deception got more exaggerated. What? We did not authorize any shareholder loan. This is embezzlement, we need to look at all the transactions over the years as I am sure he stole more. That’s when emails are produced where the senior manager was in the conversation regarding shareholder loans. Oh shit, how could he have this documentation that refutes our lies!! You mean we can’t lie at will knowing he can’t refute our contentions, LOL. So, they try the tact that we did not have a majority vote on this loan. Unfortunately they forgot that they NEVER took a vote on any major disbursement. Kinda blows your logic out of the water, nice try though. Again it was check and mate you numbnuts, you must think I am as stupid as you are, LOL.

NO MORE WIRE HANGERS – as the senior manager went over the edge once again.

Wait a minute, here are credit card charges for unauthorized items – now we have him!! Here we go – a charge for lunch with staff, office supplies, and some online services. These all seem suspicious to us and you need to pay them back. Really?? Wow, this is the best you can throw at me. Let’s forget about the senior managers through the years putting personal expense items on their business card conveniently using it instead of their personal card. Oh, I used the business card by mistake – it just flipped itself out of my wallet into the hand of the clerk, LOL. Yeah, I believe that the first time but when it is the 100th time you tell me that it strains credibility. More likely you are trying to cover your trail from a suspicious spouse if you ask me!!

Unfortunately, they forgot to read the emails sent to them regarding these expenses. I guess they thought they were unimportant, LOL. The emails documented every business expense in question and in the long run they had to run away from their accusations with their tails between their legs. Another victory for being one step ahead of these conniving bastards.

Lesson Learned: those lacking a moral compass see you as the next target, not as a valued compatriot in their evil doings. Never let your guard down.

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.

Wiggling Toes in the Sand Update



Yes, let’s bid jobs below breakeven, bring in high paid staff, pay taxes we are not obligated to pay, have staff complain they don’t know what is going on, and then not perform to the already low margin we estimated………

Might just work, not.

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.



Stranger in a Strange Land


.. Or Adios Losers

The best part about banging your head against the wall for years is the fact that it feels so good when you stop.

The magnitude of the issues became clearer the longer I remained at one firm. Continually trying to bring about constructive change was met with such resistance from upper management that the best solution was to exit before the inevitable face plant took place.

With twenty twenty hindsight it is evident that the better decision may have been to let this firm implode from their bad decisions years ago instead of propping up the bad mistakes and poor project management. Looking back there is no doubt that upper management lacked the self awareness to see that they were the problem and, therefore, allowing them to continue on only propagated bad management.


The glue that held the firm together over the years was the finance/accounting function by continually working the banking and bonding relationship in a positive manner. This in spite of the consistently poor project management and estimating.

Such a weight was lifted off my shoulders when the decision was made that the situation was beyond repair – it was FUBAR. You had senior management discussing personal likes and dislikes inappropriately and taking exception to staff performance for no other reason than because they may have been more attractive than some senior manager cared for.  One of my biggest regrets is that I participated in the lunacy for as long as I did and allowed, via silence, this inappropriate behavior to go on for so long.

What became clearer as time went on was that the founders of this firm were completely incapable of managing not just the firm but, more importantly, their personal life. As my beliefs diverged more and more from those who sought to “lead” this firm it became even clearer that I could no longer support the insanity. What was insane you ask? Let’s obsess on the WIP calculation as if there was a WIP God that would bar your entrance to heaven if it was off. Of course, forget about the fact that the estimate was whacked to begin with, that no one updated the already whacked estimate as the project progressed, and the fact that the senior managers did not have a clue what WIP represented. This for projects that were already bid so low below breakeven that you had no chance of making enough margin to cover the firms overhead. Then having to sit in meetings where the fearless leaders of the firm would wonder why they could not make any profit. Please put a gun to my head and put me out of my misery. 993B7CBD-B3F6-4781-B668-62014D6746A3Talking to this group was akin to speaking to a group of remedial students except for one big exception – that being that remedial students had a hope of comprehension, LOL. This group believed so completely in the righteousness of their wrong minded ideas that they would go down in flames believing in them. They firmly believed the earth was flat even though all evidence pointed otherwise.

63778A36-C55E-4596-935B-37F47A46BBF1More disturbing was the cover-up that senior management engaged in once the jig was up. “We expected you to tell us we had a $3 million hole to crawl out of!”. “It is your job to let management know when we are going sideways”. REALLY?? Pull up the last 100 emails that went to your numbnut asses regarding the need to remedy the estimating procedure or the need to close unprofitable regions.  Oh, I get it – you didn’t read those since they did not fit your reality but NOW you want to issue a revisionist telling of history which basically states that you were never made aware of these issues! Wankers.

Early on at this firm I treated the original shareholders with deference given they had invested sweat equity into starting the firm. Over time, however, this deference was removed when the dysfunctional behavior and poor management made it impossible to support such behavior. It was not uncommon that new staff would fall prey to the whims A6A222AB-8F97-4156-83B3-7B22168A8CCBof senior management and their juvenile behavior. Going with the flow was impossible unless one wanted to condone unacceptable trysts and borderline illegal procurement practices. The refrain became “well that is just the way management is” or “don’t they know how badly their actions reflect on the firm”. For me deference to such poor management was no longer an option. Chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was no longer an option as I came to realize there was no pot of gold, only an outhouse of manure.



Lesson learned: when you are on a ship of fools it is never too early to abandon ship.


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.

Wiggling Toes in the Sand Update



My exact thoughts when listening for so many years to senior leaders at one firm. WTF are you talking about? Speaking so authoritatively on subjects which they had no clue on. The more maddening thing was the numbnuts who agreed with every word these senior managers would speak for purely political reasons. It is the mindset which allows for atrocities to occur – don’t rock the boat, just follow the “supposed” leader over the cliff.

My regret – not taking a harder stand against the ignorance and abuses sooner.

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.

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