Mad @ Mgmt

with Walter Simson


Weakly Specials

I recently argued that auto dealers need to reconfigure their marketing to be delivery points for an active direct marketing and Internet business. Dealers also need to reduce their financial risk profile. It is not as if the car companies have made it easy for them. As a matter of fact, the car companies are prime contributors to the weak position many dealers find themselves in.

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Let's Make a Dealership

We know the problems of auto dealers (and their lesser-known big brothers, truck dealerships) all too well. Low sales, collapse of financing markets and a seemingly inexplicable urge of car companies to decrease, rather than increase, the number of dealers' outlets. These are the problems that have hit the news, but a vibrant auto dealership sector (if we are ever to have one) will need the dealers to implement serious management changes. They can't just hope for a quick reversal in business conditions.

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A Turnaround Manager Takes on the Gulf

The President's address on June 15 came nowhere close to addressing the crisis. A seemingly one-time disaster has become a chronic toxic episode; responses from those in charge demonstrate that no one is in charge; the ugly face of politics seemingly colors the reactions of the communities affected and the wider world. And on June 16, BP — the world's fourth largest company by revenues — announced the suspension of its dividend.

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Curried Interest

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal was titled "Congress's Carried Interest Tax Folly" (May 24, 2010). The subtitle was, "The latest soak-the-rich scheme will mean less capital investment and fewer new jobs." I may agree with the sentiments of the headline, but on the facts, the sub-head is all wrong.

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Fast growth for slow foods?

Heather Hilleren has become known in ways that belie the size of her company headquarters — which consists of one single room in an attractive startup-incubator building. The founder and president of Local Dirt has been interviewed by national media, such as INC Magazine and National Public Radio, for providing a service to a previously-untapped market in the national organic food chain (pun intended). Not only that, but Local Dirt has also been tapping into the imaginations of the consuming public. Think of her as one of the shock troops envisioned in Michael Pollan's new-food manifesto, "The Omnivore's Dilemma."

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