A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

All Glory is Fleeting

An old friend of mine had a list of rules once. They were the guidelines he used to deal with other people. The list was made up of a couple dozen brief statements that covered most everything. How honest one should be. How much effort one should put into a relationship. When you should kiss her. Etcetera. He called them his Laws of Social Interaction.

One of my favorites went like this, and I’m paraphrasing, “All glory is fleeting. If there’s nobody faster, stronger, smarter or better than you right now, then just wait.” It’s an important thing to remember. Especially when it comes to business and enterprise.

[…]Kodak can’t count on a guaranteed revenue stream: If consumers abandon its products, sales will be zero, and the company will disappear. The history of private-sector duopolies and even monopolies is filled with such seemingly sudden disappearance acts: The A&P supermarket chain–if you’re under forty years old, you probably haven’t even heard of it–enjoyed a U.S. market share of 75 percent as recently as the 1950s. Big-box music retailers and bookstores were supposed to bestride the land like collosi at the turn of our new century, but Virgin mega-stores have all but disappeared, and Borders has just gone bankrupt. Dominant newspapers in one-paper towns were able to book some of the economy’s highest profit margins for four decades–more than 20 percent a year, on average, positively dwarfing such hated industrial icons as Walmart–yet with the explosion of Web-based competition, these onetime mints are now among the least attractive companies in the economy.

There is a positive correlation between an organization’s former dominance and its present inability to cope with  twenty-first century change. As technology business consultant Nilofer Merchant has aptly put it, “The Web turns old industries on their head. Industries that have had monopolies or highly profitable duopolies are the ones most likely to be completely gutted when a more powerful, more efficient system comes along.”

Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie, The Declaration of Independents

How quickly the giants can fall, even when you least expect them to. And it’s not just technology that can undo them. Markets shift, and what was a household staple just a decade ago is no longer. Leadership changes, and the once driving vision is lost.

Which organizations will fall in the next decade? Change is a constant. In the grand scheme of things, everything is vapor.

But what does that mean for us?

Maybe we should prepare ourselves to be more accepting when such changes happen.

Maybe we shouldn’t find ourselves as fearful or frustrated by the strength of certain industry leaders.

Maybe we need to take a longer view of the world around us, and just wait.

Think about all of the change in the last ten years. What do you think the next ten years will bring?

November 26, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quick Hits of the Week

  • It’s important to keep up intensity when you are trying to accomplish a big goal. The problem is that when our intensity starts to fade, it’s not immediately apparent. According to Joseph Sangl, it’s a lot like a ceiling fan. Sangl is a finance guy, so he’s talking about money management, but we can also keep it in mind when we set goals in any area of our life. Don’t let your switch turn off. Momentum will drain away quickly.
  • We used to have cats, but they’ve passed away, and we haven’t agreed on when we’ll be replacing them. It’s inevitable that we will, though. When we do, I’m going to look into building a cabinet like this one. I think it would fit nicely in the laundry room. I’m also hoping that my son will be old enough to handle cleaning duties.
  • It’s a game that I will never force my children to play. It’s unlikely that I will ever own a copy. It’s the horror that is Monopoly. But it wasn’t always Monopoly. At one time it was called the Landlord’s Game, and it was well loved. Take a look at some of the vintage images on this site that shows you what ‘Monopoly’ used to look like, and what the rules used to be.

Is there something valuable or important or cool or funny or weird or awesome out there I missed this week? I can’t hit it all, but you should let me know about it by dropping me a line or sharing it in the comments below! I’d appreciate the heads up.

November 1, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Growing up, I didn’t really learn much about making and managing money. Most of the instruction regarding budgets and savings was done in passing and not nearly often enough. As a Dad, I’m trying to do better, so I’m always happy when friends share articles with me about teaching money management to kids. I only have a couple of points of minor disagreement. First, don’t give your kids an allowance. Pay them a commission for specific chores they perform. It will help them understand that money is earned through work. Second, don’t make your kids play Monopoly. It’s a terrible board game. (Life and Payday aren’t much better, but at least they don’t take as long.) There are much better games out there that will build money or resource management skills.
  • I’m rapidly working my way through Seth Godin’s latest manifesto. It covers his thoughts on how to change education to be more relevant to the current and coming age. Stop Stealing Dreams. As a homeschooling parent, I’m challenged to re-evaluate how we’re teaching our kids, and to root out some of the methods that have been heavily influenced by the school systems that we grew up in. If you’re involved in education I would encourage you to take a look at it.
  • A photographer walks through East Germany just after the wall fell, taking photographs of the stunning, but neglected, architecture. A decade later he re-traces his steps, and recreates his photographs. The transformation is inspiring.
  • A follow up to last week’s quick hit about Pat Robertson again declaring that it’s time to decriminalize marijuana. Apparently that ruffled the feathers of Jimmy Carter’s former secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano, who criticized Pat for not having enough concern for the children. Appeals to the safety of “the children” automatically raises a red flag in my head that somebody is trying to pass or support bad legislation by twisting at people’s heartstrings. So, I’m once again in the odd position of backing Mr. Robertson. On this issue.

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week