Category Archives: economy
Sometimes if you just take a moment for deeper observation at an event you can get a sense of what pundits spend a lifetime interpreting. Last night I took my youngest daughter to a Ranger game. They lost in overtime, 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers, so I will not dwell too much on the fantastic comeback, the grit and determination and the ultimate let down.
Here are my other observations during those 4 hours:
Observation 1 – Wireless Gen
My daughter sent and received approximately 120 text messages. She communicated to classmates about the homework she would have to do when she got home, she chatted with her cousin about God knows what, She took three calls, and she cheered the loudest in are section. She does not have ADHD, she just multitasks at the rate of a cyborg!! This is the next generation.
Observation 2- Politics
Throughout the game the roving camera guys put crazed fans on the big jumbotron. Twice last night, the fan was wearing a big Obama button on their Ranger jersey. When they saw themselves on the arena scoreboard instead of pointing to their Ranger emblem, they pointed to the Obama button! If seems the hockey Mom and Dad demographic in New York went for Obama.
Observation 3- More Wireless
The Rangers have several interactive mobile promotions during the game. The simplest is a text to screen application where your message is displayed on the scoreboard. What is “interesting” is that you text to one shortcode, get a thank you message from another shortcode and then are instructed to text a third shortcode for a free wallpaper. Also, the thank you shortcode responds with “Thank you for voting!” Opps? Did I vote? Time to check that campaign provisioning!
NOTE TO NEW YORK RANGERS MOBILE DEPARTMENT:
I herby offer – pro-bono (maybe you can pay me with an autographed stick) to fix your mobile applications to make them coherent and effective; to have them run on one shortcode, with proper messaging before, during and after the user interaction.
Observation 4- The Economy
I made a quick count on the number of empty luxury suites last night. I stopped counting after 23. Madison Square Garden has about 60 suites for the well-heeled New York corporate crowd. While I have seen empty suites in the past, the number of dark boxes is very large. As a proxy for the recession/depression on Wall Street, just counting the number of flipped light switched on luxury boxes is a leading indicator of the economy.
Observation 5- The Economy – Oh Canada! (Or is it just the Oil(ers))
Since the Rangers were playing a Canadian based team, the national anthems of both Canada and the U.S. are sung before the game. I like the Canadian Anthem, and can sing it with the best of them. I have to admit I was never quite sure who Canadians are “on Guard” from?
Anyway, I observed a very large number of Edmonton Oiler fans, from Canada. This is unusual. Usually the out of town fans come from New Jersey, Long Island and Philly. This got me thinking. Is there some other geopolitical trend that has caused these fans to be in New York?
I came to three possibilities – either they paid for a tour before the dollar increased in value, or they all work for oil companies in Edmonton and have more money than they know what to do with, or they are Canadian “snow birds” who escape the harsh Canadian winter to bask in the less harsh New York winter. You decide.
Amazing what you can observe if you just take a minute to look!
The Dow drops another 300 points, unemployment rises, spending decreases. This hardly sounds like the environment for setting up your business for success, and yet this is exactly what your competitors are hoping for.
Let me explain.
Downturns in an industry or the economy have a necessary cleansing impact on our competitive capitalist environment. In times of rapid growth, bad practices, poor process, and wasted resources accumulate like straws on a camel’s back. The organizations usually do not notice the problems or choose to ignore them in light of the overall good growth in their products.
Then the music stops. And the question is now what?
The knee jerk reaction is to pull back on everything-reduce headcount, reduce expenditures, conserve capital and just slow everything down and wait out the storm. If this is all you do, you will, at best, not improve your market positioning, and very likely lag the recovery.
The downturn provides a unique, and yes, perishable opportunity.
Having managed through the dot.com bust, up-close and personal, I can definitely appreciate this position. Let me explain.
In a down turn you get to catch your operational breath. For example, you can kill those projects that were marginal and perhaps politically difficult to kill, and now you can kill them. Priorities can become crystal clear.
You can really examine company processes and quality. Fix those nagging product management and realization issues, get the quality tools in place that you never had time for, fix the old accounting system…
On the staff side, this should not just be a time for cutting headcount, and eliminating raises and bonuses.
This is the best time to upgrade your staff! Every organization has a range of talent. In a hot market you might be more inclined to hold on to mediocre team members, rather than invest the time and effort in finding someone new. In a down market, there are more highly qualified people on the market. Recruiting will never be easier than it is now.
If you upgrade your processes, products, quality and team in this environment, the cost to your bottom line is negligible!! If the market is not growing anyway you have the time to make this investment.
If you do this, you will thrive at the front end of the recovery and leave your competitors in the dust.
If you stay with the status quo you miss this perishable opportunity.