History Repeats, Again!

History Repeats, Again!
History Repeats, Again!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Outsource Your Children

I’ve decided to run my life more like a business. With the private sector as my inspiration, I will privatize my life. From now on, all activities will be scrutinized for their contribution to the bottom line. Status quo will no longer be my credo. Efficiency will drive all my actions.

First, of course, I need a business-like mission statement. A mission statement must concisely summarize your core values but be general enough to maintain some wiggle room. My mission may evolve, but for now I’m going with: “Maintain a laser focus on the end of the day where the rubber meets the road as things tee up going forward.”

Next, I’ll need a vision. After a bit of market research, I’ve decided that my vision will be: “Execute the mission statement.”

Running my life as a business means putting a cold-blooded, steely-eyed dollar value on everything. Everything must have positive return on investment (ROI), or it gets cut. No waste, no fluff! Mapping my activities onto a balance sheet may be difficult, but I believe such discipline will help with my laser focus.

After careful analysis I’ve decided to outsource my kids. I know this will be hard on them -- possibly traumatic-- but for the good of the organization, some difficult steps have to be taken. They are, after all, a major cost center that has yet to show a profit.

Everyone says “kids are the future,” but this isn’t very laser-like. Too much ambiguity! When exactly does this future arrive and what is the the net present value of my investment? If my US-based kids don’t deliver positive cash flow, there are kids in other geographies who will. For the price of one of my kids, I can get many more through a well-executed offshoring strategy.

I know this sounds harsh, but I’ve bench marked my kids against a representative group of neighborhood children and, frankly, mine are under-performing. On those occasions when I really need a family, I can rent one! So, until I have more clarity around their short term value-proposition, I will outsource my permanent kids and replace them with contractors.  This should vastly improve my expense ratios.

I know this sounds tyrannical, but I need to be “lean and mean” in order to compete in the global economy. In the long run, we will all benefit from right-sizing the family. In recognition of their prior service to the organization, my sons will be eligible for a 2-week training program that includes lawn mower maintenance, putting dishes in the dishwasher, washing machine operation, and other skills that will be invaluable in the emerging service economy.

In gratitude for their past service, my sons will also receive a severance benefit equivalent to 2 weeks allowance for every year they’ve lived under my roof.

Speaking of roofs, I’ll need to improve the asset side of my balance sheet. Assets -- things like clothing, furniture, and kitchen sinks--are a drag on earnings.  My accountant suggests that I donate all my assets to charity, take a tax deduction, and then lease back the things I really need.

Here’s how it works: I donate my socks to, say, the Salvation Army.  Since many of those socks are less than a year old, I’ll claim a large tax credit against my earnings. During the portion of the year when I can’t wear sandals, I’ll rent socks and show this as an expense on my balance sheet. It makes no sense whatsoever to have a drawer full of under-utilized socks in the summer time. Outsourcing my socks is both fiscally sound and well-aligned with global trends.  

My business plan is still evolving, but I feel it’s directionally correct enough to launch. “Launch and learn” is the way I’ll tee this up for now. I’ll “adapt and go” as economic conditions change going forward. 

Please contact me about franchise opportunities, motivational appearances, and personal consulting on how you, too, can find win-win scenarios through privatizing your life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Save the Rich!

If you are jealous of the rich, don’t be. The rich have problems you can’t imagine or afford.

Let’s say, for example, you’ve got 100 million dollars. Sounds great, right? Wrong. 100 million bucks is nothing but trouble. For starters, to keep that money FDIC insured means you’d need about 500 checking accounts. Think of all the passwords you'd have to remember.

People without money think cash solves all problems. People with money know it doesn’t --that’s why they don’t want you to have more.

To be rich is to be different. Everyday of your life, you feel isolated, alienated from the regular people who take care of your tennis court and pool. It’s not easy having green.

I know you’re not buying this. You think its easy being over-privileged. But who can they trust? Where do they turn in times of need?

The rich are shunned. Recently the world's top bankers were so lonely they had to award themselves bonuses for surviving the financial crisis they caused.

The rich are discriminated against. That’s why they need more tax breaks.

With the exception of the US Senate, there aren’t any non-profit organizations around to aid the over-privileged.

You pretend to be tolerant and understanding, but ask yourself: Would you be comfortable if an over-privileged family moved into your neighborhood? Rich people living right next door?

Would you let your sister marry one?

Imagine this. You’re walking alone one night on a dark street downtown, near the theater district. Suddenly, the opera is over and the street fills with rich people. Nervous?

You betcha! 

Now it gets worse. One of them tries to talk to you, thinks you’re his driver or something. What do you do? You pretend not to hear him. You act like he’s invisible.

Later, you make excuses like, “What am I supposed to say to rich people? I don’t know anything about private islands, fractional Learjet shares, or hundred-year old Cognac.”

You say you respect their culture. You say you think rich people should be treated equally, but that’s exactly where you’re wrong.The golden rule doesn’t apply to the ones with the gold. 

You think it’s respectful to treat them the way we want to be treated? They don’t want to be treated like us!

So have some sympathy for our lonely, depressed, over-privileged rich brethren. Smile and wave when their limos pass.