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When a White House policy is broad enough to affect both computer programmers and NBA players, it’s a remarkable decision. Yet that’s the impact of the executive order (EO), nicknamed the "Muslim Ban," that bars citizens from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States. The order’s Constitutional legality will be decided by the courts, but what won’t be decided, in the short term at least, is the impact that the EO has on how and whom American businesses hire.

Businesses have all faced a similar situation: should they pursue profit exclusively or should they risk reducing it by spending money to minimize or eliminate their products’ and services’ harmful effects?

Propaganda is a despot’s favorite tool. Yet dictators no longer dictate what’s said. It’s guys like Paris Wade and Ben Goldman whose stories are designed to lure the partisan and gullible…and earn them tens of thousands of dollars a month in fees for the ads that appear on their site.

One could admire their entrepreneurship, but that would be like applauding Josef Goebbels for attracting large crowds. The results of their work could spell disaster – for politics, business, and society.
 

When you click on a link and get dumped into 404 limbo, that’s not good. But when a link’s completely dead, that’s even worse.

Calling a number on a company’s website and reaching a retiree in Boise is unfortunate. Hearing “The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service,” may suddenly classify your prospect or customer as “former.”
 

how_404_errors_and_other_little_mistakes_impact_businessMinor to Major

I am a domino. It’s likely that you are, too. But whether you’re propped at the front of the line, in the middle, or way at the back will depend upon your current employment.

It is, as the pundits like to say, the price of progress: as technology advances, work changes and, often, that work goes away. It’s happened in manufacturing as robots replaced human workers (though offshoring didn’t help), and it’s moving on to white collar jobs where artificial intelligence is assuming chores that once were considered “safe for human assumption.”
 

The future looks great from the past.

The videophone. The bar code. The computer mouse. The digital audio player. The personal digital assistant. Each was innovative. Each was ahead of its time. Each solved a problem that nobody had. So, if nobody could or even wanted to use those inventions, were they really innovative?

He drives a Tesla. She drives a Leaf. His is leased, hers was bought outright. He wanted to drive in the carpool lane (without the extra passenger). She wanted to contribute to cleaner air. He got the top-speed model to go zero to 60 in under three seconds. Hers can barely make it in ten.

Yet, she dry cleans her jeans, colors her hair with peroxide-based dye, and orders take-out food three times a week. He loves to cook every night with organic ingredients, drops his clothes off at a fluff-and-fold that uses earth-friendly detergent, and charges his car with a solar-panel system.
 

When did “how to win friends and influence people” mutate into “how to exclude people and persuade others to join you”? Was it when SCOTUS struck down the Defense of Marriage Act? Or was it on September 11th when people from sixty-two foreign nations were among those who died.

Office politics is an unfortunate workplace reality. It’s a phenomenon that leads us to behave in ways that might not qualify as totally ethical, and it encourages certain co-workers to indulge their inner Faust.

I’m guilty of it to some degree. I calculate people’s likely responses to business proposals in advance, line up allies, and prepare responses and rebuttals for those who are sure to disagree. It’s self-preservational. But it’s directly related to accomplishing what I think is right for the company, regardless of whether it’s right for a particular colleague.

Walmart may not have been the first company whose pricing policies forced suppliers to send jobs overseas, but it was, for years, the one with the highest public profile. Yet, like so many things involving marketplace dynamics, the issues that attracted the most attention had to do with the wages and benefits that Walmart offered employees. It’s a subject that makes good press but, ultimately, bad economics. By contrast, with the impact of offshoring, though, it’s almost insignificant.
 

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