Posts tagged: corporations
This is the story of a wonderful idea. Something that had never been done before, a moment of change that shaped the Internet we know today. This is the story of Flickr. And how Yahoo bought it and murdered it and screwed itself out of relevance along the way.
Interesting analysis of yet another corporate merger/acquisition gone bad.
Great interview of former Justice John Paul Stevens by Stephen Colbert.
A few days ago, Scotts Miracle-Gro (whose brands include Ortho, Scotts, Miracle-Gro, Roundup, Earthgro, Black Magic, Hyponex, Osmocote, Morning Song, Whitney Farms, Supersoil, Bovung, and Country Pride) agreed to plead guilty and pay $4.5 million in fines, for not one but two product safety incidents.
The first incident involved selling wild birdseed that was coated with a pesticide that is toxic to birds. The company coated their birdseed so that it would not be eaten by insects while in storage, and continued to do so even after multiple warnings from their own employees that it was “extremely toxic”.
The second (and separate) incident involved falsifying EPA pesticide registrations for their lawn and garden products, even going so far as to tell the EPA that they must have lost their files.
And what steps is the company taking to recover from this? They just announced that they are increasing spending on advertising 28% to $141 million total (31 times the amount of the fine). This includes a deal with Major League Baseball to hang “Scotts is Used Here” banners in ballparks to “give homeowners the illusion that they can have Fenway Park in their back yard just by dumping on some Weed ‘N Feed”. Even worse, Scotts just announced a “partnership” with the National Wildlife Federation, which sounds like a blatant attempt to greenwash their bad reputation.
Meanwhile, Scotts is leading a battle in Florida to overturn bans on the use of nitrogen fertilizer on lawns during the summer. These fertilizers wash off during the rainy summer season and cause massive (and toxic) blooms of red-tide and green slime, hurting not just wildlife but also tourism, but the bans are bad for Scott’s profits.
Oh, and Jim Hagedorn, the CEO who was ultimately responsible for all this? Still at the helm of the company, despite comments like this:
Hagedorn is the sole reason for this issue. He has created a toxic culture (literally) based purely on profit and greed and his warped business sense. I know quite a few former Scotts employees that are highly talented and very ethical people that were pushed out by Hagedorn in his effort to create high turnover in order to “keep ideas fresh”.
Hagedorn makes Mr. Burns look angelic. He is the poster child for what’s wrong with corporate america.
You know, some politicians say that we don’t need regulations, that consumers should just stop buying products from companies they don’t like. As for the former, we would never have known about this company selling deadly birdseed if not for the federal government. But as for the latter, it sounds like a consumer boycott would be a very good idea.
Colbert ad: if corporations are people, then Mitt’s corporate raiding makes him a serial killer
Fascinating, bracing article by Steve Denning in Forbes based on Roger L. Martin’s new book, Fixing the Game:
Martin says that the trouble began in 1976 when finance professor Michael Jensen and Dean William Meckling of the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester published a seemingly innocuous paper in the Journal of Financial Economics entitled “Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure.” […]
The principal-agent problem occurs, the article argued, because agents have an inherent incentive to optimize activities and resources for themselves rather than for their principals. Ignoring Peter Drucker’s foundational insight of 1973 that the only valid purpose of a firm is to create acustomer, Jensen and Meckling argued that the singular goal of a company should be to maximize the return to shareholders.
Eye-opening, common-sense argument.
Chief executive pay has roared back after two years of stagnation and decline. America’s top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay. The dramatic bounceback comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.
"Wages for everybody else have either been in decline or stagnated in this period, and that’s for those who are in work," said Hodgson. "I had a feeling that we would see some significant increases this year. But 30-40% was something of a surprise." Bosses won in every area, with dramatic increases in pensions, payoffs and perks – as well as salary.
Somebody is going to lose the World Series. It’s true. I have heard this is how these things work. But, when the inevitable happens, where do all their commemorative hats, T-shirts, shoelaces, giant foam hands, etc. go? After all, nobody knows which team will win. To meet the instant, post-game demand, manufacturers have all that championship memorabilia—for both teams—made up and sitting in a warehouse before the final game is even a twinkle in an announcer’s eye.
If you guessed that it ends up in a dump, you’d be wrong. Mental_floss investigated and found the World Vision, an international Christian charity, gets the losing gear from baseball, football and basketball.
And the manufacturer gets a tax break for the donation. Knowing the way that large corporations work, I’m sure T-shirts for the losing team are valued at $30 for tax purposes just like the winning ones are — I guess the IRS doesn’t know which team won.