Maybe It’s Time To Start A New Fight

In light of the recent Aurora sale this article really caught my attention.  It gives me a perspective I hadn’t quite thought of for breaking out of our current rut.

All winners lose. The market leader is a dead man walking. The incumbent is cursed with inevitable failure. That seems to be the prevailing sentiment among many in the investment and journalism worlds: The smart money, they argue, bets against the incumbent. Their surmise: The world will change. The reigning corporation will fail to adjust. The right thing to do? Short them (assume that their share price will fall). Short the winners. Bet against those who flourish. Because all winners must lose, and sooner than we think.

I have heard this argument before, but for the first time I am hearing it argued as something unobjectionably and manifestly true. At some point in the last 10 years, “short the incumbent” had gone from being a daring proposition to received wisdom. There is evidence, to be sure. Of the top 25 corporations listed in Fortune in 2000, only 12 were still there in 2010. Let’s put this another way: in the decade between 2000 to 2010, half the winners lost….More at Every Company Should Build a Second Corporation – Grant

What I would Do:

Most of us can’t afford to start a second corporation and invest the resources in it but we can pretend by creating a team within our team that focuses, in concept, in that way.  Kind of like the crow’s nest on an old sailing ship. Lookouts always looking for land.  Always looking forward, thinking about how we need to reinvent ourselves and then when and if necessary beginning the process as pathfinders.  Even the smallest of us can do that.  Think of it this way:  If I own the Smith Funeral Home.  I can have within it a concept group (a skunk works if you will) I call the Tomorrow Group that meets regularly to think about future things and assumes that today will not last. This group needs to read and travel to experience different things.  For instance, my friend Ernie Heffner used to send up and coming funeral directors with their wives to weekends with their wives to luxury hotels.  Sounds great doesn’t it.  But his purpose was twofold: 1. to expose them to first class treatment most had never received and 2. have them formally report to the others ideas they had gotten for improving service back at the funeral home from their experience at the hotel.  In a way it was pretty cheap training and think about what it did for morale.