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Jack Yoest

Why Elites Hate WalMart

September 8, 2005 | By | 14 Comments

“Law-breaker, union-buster, tax-escapee…” says Ralph Nader about WalMart. The generosity of $17 million by the retailing giant during the Katrina Aftermath has muted criticism, but changed few minds.

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WalMart Protesters

Why do left of center political activists picket and pick on this American success story?

There are five basic reasons this market segment of Blue State politically liberal consumers do not care much for WalMart:

First, WalMart is a ‘Right to Work’ company, an open shop. WalMart sees little need for unions, but neither do employees. Low-cost WalMart doesn’t care for high-cost unions. The only people interested in unionizing WalMart are unions themselves and the Democrat Party.

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Child-like Mocking

Second, WalMart’s political donations favor the Grand Old Party. Readers will remember the Fast Company chart depicting political donations of various companies: Starbucks gives to Democrats; Dunkin’ Donuts to Republicans. WalMart supports the red in Republican; Costco loves blue Democrats.

Third, Corporate WalMart is Pro-life. For example, the crisis pregnancy center in Baltimore recently received a grant from the retailer. The Left and our feminist friends at the National Organization of Women do not like this brand of private sector activism.

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Fourth, WalMart makes money, lots of money. WalMart sales are the largest in the world at $220 billion, with $7 billion in profits. Which is too much money for critics like activist Jim Hightower. And liberals and governments want a say in how all this loot is distributed.

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Fifth, WalMart is heartless to competitors. It is the All-American retail marketing-machine: big, patriotic, delivering goods to families faster, better, cheaper. And . . .crushing little mom and pop boutiques. Survival of the cheapest, so to say, isn’t pretty. (This is the only Darwinism the Left doesn’t like.)

WalMart has whipped up the perfect storm for the Liberal worldview: generous, pro-life, pro-Bush, pro-war, pro-American.

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For more conversation –

WalMart sues blogger Duane Gran.

As one could guess Daily Kos doesn’t care for WalMart. Warning: adult language in D-Kos comments.

More opinions at AllWaysSlowPrices

The leftist American Street is not happy about the lack of progress on WalMart boycotts.

WalMart Watch doesn’t care for the Arkansas company. A well done blog except, perhaps, for the snarky content.

These Leftist do have style: Wake-Up Wal-Mart. See what union money from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union will buy for a blog.

Feministing would give WalMart the finger.

Anti-WalMart at No Cleveland WalMart hat tip credit to NRO

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Goodness, the WalMart hating Marxists have clever logos.

Labor Blog has WalMart Nazi story.

Business Blog Consulting says WalMart needs a business blog.

Boston Activists Blast Wal-Mart reports The American Constitution Society.

Movie Marketing Update has info on new anti-Walmart DVD,

Based on an early look at blog trend tracking sites like Blogpulse, Icerocket and Technorati, the chatter in the blogosphere is just starting to pick up. But once the amplifying effect of thousands of linking blogs takes hold, expect this film to generate massive grassroots level buzz as the November 13th [2005]release date approaches.

The BoxTank says “…f*ck George Bush” in the boxtank to take a break until after the favorable WalMart publicity dies down, I think.

Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind reports WalMart is actually in the publishing business.

Think Progress say WalMart’s generosity isn’t enough.

Truth or Consequences has more on WalMart looters.

UPDATE: Read Brand Autopsy on WalMart feel-good.

UPDATE: Wizbang on WalMart outsourcing. Not what you think.

Update: Protesting Report at Volokh

Update: Venture Chronicles reports on pickets.

Update 9.16.05: Truck and Barter has an outstanding analysis of efficiency at Spend Time in the Lunchroom.

Update 9.16.05: VoluntaryXchange asks questions about union activity.

Update 26 Sept: Sepia Mutiny say WalMart is as evil as Starbucks.

Memory Keeper says there is no free lunch.

Update: 11 Oct 2005 Chip Mathis has why do lefties hate WalMart?

Update 13 Oct 2005 Individual and Community has more on multi-level marketing.

Update 25 Oct Business Pundit askes if WalMart is a Good Corporate Citizen?

Credo Advisors has comments.

Update 23 Nov 2005 The Business of America is Business has an outstanding analysis on The Political Dimensions.

Update 10 July 2006 This post was included in the Carnival of Wal-Mart I hosted by The Business of America is Business.

Managing Bureaucrats

September 7, 2005 | By | 2 Comments

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Rule Number One:

Never Give a Bureaucrat a chance to say no.

Morton Blackwell, founder of The Leadership Institute, wrote The Laws of the Public Policy Process that has 45 such pithy points.

They are helpful to anyone dealing with the servants grinding out the sausage of law, policy, rule and reg. I keep a copy framed near my desk — even when that desk was a part of the Office of the Governor.

Governments and most any very large organization have what my favorite political scientist would call ”multiple points of accountability.’

This is where any stakeholder or key influencer or television camera can veto an action. The Bureaucrat learns very quickly that vetoes will come fast and from all directions with lethal effect onto any movement by said Bureaucrat. There is no penalty for no decision. It is safer for a simple preemptive “No.”

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Remember our Bureaucrat is in a matrix (an organizational structure; not the movie — although it may seem that way). He can get fired by a number of bosses. Or worse: to work past 5pm or on Saturday.

We have seen the inner workings of the Bureaucrat in his natural habitat: Hurricane Katrina.

I have found one method of confronting this breed in the public or private sector:

Don’t.

Instead try these three Bureaucrat workarounds:

1) Use a third party. Watch how our Congress does it: Closing military bases a hot potato(e)? Form a commission. Afraid of the abortion issue? Let the Supremes decide. There is always someone, somewhere who will sign off or lift off your project — for a price. (Call me for rates.)

2) There are some Bureaucrats who can be inside champions for your project. Here’s how you can identify this rare subset: Ask them if they like the child’s game of ‘Whack-a-Mole.’ If the Bureaucrat brightens up, leans forward and smiles, start enlisting. If the weather turns cloudy, walk away. Think CIA and spy recruiting.

3) Or my favorite — simply proceed with your initiative, process the paperwork after the fact and beg forgiveness. At 4:55pm. Friday’s are best.

The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina can be managed by governor Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana’s CEO, if she would start using all three tactics. (Be sure to stay tuned for my posting on firing top executives.)

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Obsidian Wings says terrorists are winning this war.

Chernkoff has Katrina details.

Michelle Malkin doesn’t want another darn commission.

Captain Ed has reporting at New Orleans And Louisiana Blocking Aid To Refugees In City.

Volokh reports that money is seldom the problem.

WILLisms says News Orleans should be rebuilt with caveats.

Frank Patrick says we’ve turned a corner but,

What Next? — I’ve been in a funk this week, not unlike mid-September, 2001, but probably more progressive as every bit of news out of New Orleans is more and more depressing. At least the aftermath of 9/11 seemed to be a coming together. There is a lot of that, but the big headlines and lead stories about shootings and lootings and bodies in the streets for days sounds more like a third world civil war than a modern US city.

Johanna Rothman has an outstanding risk analysis at

Managers and (Disaster) Planning.

TVNewster says bureaucracy got in the way in Aftermath.

Brendan Nyhan reports growing discontent with FEMA.

Mark in Mexico is unhappy that Bureaucrat Blanco still won’t enforce evac order,

How many more will have to die before she gets off of her fat *ss and makes a decision? 50? 500? 5 from every disease on the list? What an incredibly stupid cow she must be.

Seth Godin has Bureaucracy = Death.

Update: 4 Oct 05 WunderKraut has view as civil servant from the other side.

Update: 31 Oct Triple Pundit has Carnival of the Capitalists.

Tears and Leadership

September 7, 2005 | By | No Comments

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Mayor Nagin in grubby T,

tears to follow

courtesy Wizbang

Mayor Ray Nagin cried during a WWL radio interview about Hurricane Katrina. Senator Mary Landrieu shed a tear on This Week while describing “one pitiful” crane working on a levee. The Aftermath is heart breaking and everyone should have a good cry.

But not the boss. Not in public.

A hundred years ago, as a young army lieutenant, one of my first lessons was that, “An ounce of appearance was worth a pound of performance.” How petty! I thought. So superficial!

And so true. But appearances matter.

My first superior in the army was a Captain Aykroyd, a soft-spoken West Pointer who was most patient in providing guidance in the finer points of Leadership. I once was tasked with the delivery of a pink umbrella misplaced by some Colonel’s wife.

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Your Humble Blogger, sunglasses,

sans umbrella

So I was off, with a jaunty step.

“No,” Capt Aykroyd said. “An Officer does not parade about with a pink umbrella.”

I instead wrapped the offensive girly accoutrement with manly red, green and yellow firing range flags and completed my mission. Appearances are an authentic part of the Conduct of Leadership.

I did not need to be reminded to never cry, never blubber in front of the troops.

In World War II on May 13, 1940, Winston Churchill gave his first speech to the House of Commons as Great Britain’s Prime Minister. He famously said:

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Courtesy PowerLine

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering.

Churchill offered tears; he didn’t produce them.

He closed his speech thus,

“Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

And so must we.

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The Talent Show blames the Feds.

The Mahablog cites cites FEMA as a case study in management.

Happy Furry Puppy doesn’t care for Presidential images.

The Left Coaster would rather see dead bodies than Bush rolling up his sleeves.

Thanks to Outside The Beltway and Traffic Jam.

UPDATE: camedwards doesn’t like Republicans crying either.

Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Thank you (foot)notes,

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

Y2K and The Management of Hurricane Katrina’s Aftermath

September 6, 2005 | By | No Comments

Leadership is setting the strategic direction; Management is getting things done. Katrina’s havoc shows us that government bureaucracies do not perform well in large scale emergencies where people are dying.

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Pundit Guy gives us this picture: 205 New Orleans buses, under the command — or not, as the case may be — of one Ray Nagin. Via Ace who asks “Bush’s Fault?

The Washington Post and others have been critical of the senior leaders running the Katrina operations. And I would agree that the “middle management” should be replaced — by one or both organizations that can deal with death and destruction:

The US Military and private business.

The governments have called up uniformed services. But I fear that the Cavalry was called in too late; a most unfortunate decision by the state’s governor. The civilian leadership should now give more control to the three star general on site and make him truly in command. And to implement control and rescue, the civilian leadership should hire (the liberal) Public Enemy Number One :

Halliburton.

The Wall Street Journal has correctly suggested that only very large organizations like Bechtel and Halliburton know how to manage very large disasters. The military uses small platoons and big business knows how to use work-group platoons to accomplish a mission. And we’ve seen this before.

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During the Year 2000 roll over we faced such a challenge: a disaster with a known timeline. Your Humble Blogger had the Y2K responsibility for Health and Human Resources, a $5 billion enterprise in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The boss, governor Gilmore, a former military intelligence officer, knew what we could and couldn’t do. So he hired the biggest IT consulting firms on the planet and bought their solutions packages. In my weekly staff meetings I had a dozen of the smartest, profit motivated experts in the business sitting in the room. They let me think I was in control at the head of the table. And maybe so. But these consultants wouldn’t let me, a mere bureaucrat make a mistake.

(Half of the world’s internet traffic passed through Virginia; my continued employment depended on no adverse incidents.)

So Virginia spent $215 million and nothing happened. Nothing crashed. Except for that super-secret CIA satellite…and some defibrillators. Not my fault. No one died.

Louisiana’s Governor and New Orleans’ mayor Ray Nagin should hire Halliburton and leave the Big Easy for the big dogs.

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The Evangelical Outpost has more on small unit tactics to win this battle with nature.

Ace of Spades has more on the Mayor.

Thank you to Basil’s Blog for the Covered Dish.

Wizbang has it as always: Res ipsa loquitur…

The Sideshow is unhappy with the redtape.

Michelle Malkin picks between a uniform and the uninformed. (Hint: she goes for the Big Red One, not the little red cup.)

Daimnation has more New Orleans urban legends.

Eric McNulty at Worthwhile has more on what big companies should do.

ProfessorBainbridge.com also says disaster relief effort should be outsourced.

Fastcompany has rebuilding the Big Easy.

Update: ProfessorBainbridge has more on contracts.

Update: 4 Oct 05 Monster blog has Crisis Management.

How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

September 6, 2005 | By | No Comments

Not every request for pricing is an objection. I recently sat through a conference call/web based sales pitch by AngelVision for creating a flash presentation to promote one of my companies. But AV would not tell me what it costs before the pitch. It reminded one too much of the Amway “get the whole story” ploy for a face-to-face sales call. This left a bad taste and, for my part, unnecessary sales obstacles.

But wait, there’s more, 7 more: AV made these additional mistakes:

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1) Start the presentation on time. AV could not immediately locate the CEO as pitchman for the assembled, waiting prospects. If you can’t find the presenter, the show must still go on — with an understudy if need be.

2) Never let ‘em see you sweat. So AV’s lead presenter was lost. There appeared to be a very capable VP on hand to provide information, asking qualifying questions, giving a warm-up act. Say most anything, but don’t tell potential clients you can’t synchronize an Outlook calendar and don’t know what to do next. Fill the dead air with some anticipation. See The Consultant’s Jargon Generator. Unless it’s part of the act, don’t let on that your hair’s on fire.

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3) Don’t tell me how smart you are. AV’s very accomplished CEO couldn’t tell us quick enough about his Ivy League degrees — sounding too much like a college sorority sister establishing a pecking order. I know he was smart because he told me so.

4) Never introduce yourself. Let someone else do the bragging. I am leery of any forty-year-old man telling me what University he attended. (Unless it’s Oxford. Like me.) AV’s CEO should have had his very capable VP’s whisper as an aside, confidentially, “You know, he went to Harvard.” Find an accomplished Ed McMahon or a good second banana to say, “Heeereee’s Johny!!!”

5) Never discuss religion or politics. AV has pet causes that alienated — something about rainforests, peace in our time, landfills, I think. And Starbucks. I was left with the impression that the AV commune sits in a circle in Oregon and sings Kumbaya, which must be very impressive to creative media potsmokers. But not to decision makers with a five figure buying authority.

6) Never provide backup/proof unless the client is skeptical. AV sent me eleven (11!) pages of landfill of client testimonials. A few blurbs would be better, sure. And the client list. But pages of telling me how smart you are instead told me how insecure you are.

7) Do as I say; Not as I do. AV highlighted their product as avoiding the need for those pesky salesmen calling and bothering and trying to sell you something. Then I get two follow-up sales telephone calls from AV. Now, I love sales guys — I started off selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door 35 years ago — but don’t put salesmen down, then use them when (appearing) desperate.

Bottom line: I didn’t buy. The AV manufactures suggested retail price is $17,500. But! if you buy now! now! your investment! is onlyninethousanddollars….I had a low four figure budget and AV did not close the gap between my needs, my money and their solution. Which is actually very good.

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With Shadrach

the Big Dog, 1995

If I knew how much that doggie in the window cost, and AV knew enough to tell me upfront, you’d be reading a very different analysis about a very different AngelVision.

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Be sure to see Guerilla Marketing for Consultants

More at B2B Lead Generation Blog at Marketing to Small-Medium Businesses.

Good reading at Carnival of the Capitalists.

Update 13 Oct 2005 Individual and Community has more on multi-level marketing.

In Memoriam: Jesse Brown

September 5, 2005 | By | No Comments

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Jesse Brown

Jesse Brown, 58, passed away some three years ago. He was my friend and business partner. This inaugural post on Labor Day 2005 is to honor his memory and his work.

He was wounded by enemy fire in Vietnam leaving his right arm and hand partially paralyzed. This never slowed him down.

I once asked him when he was at the pinnacle of his career what drove him to work so hard. Money, I thought; status, celebrity? No. “I just want to help my friends,” he said.

His passion for service helped him become the Veteran’s Affairs Secretary for Bill Clinton.

And yet he helped me, a nobody who worked for a Republican governor.

Jesse is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from my dad. Two warriors to whom I owe so much.

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See Reasoned Audacity for more on the ANC.