Cringely deftly dissects the real problem with American business; the short-sighted greedy idea that goosing the stock price is what is best for the company. This Randian idea leads to deranged business “strategies” like using profits to buy back stock, thus inflating the stock price but doing nothing for growth of the company. Stock buybacks benefit Wall Street and those company executives with stock options. The company itself and other employees are hurt by this. Essentially, it is an artificially inflated bubble, benefiting only those who own stock. The health of the company itself and its possibilities for further organic growth are of no consideration.
HP and IBM are telling examples of corporate dinosaurs who have lost their way.
How you treat people does matter. In high performing firms the work force is vested in the success of the business. They are prepared to put in the extra effort and extra hours needed to help the business — and they are compensated for the results. They produce value for the business. When you treat and pay people poorly you lose their ambition and desire to excel, you lose the performance of your work force. It can now be argued many workers in IT services are no longer providing any value to the business. This is not because they are bad workers. It is because they are being treated poorly. Firms like IBM and HP are treating both their customers and employees poorly. Their management decisions have consequences and are destroying their businesses.
It’s not just IBM that has crappy customer service.Ever try getting a human to answer a serious Google problem?
What if IBM — or any other U.S. IT services company for that matter — actually offered the kind of customer service they pretend they do? What if they solved customer problems instantly? What if they anticipated customer problems and solved them before those problems even appeared? You think that can’t be done? It can be done. And the company that can do it will be able to charge whatever they like and customers will gladly pay it.
True mastery, that’s what we’ve lost. No, we haven’t lost it: we threw it away.