All Business is Personal

The GodfatherThe Godfather is the I-Ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom.” — Joe Fox (Tom Hanks’ character in You’ve Got Mail).

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the phrase “nothing personal — just business” has entered the business lexicon over the years since 1972 when the movie adaptation of Mario Puzo’s 1962 novel The Godfather. Funny thing is, the movie gives you the wrong impression. I’ve read the novel, and Mario Puzo explains that the phrase is not a sentiment with which Don Corleone would agree. In fact in the novel, only Don Vito Corleone (and later, Don Michael Corleone) seem to properly understand the intersection between what is business and what is personal. The movie places the quote on Michael’s lips, but only if you’d read the book would you understand Micheal’s words to be merely intended to placate his brother Sonny and Tom Hagen, who are separating the two in the discussion about their response to the attempted murder of their father. If you only saw the movie, you’d think this was the philosophy espoused by the Don. It isn’t.

Apple is Bigger than Jesus… or the Beatles.

It’s being noticed that Apple’s (AAPL) market cap has shot up to the stratosphere, and suggested by some that it’s Only A Matter Of Time Until Apple’s Market Cap Is Bigger Than Microsoft I say don’t hold your breath for it to get — or stay — there. Paul Kedrosky wrote yesterday about Apple, Wal-mart, and the “Market Capitalization Bigger Than” Thing, concluding “When we press our noses against the market glass and ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ at a company’s market capitalization exceeding something it shouldn’t … let’s just say bad things tend to happen. Eventually.”

I agree — just take a look at the context he gives it. Do you really think that Apple is worth over $200 Billion today?

Cronies of a Feather

I’m thinking today about the benefits of having cronies. by_a_beer Not in the pejorative sense of the word “cronyism” but in the simple business-oriented sense of the term. Looking back over my career, I can spot a number of invaluable contributions from various friends and business acquaintances shared over a beer.

The value one can get from discussing business problems and ideas in an informal context with a few trusted colleagues can’t be overstated. This doesn’t have to be a meet-with-your-guru kind of thing, though sometimes it is done with a coach or consultant. But if you have or can find a few business owners or professionals like yourself to meet as peers and toss around ideas or pick away at challenging problems, it can be enough to keep you in the game when you seem to his a wall — and it can do the same for them as well.

coup d'oeil (part three)

In part one and part two of this blog-intro series, I talked about the notion of business decisions at a glance based on an almost intuitive understanding of the field of play. The phrase coup d’oeil is taken from the military, and refers to the ability of the rare commander who posesses an exceptionally quick understanding of the field of battle and can make strategic decisions quickly. This ability is based largely on experience and analysis at a subconscious level. From this background, the final installment in this trilogy announces what I hope to achieve on this blog.