business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday’s story in which we talked about the advantage enjoyed by companies in which employees are owners, giving them skin in the game, MNB reader John Baragar wrote:

My brother-in-law owns an Engineering firm in Atlanta.  He is a nice guy and from what I could tell, had a good relationship with his employees.  About 15 years ago, he told me he was going to give half the company to his employees.  I asked what they had to do for it.  He said  “Nothing.  I am just hoping to get us to see the bigger picture and be more proactive rather than just put in work.   I want them to be connected to the company not just see it as a job”.

He gave 49 % of the company to his employees and they received 49 % of the profit each year.   I thought he was nuts.  He spent 15 years building the company from a single employee to over a hundred and he was going to give half of it away for free.

I saw him the next year at Thanksgiving and asked how it was going.   “A little better than I expected.  With my 51 %, I’ll make more this year than I ever made with my 100 % so it didn’t really cost anything but people have a real connection to the company now and the difference around the office has been really something to see.”

On another subject, from an MNB reader:

The piece on July 23, 2018 about a “window” of opportunity for Wal-Mart was very timely.  Why?  I am an Amazon Prime member, have been since it started.  I was on Amazon today and was buying a Whole Foods 365 item.  During my checkout,  in order for me to get the 365 item, I HAD to be a member of Amazon Prime Pantry.  What!!!  I pay you $119 a year and now you are telling me I need to pay an ADDITIONAL FEE for Prime Pantry to purchase certain items??  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!!!

I went to the Wal-Mart sight and bought a “like item”.  Was not a 365 item but who cares!  The 365 items ain’t gold!  The item was a “commodity” anyway.  When a company get’s “greedy” is a good time for competition.


Regarding the Amazon-Walmart battle, I wrote yesterday:

Ultimately, I think there is room for both Walmart and Amazon. But I also think that there is a lot of truth in the phrase, “Walmart won’t risk its business on this.” Risk is part of the game … that’s something that Amazon and Jeff Bezos understand in their DNA (perhaps because Bezos knows who said it).

Which, inevitably, prompted one well-informed MNB reader to write:

Jeff Bezos certainly does know, said Captain Kirk!  I'll say it again, until Walmart can get an item to my door on Sunday that I ordered on Friday, then I'll listen to any argument about how well they are doing to compete with Amazon - boom!

Chiming in one the debate about whether price creates loyalty, one MNB reader wrote:

Price is an effective motivator. When offered price incentives on products the consumer normally purchases they will purchase even more. When consumers purchase more of a product it takes them out of the market for several purchase cycles and less likely to shop elsewhere. One would think this would be obvious. It is an expense well worth the investment and one the customer will appreciate.

I agree that price can be an effective motivator. I just think that in most cases, it cannot and should not be the only motivator.

I wrote yesterday that “Francesco Molinari became the first Italian ever to win the British Open on Sunday, besting Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.”

But one MNB reader corrected me:

He is the first Italian to win ANY major (Masters, U.S. Open, PGA). Bravissimo!

KC's View: