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Home > Blog > The Forum: Long-Term, Anyone?
Out of Our Minds
Sunday, May 23, 2004 11:18 PM
The Forum: Long-Term, Anyone?
Kevin Salwen on Business

There's an old expression in baseball about how fickle fans can be: 'What did you do for me your last at-bat?' Forget the history, bag the potential, it's all about now. Short-term perspective is one of the most insidious forces in sports today -- and indeed in business. In Major League Baseball, to stick with the theme for a moment, the decision to put all World Series games at night (making sure no kids can watch the game and destroying the next generation of fans) are driven by today's dollars. Ditto dropping Viagra ads behind the batter or plopping Spiderman on the bases. Another marketing opportunity, another annoyed customer.

In other businesses, the game is played much the same: Want to save a few dollars? Cut your call center staffing and pop on a message that lies to customers that there will be waits 'due to unexpectedly high call volume.' In the mobile-phone business, new customers often get better deals than existing subscribers; how does feeling like an idiot for sticking with a provider breed long-term loyalty? You get the picture and I'll bet you've got your own examples.

It's easy to get the feeling that companies simply can't think past tomorrow.


2 comments

K! - 5/24/2004 8:04:53 PM
Kevin, nice rant.
Kombinat! loves the noise you are making. Noise which will make no differrence. There will simply be another post, and another and another and tomorrow your post will not be even remembered.

So, what are we going to do about it? Can we all dress in black and go to our offices and pass small paper handerkchiefs so our coworkers may cry with us? Go to the streets? General Strike? Wear Orange jumpsuits to show that we are inmates in the assylum?

This message will self destruct in 3 seconds and any replies to it will be irrelevant.
Michael - 5/24/2004 12:34:37 PM
At the company I work for (Fortune 500 office supply company), that's certainly true. The message from the top is constantly: WE NEED SALES. Do whatever it takes. By any means necessary.

Anything 'future-oriented' or that does not have an *immediate* financial return is derided as costly, useless, and a waste of time. We actually get sales updates *every day* in our inboxes as a daily 'scoreboard update' should we need a reminder as to where our focus needs to be.

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