Learn from the street vendor. My mother has been buying vegetables from a particular street vendor for two decades now. Think about it—irrespective of floods, strikes and holidays she comes around selling her vegetables. Every morning, she borrows money at an interest rate of 10 percent a day, pays Rs 50 for her cart rental and Rs 15 for kerosene. In the evening, she has to determine the pricing strategy for vegetables that remain, as she has no refrigeration at home. After all these expenses, she has enough to feed herself and her family. And she does all of this without an MBA. Has one ever been cheated by a street vendor? Has one ever heard about a street vendor going out of business?
On the other hand, we are aware of what happened with Lehman Brothers or now with Kingfisher Airlines or with so many of the software companies in the ‘90s. The street vendors know how to balance social and financial sustainability. We need to learn from them.
Value, not Valuation
a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away – before the last dot com crash - I was working for a corporate that was looking for a strategic investor. They had got in business consultants – A list types – to help ‘restructure’ the business and get the ‘moolah‘ in.
Boxes were drawn, as were arrows. Little coloured rectangles used to appear on PPT’s, one after the other like little steps. Each had a fancy slogan written on it- Expand. Contract. Merge. Scatter .. process diagrams were manufactured. It all looked like the cross section of the USS Enterprise, superimposed on a GANTT chart. The company expanded. Hired lots of people. Did all those things that create ‘shareholder value’. And then the market crashed. And a lot of good people lost their jobs. I told most in my team (of 150) to leave. and then I left. The company before the valuation game was profitable. The company that played the game was left as a shell..
there are of course issues of scalability and economies when it comes to the vegetable vendor. But, nothing wrong with the values.
The other thing I read was this - on the bankers who kept quiet when Maddox was pulling his Ponzi. the other side.