Mailvox: Business is war

G fancies himself an armchair general:

Business “is” war young fellow, and not because Sun said so; it has always been that way. The law of business that is never taught in business school is “eliminate the competition.” The ideal of “mutually benefiting agreements” is window dressing for the dull mass; you are smarter than that.

This is absurd, given that the vast majority of a company’s interactions are with its customers, not its competition. Business, (or trade, exchange, call it what you will), exists regardless of whether there is competition or not, and especially at the most crucial point in a company’s life, the beginning, there usually isn’t any significant competition.

Even when competition exists early in the cycle, the market is usually expanding faster than one single company can grow anyhow. EBay, Amazon and Google are moving into competition with each other now, but coexisted quite amicably in their separate market niches until they had grown into the giants they are today and needed to expand their markets in order to continue their revenue growth.

Competition is the hallmark of a mature industry, which is the least important aspect of the business cycle. Sun Tzu has literally nothing to say about the postive and entrepeneurial elements of business; the fact that this is where the venture capitalists and investors concentrate their best minds and greatest assortment of talent lends support to my position.

You guys blow

The Sports Guy gets much better email from his readers than I do:

Q: I fully expect that after Clemens wins his 333rd game, in his press conference, he will take off his cap and will pull back his hair – revealing an identical 333 burned into his scalp; thus fulfilling the prophecy. This will immediately be followed by all the reporters in the room melting away, with their bones exploding like in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
–William S., New York

SG: The best part about this would be Wilbon and Kornheiser discussing the incident on PTI the following day.

Kornheiser: “All right, Wilbon, some sad news last night, we found out that Roger Clemens was indeed the anti-Christ, as nearly 50 reporters – including some of the best this business had to offer – were melted to death after the prophecy was fulfilled. Wilbon, you were there, but you were able to get out of the room in time … how does this affect Roger Clemens’ legacy?

Wilbon: “Oh, it absolutely affects his legacy! There’s no question! Tony, he killed 50 media members! He melted them to death!”

Kornheiser: “But he’s still the greatest pitcher of the last 50 years!”

Wilbon: “Tony, he’s the anti-Christ!”

Kornheiser: “I don’t see how that affects his Hall of Fame resume – 333 wins, over 4,500 strikeouts, 7 Cy Youngs … “

Wilbon: “Tony, he’s a mass murderer! Pete Rose isn’t in the Hall of Fame for gambling on baseball, this guy melted 50 people! He almost killed me!”

Kornheiser: “Well, that shouldn’t affect what he accomplished on the field. Ty Cobb wasn’t a nice guy either. [We hear a bell in the background.] Moving to the NBA Finals … “

All right, well, I couldn’t have run with that one anyhow.

On fathers

To have a father, even to have known a father, is to be dwarfed. No matter what we achieve, we can never scale the unthinkable heights of the giant of our childhood vision. God makes Man in His image, but we see Him through the filter of our fathers, the man that is creator, provider and protector all in one from the first moment of our memory.

It is strange, but I always feel most secure when I know that my father is nearby. It doesn’t matter that I may be stronger, faster and more dangerous now, I always sleep better in the knowledge that no matter what may come, the same man who taught me that there was nothing to fear from thunder and the dark will be there to tell me that it’s all right, there’s no reason to be afraid, everything is under control. Even when it isn’t true, even when it can’t possibly be true, I still believe it.

The need for fathers is most apparent in the eyes of those who have never known one. Such unfortunates seem to lack something in their foundation, that innocent capacity for faith. It is a terrible sadness to have never known the surety of safety in mighty arms that shield far better than any armor.

Fathers cast great shadows; it is daunting to step out from them and for the first time clearly see the man behind the role. It is both a disappointment and a relief, but it is necessary. And if we cannot hope to match the giants of our youth, we can still walk in their footsteps.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.