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  • Jim Costa

From Jeff - Comments - On The Fly...

While I agree with the meat of your "On-The-Fly" post I do have issues with #1 and some side topics.

1.  Lawyers on the regular payroll of sufficiently large businesses ARE GENERALLY RESPONSIBLE in part for keeping their businesses out of trouble.  All large businesses typically pass plans, contracts, and etc over the lawyer's desk for review before large business actions. Lawyers make money ALL THE TIME.  They generally get paid coming AND going.

3.  "...Accounts Payable department changed its mission from A/P to ATM machine..."  This is the danger of AI - humans allowed computers to replace worker bees with ATM machines.  AI is here and taking over.  If AI in finance doesn't steal customer funds directly it can be a tool of humans to do the theft for them.  When caught on a large scale expect a big fire, EMP, or war to destroy electronic AI records while the puppetmasters on the top floor parachute away with the loot.  Some will say AI is nothing to be afraid of, it's just software code..

The advice for the immediate future is good - just be ready for collapse and survival on your own for a bit while things get sorted out.  Could be a while or not.  The collapse of the Soviet Union was not discussed in public - a group of politicians and oligarchs arranged it in secret. Russia suffered dearly for years but bounced right back and will now rule the east while China and the US Reset their K-Mafia into obscurity.  I expect something similar here with the invisible tippy top of the pyramid unchanged (Antarctica? Saturn? Aldebaran?...).

Jim's Response - Thanks for the great input Jeff.

The best business advice I ever got was from Robert Townsend in his book Up The Organization. He’s the one I plagiarized with “If your think your business is running perfectly you haven’t looked at it lately.”

He described a county on the Cliffs of Dover who still paid a salary to an employee to ring a bell warning the citizens that Napoleon is invading England there. That position was abolished in the 1960s. That is mission creep. The poor guy lost his paycheck but was happy to announce no invasion yet.

When your company retains an attorney, he is waiting for the phone to ring. When a manager puts a problem to bed he assumes it stays there. People leave, get promoted and new ones come in and forget the lessons already learned by predecessors. Instead of one A/P person, you now have three with one in Scranton. The founder that knew it all retires. Software now covers that problem. Growth is great so let’s plan for a great Xmas party this year, perhaps in the Bahamas.

No one in the company realizes the machines aren't getting annual maintenance per their warranty agreement. Your attorney got the hots and now has four kids, requiring twice the client load since you hired him.

Remembering he knows law, not all business, and you have to search for his phone number, just what did you expect from him? Perhaps you should have placed an experienced business person on your Board of Directors.

Or perhaps you should have taken Townsend’s advice and hired a non-Horney attorney to start with to hold things together. I can just imagine that interview! Perhaps instead of a retainer you should have offered a vasectomy. So really, all the problems are your fault.

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