Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I was reading Management Matters at work today, and came across a paragraph by Kevin Vincent, CEO, in his editorial at the front of the mag.

He said, "Ruth Le Pla is quoted in in the magazine, "NZ Business" as saying:

What do HP, Sports Illustrated, Burger King Corp and the Wikipedia Foundation have in common?

Vincent apparently continues to quote her by saying: They all started off in times of depression surviving the 1929/30 period, the tail end of the 53/54 hard times and the more recent post 9/11 difficulty. Many other very successful companies can alos be added to that list including Hyatt Groupa and Fed Ex."

This would give the impression that all these companies have been around since the late 1920s, and anyone would his head screwed on would realise this is nonsense: Wikipedia sticks out like a sore thumb from the list for a start.

The reality is that Hewlett Packard began in 1935, Sports Illustrated as we know it now didn't turn up till 1954 and neither did Burger King; and of course, Wikipedia began in 2001. Fed Ex dates from 1998; the Hyatt Group (Corporation) from 1957.

When you go back to Le Pla's original article, you find she says the following:

They all started off in times of recession [not depression]. Collectively they span the Great Depression which kicked off with the Black Tuesday Wall Street crash of October 1929, the tail end of the hard times in 1953-54, and the more recent post-9/11 recession in the US.

We could add to that list companies as diverse as giant international hotel chain Hyatt Corp, research hub LexisNexis, FedEx Corp and MTV Networks.

Slightly different. Still not as clear as it might be - the 'collectively they span' is a bit difficult to get in focus - but obviously not quite what Vincent is saying, and certainly not what he 'quotes.'

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