Thursday, September 1, 2011

Red Sky at Morning

My cousin is the analytical, level-headed one. I have the reputation of being an impulsive hot head. Neither is strictly true; but enough so that when he interrupted our extended vacation with words like "Armageddon" and 'annihilation" it would have been absurd not to take notice. This is the same man who described the Dotcom Crash of 2000 - 2001 as "an adjustment in the technology sector toward equilibrium". Once he laid out the current story - and I controlled my temper - it was clear that once again, he had exercised his penchant for understatement.

I'm chafing to be back home at the helm - where I belong. I had started backing away, allowing our children the space to run the family business. I suppose I shouldn't call them children now. The youngest is thirty-two and the oldest is almost fifty. They're the greatest rewards of our fifty plus years of marriage. This vacation was intended to give them six months without me. They've barely had three. They are doing a hell of a job and my cousin is a stellar advisor, but I won't allow them to face this alone. This crisis needs both of us - all of us.

Before I head home, I need to spend time here, covertly alerting the European branch of the family, as well as long-time clients and partners who live or are vacationing on the Continent. Doing so delays my departure, but gives my cousin time to rid his firm of infiltrators and prepare the board for what's coming. It also gives me time for long-term strategic planning. The financial sector of our economy is running amuck and they must be stopped. The best of us don't need rules and regulations. We understand the principle of sowing and reaping. The worst of us care only to reap - leaving barren, distressed land behind as they move on to the next fertile plot. Soon, the availability of 'next fertile plots' will diminish. Greed, in the end, fails even the greedy.

It is to control the behavior of these latter day gluttons that we need rules. Imposition of those rules is going to be a nasty, prolonged conflict in both the private and public sectors of our nation. Those of us on our board have to be involved in the discourse of reshaping the business environment. Not by choice, but because the size of our holdings demands it. Participate or lose - those are the choices. The waters ahead are uncharted and fraught with disturbances the likes of which we have not yet seen. Good thing we've got Sparks to help us navigate. I understand it's a killer app. It had better be. We're going to need it.

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