Generals Say Troops Understand Need for Pay Cuts

As ex-military, I have mixed feelings about this…   Yes, the Armed Forces are all about the mission and defending the constitution of the United States of America.  But you still have to pay the bills and feed the family.  You decide…

Allegiance for Hire

10ahn-master675Hyun-soo Ahn was one of South Korea’s most decorated short-track speed skaters (5 World Championships and 3 golds at 2006 Olympics), so why did he change his name to Viktor Ahn and is now skating for Russia?

What NY Times failed to understand…  Sports federations in South Korea are like mini-mobs (maybe even worse).  There have been allegations of abuse of power, misappropriation of funds, physical mistreatment of athletes, etc.  I heard rumors that Ahn wasn’t supposed to win his 3rd gold at ’06 Olympics, rather it was supposed to go to one of his teammates so that he too could be exempt from mandatory military service (with mandatory military conscription, you are exempt if you win an Olympic gold).  Instead, Ahn competed like any athlete should, whether Pop Warner or world-class…  For that South Korean Skating Federation full of bureaucrats and fat cats, made Ahn’s life hell and disowned him when he was seriously injured ’08 and missed 2010 winter games.  Now Viktor Ahn is winning medals for Russia at Sochi and could become one of the most decorated short-track speed skaters of all time.  Talk about karma…  Good for Viktor (and 61% of South Koreans surveyed agree)…

Customer Service and Manners

CaptureGreetings from SFO Red Carpet Club.  There were days, pre-marriage and definitely pre-kids, when I enjoyed flying, whether for work or for leisure…   And the Star Alliance network, led by United Airline (now United Continental Holdings) provided the widest reach.  Fast forward a few years (after a couple of 200K+ annual air mile years and joining million miler club) and marriage and kids, I now fly only when needed and necessary.  So when I logged on almost 50K miles in the last 60 days (no I am not trying to reach 2MM miler club), it was like learning a new trick all over again.  Here’s what I’ve learned…

  • Automatic Premier Gold status for million-miler does not get you whole lot, except for premier check-in line.  No wonder while back, a United million-miler sued the airline for breach of contract (before the merger, million lifetime miles got you premier executive, not premier gold status).  I feel like I’m treated better by Star Alliance member airlines when I am traveling abroad that United, which I have most loyalty to.
  • US flight attendants really do need a lesson in customer service.  Just because you start the sentence with either sir or ma’am that does not excuse rest of the sentence / paragraph that comes out of your mouth.  Specifically, a couple of flight attendants in my recent flight from ORD to SFO were behaving like two frat boys at division II schools.  It was embarrassing…
  • My recent flights on KAL, Singapore and Asiana served to only affirm my view.  Of particular note, I caught an Asiana flight attendant cleaning the lavatories during downtime so that the customers can have more pleasant flying experience.  25+ years of flying domestic airlines, I’ve never seen any domestic flight attendant do the same.

I can certainly empathize with tight margins and cut-throat environment that depicts the airline industry (I was an early guy at Orbitz so I do have some insight).  But it just seems like many US flight attendants, especially those with senority, have given up and are just going through the motions and are waiting for retirement (with apologies to those flight attendants who care and bust their butts to do their job right)…  Much like networking, customer service is just good humanity.  It has to be something you want to do and take pride in.  So what’s my solution?  Depressed million miler benefit combined with poor customer service, I don’t have much choice except to fly Star Alliance network airlines instead of United on international flights.  Then again I do have 500K miles on American…  Perhaps time to try a different domestic airline?

Death of Fox & Obel

photo (63)I’ve written many “Death of” articles – death of Blackberry, death of the penny, death of the Encyclopedia Britannica. But this one really hurts…

Before Mariano’s Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Trader Joe’s (I’m still mad at them for not giving me an opportunity to interview after I submitted an application at a different point in my life out West, but that’s a story for another time), there was Fox & Obel, the Chicago-based, River East mainstay for over a decade. With rumored celebrity investors like Scottie Pippen, 5 dollar per ounce olive oil, truffle tasting stations, in-house wet and dry aged meats (initially the only grocer that carried Tall Grass Beef from Red Buffalo Ranch, owned by Bill Curtis), top-notch wine and apéritif lists, hard-to-find regional and international accoutrements, and a Zagat-rated cafe attached, people had flocked to what is arguably the first high-end grocery store in Chicagoland. And this was despite its sky-high prices (trust me, much worse than Whole Paycheck, I meant Whole Foods).

Manning the bakery was Phyllis, a lovely woman and native of South Africa who never hesitated to scold rude customers, who took it. There was Martha, the ever-smiling assistant manager greeting patrons as they walked in and out. And Juanita, café manager and a single mother (her son’s a star athlete at a local Catholic school). Juanita knew exactly how you liked your coffee. Fox & Obel managed the unlikely balance of Chicago Gold Coast uppity-up-ness with a neighborhood feel. My business partner (of Spend Matters fame) Jason Busch Ioved the bakery so much that its muffins, pastries and bread made it into our formal LLC operating agreement for our Spend Matters advisory business (i.e., written into the agreement was that one partner had to “stop at the Fox and Obel” bakery before business meetings – I kid you not, and yes we did honor the agreement!) Unfortunately, it’s now time to amend it.

For a while we’d heard rumors of additional investors, new stores in the downtown area, North American expansion. Then bam: the bottom fell out.

My wife Jenna and I walked around the closing sales event with heavy hearts. To Jenna and me, this was not just a grocery store – Tsige cooked for us, Sue babysat our kids, and on Friday afternoons I used to bring my RJSL and Spend Matters colleagues treats from the Fox & Obel bakery. So what happened? I can certainly make a few hypotheses.

  • Decreasing passion and sense of mission – After initial success, the original founders cashed out to private equity investors. And I could sense a gradual decline in quality over the past few years. Does that mean every buyout spells doom for those acquired? No, but it does mean that if cash flow buyers (as opposed to strategic acquirers) focus too much on the short-term bottom line, it will erode the X-factor that made the establishment special.
  • Hiccups in execution – It could be as minor as less crust on what used to be their signature almond croissant (Jenna noticed it after a new pastry chef came on board; the long-time head quit when his paycheck bounced), as major as multiple health code violations (fruit flies in food preparation stations is what I’ve heard), and everything in between, such as failure to pay electricity bills on time.
  • Poor inventory – Along with declining quality, I noticed that shelves were becoming emptier. No longer was Fox & Obel the go-to place for hard-to-find items, and even its staple trappings were sometimes missing, a cardinal sin for a grocery store. I am not a grocery industry expert by any stretch of the imagination, but even I could see tension between Fox & Obel and its suppliers.
  • Erosion of the foundation – No disrespect to technology and process (many economists claim these are the only two factors that could push the famed EFPC – efficient frontier production curve – outward), but people make up every business’s foundation, regardless of the segment. Again, towards the end, I heard grumblings from Fox & Obel’s employees. Perhaps they trusted me since I was a regular, but nonetheless, I never heard any complaints over the first few years.

I could go on and on, but it won’t bring Fox & Obel back. Furthermore, I think these causes of their failure are a good lesson for just about any business. And in case you were wondering what Jenna and I bought at the final closing sale, we stocked up on Fox & Obel water glasses and Mexican Coca Cola, made with real sugar. Coincidently, the sourcing of Mexican coke is a great personal procurement lesson – which involves having to pay significantly more for a far superior product (which also requires seeking out) albeit with the same corporate brand.

I promise to tackle more cheerful topics for the rest of 2014. Happy New Year, everyone.

We’ll also let you know what new Chicago bakery (La Fournette is highest on our current list) that Jason and I decided to amend and include in our operating agreement so that the entire Spend Matters and MetalMiner office continue to remain well-fed and sugared-up.

Are SMBs and Private Firms Better Economic Drivers than Publicly Traded Companies?

Recently, business author and contributor Stephen Denning  took up a topic that we found compelling — arguing from new research that suggests that privately held firms engage in greater investment than publicly-traded firms.  The short version of the argument goes that public firms invest less of their profits in new capacity or ventures to grow the company itself than do private firms.  There are a number of explicit and implied explanations of this apparent phenomenon, including claims that public firms are essentially engaged in “maximizing shareholder value” in a way that tends to be short-term in nature.

New boilers at the Yale power plant

New boilers at the Yale power plant (Photo credit: altopower)

One might paraphrase and say that public companies play to the market to maximize value via their stock price rather than long-term company value.  This case has often been made in more simplistic terms, but there is some intuitive appeal to the argument.  For years lip service has been  paid to the contributions and values of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to our economy, but the research might finally be validating what many people hold in their gut — the feeling that small business contribute far more to the economy than they are given credit for, and conversely that publicly-traded companies might be getting credit for doing good for the economy when they’re really just doing good for themselves.

We might not agree with some of Denning’s praise of certain companies he deems to be creative contributors, but the observations and conclusions are certainly worth considering.  What do you think???

-SMB Matters Blog Team


How The ‘World’s Dumbest Idea’ Killed The US Economic Recovery

Readers of this column know that short-term shareholder value, which is still pervasive in large organizations, has a lot of accomplishments to its credit. It has led to “bad profits” that have destroyed customer loyalty. It is responsible for massive offshoring of manufacturing, thereby destroying major segments of the US economy. And it has even undermined US capacity to compete in international markets.

Now the Financial Times reports that the short-term shareholder value theory has a new feather in its cap: it is responsible for killing the economic recovery that should have occurred after the financial meltdown of 2008.

Over the last month, the Financial Times has been doing a great job in cataloguing the problems caused by the shareholder value theory. Now Robin Harding has terrific article pinpointing its role in undermining the US economic recovery.

In his article entitled “Corporate investment: A mysterious divergence” he explores a conundrum that has puzzled the world’s top economists: why is net investment at a measly 4 per cent of output when pre-tax corporate profits are now at record highs – more than 12 per cent of GDP?

English: Construction Photograph of the Aqua T...

Construction Photograph of the Aqua Tower, designed by Studio Gang Architects in Chicago, IL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In standard economic theory, this makes no sense. When profits go up, companies should be seizing investment opportunities to lay the groundwork for even more profits in future. In turn, that investment should create jobs, generate more capital goods and lead to higher wages. That’s how capitalism is meant to work. So why isn’t it happening? Mr. Harding explores systematically why all the leading scapegoats for what’s gone wrong—regulations, Obamacare, tax policy, fear of another financial crisis and so on—and shows why they don’t add up.

Then he comes up with the kind of thing that you rarely see in economics—a study that enables us to pinpoint the problem by offering “with” and “without” data.

A brilliant study by economists from the Stern School of Business and Harvard Business School, Alexander Ljungqvist, Joan Farre-Mensa, and John Asker, entitled “Corporate Investment and Stock Market Listing: A Puzzle?”compares the investment patterns of public companies and privately held firms. It turns out that the lag in investment is a phenomenon of the public companies more than the privately held firms.

“They find that, keeping company size and industry constant, private US companies invest nearly twice as much as those listed on the stock market: 6.8 per cent of total assets versus just 3.7 per cent.”

As Matthew Yglesias at Slate writes:

“On this account we are reaping the bitter fruits of the “shareholder value” revolution. Executives at publicly traded companies are paid to generate higher share prices, which is done by hitting quarterly earnings targets. This leads to underinvestment relative to the behavior of managers of privately held firms. Not because managers of private firms are indifferent to the interests of shareholders, but because there’s less need for creating the shareholder value link via a simplistic relationship between compensation, share price, and quarterly earnings.”

As Mr. Harding concludes, it is “time to stop thinking about corporate governance and executive pay as matters of equity and to regard them instead as a macroeconomic problem of the first rank.”

There is another way: the Creative Economy

There is of course another way to run organizations, as illustrated by Amazon [AMZN] and other companies that are pursuing the Creative Economy. Their objective is not short-term profits but value for customers. The financial returns from this different approach are extraordinary.

The argument offered by executives that “the stock market made us do it” has the same legitimacy as “the dog ate my homework”, when public companies like Amazon [AMZN], Whole Foods [WFM] and Costco [COST] have successfully pursued customer value, despite the pressures of Wall Street. So isn’t it about time we stop compensating corporate leaders for meeting their quarterly numbers and instead shift the focus of business to its true goal of adding value to customers?

And read also:

The origin of the world’s dumbest idea

How modern economics is built on the world’s dumbest idea

When will the world’s dumbest idea die?

Leadership in the Creative Economy

The five surprises of radical management


by Stephen Denning


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Frustrating encounter with the USPS


Many of you don’t know me personally. While I write about buying islands and linen pants, I’m really a numbers guy.  I tend to lead and manage by the book (and as my partners claim, I keep them and the rest of the team in line). When I encounter a lack of process and transparency, my head spins. Such is the case with a recent order from Amazon that the United States Postal Service (USPS) managed to butcher.

Here’s my tale, with apologies in advance to hard working carriers out there, after placing an order with Amazon “delivered” by the USPS. The story starts with an online tracking effort via Amazon that shows USPS attempted to deliver the package on 11/16 and 11/17th and could not. Of course this is impossible since we have 24 hour doorman and receiving room in our apartment in downtown Chicago. Then USPS says they delivered it on the 19th but there is no sign of the package. With this information, I decide to stop by the main post office on Dearborn (downtown Chicago) on the 20th (Tuesday of Thanksgiving week) and ask to see the supervisor after the front desk clerks prove useless.  The USPS team then gives me an inside look. They send me to the loading dock in the back.  After talking to 2 or 3 mail carriers, finally I get hold of the supervisor (Mr. A) who says that he’s about to leave so come back tomorrow morning at 8AM.  I show up at the loading dock at 8AM on the 21st (day before Thanksgiving) only to find out that Mr. A did not show up for work – another carrier tells me to come back after Thanksgiving. I show up at the loading dock 8AM on the 26th (Monday after Thanksgiving) and another carrier tells me – I can’t make this up even if I wanted to — that Mr. A has retired.  By now, I’m livid based on the time wasted. I ask to see Mr. A’s replacement and a carrier sends me upstairs distribution area to see a supervisor named Mr. B. It is there that I learn that apparently I’m not supposed to upstairs under any circumstances due to Home Land Security concerns. Hence my walking through the distribution center unescorted (without a badge) ruffles some feathers. Regardless, Mr. B hears my story (he was actually trying to be helpful – even gave me his personal cell number) and tracks down a carrier named Mr. C who swears up and down that he has delivered the package to my building. Mr. B asks me to wait a week until they sort it out internally.  Well, I wait a week. And there’s still no package and my calls to USPS are not returned. By now, I am done with showing up at the dock at 8AM routine too. Enough.

I contact Amazon’s customer service this morning – an interesting process by the way because there is no 800 number given on the site, only after you plug in the order number and answer a bunch of questions, the site asks you to plug in your number and press either call me now or call me in 5 min button.  I press the “call me now” button and some lady from an Indian call center rings me exactly a second or two later.  I explain the story to her. She checks my accounts and sees that we have ordered an absolutely ton of stuff from Amazon the last 10 years (and have never had issues) and promptly offers next day delivery on replacement goods.  One call from Bangalore (Amazon): problem solved. Countless run-ins and phone calls with USPS: nothing. When interacting with USPS employees on US soil, I felt like I was talking to a wall.  Amazon on the other hand, leveraged technology and friendly, a low-cost Indian customer service center and solved the problem in 5 minutes, thus keeping me as a loyal customer at the end of the day.

Is it time to retire the USPS or can anyone fix this great institution of ours?


America’s Latest Export: The Shadow Banking System

The Unknown Risks of China’s Trusts, published by Also Sprach Analyst

China Insurance Building (中国保险大厦), Shanghai
China Insurance Building (中国保险大厦), Shanghai (Photo credit: thewamphyri)

 Over the past many months, we have been talking (on and off) about the growing size and risks of the shadow banking in China. The market started to become aware of the risks of the unknown shadow banking system last year when some companies’ bosses started running away from the creditors, particularly in Wenzhou. While the focus has been shifted away from all these underground lending, the problem is not going away.

The so-called “trust” in China is yet another component in the Chinese shadow banking system. The size of the trust industry in terms of assets has reached RMB5 trillion and counting. In the past few years, one of the major sources of funding for trusts has been banks’ depositors. These trusts products offered higher returns than bank deposits (e.g. 10%), thus they appeared to be very attractive, especially when bank deposits have been hugely negative in real term thanks to high inflation, making these trust products a popular destination for bank depositors who want better returns than bank deposits (this has allegedly been one of the causes of the deposit flights, but we would leave the problem for now). Trust companies then take the money raised from banks and invest in stuff that they think can offer high return. The problem is where to invest to generate high return. In a certain sense, this is not very far off from securitisation.

As many real estate companies last year were pushed into desperate situations when the government tightened monetary and credit policy, the real estate industry turned out to be a popular destination for trust companies’ investment as demand for funding from real estate companies meant that these companies were willing to accept high costs of funding. According to this report, real estate accounts for 14.83% of total trust industry’s investment. Both equity and debt investments are common. Of course, these investments can only be fine as long as the real estate market is growing with prices and sales going up, which is not happening.

Moneyweek (via Sina) has a story on one of the major trust companies: China Credit Trust, a trust company with some RMB200 billion of assets. Earlier, this trust company has already been questioned on the investments in real estate sector. As early as 2010, this trust company has invested in a real estate company which ended up being unable to repay the debt. But the real estate market is not the only source of risks for trusts, of course. As in other trust companies, banks helped to distribute the products, thus depositors would invest in the trust products. In the case of this particular trust product by China Credit Trust, it took money from banks’ depositors with interest rates at 9.5-11%. ICBC is the custodian bank.

One of the products raised a total of roughly RMB3 billion, and the money raised is then invested in the equity capital of an energy company in Shanxi, which is a family business. The investment will reach maturity on 31 Jan 2014. However, despite the fact that this was an energy company which produces coal, it turns out that the company was then involved in shadow banking lending itself. In this case, they appeared to have become a loan shark themselves. But they are themselves deeply indebted, and perhaps they have borrowed quite a lot of money from the shadow banking channel as well. Thus in last year, creditors came to demand repayment. Now the bosses of the companies are said to be “under control” by the police, while the debt outstanding amount to RMB5 billion. The company in question might well be insolvent. In any case, this investment is gone.

For those depositors who have bought into this sort of products, the risks are obvious. As the economy slows, the probability that those money cannot be repaid would increase, not to mention that investors in these products have no idea if the one who got funding from their investments are of good credit, or whether these companies are performing fraudulent practices, etc. As far as we understand, banks do not offer guarantee to depositors for these products (although those who bought into these schemes seem to have been led to believe that there is guarantee), thus it will be interesting to see what will happen if more and more problems emerge from the trust sector of the shadow banking system.

And importantly, banks themselves are partnering with trusts to provide lending to companies without being reported in their books as lending. Few months ago the 21st Century Business Herald reported that banks have been using the partnership with trust companies to provide lending to companies. On banks’ books, as a result, they are not described as loans, but probably as equity interest in trusts. As a result of such trickery, these loans are not subject to the same regulation and scrutiny as other loans. The report put the size of such scheme at RMB100 billion, and that’s the figure for the year of 2012 till March.

With the slowing economy being worse than most have expected, and given how China banks decide who to lend to, it should come as no surprise that quite a portion of the outstanding debts through this channel will go bad, while the equity investments through this channel will be wiped off. The size of the industry in terms of assets is roughly at 10% of China’s annual GDP in 2011. Incidentally, the size of subprime mortgage market was estimated at US$1.3 trillion on March 2007, which is, incidentally, more or less at 10% of US annual GDP in 2006. That is not to say that this is subprime for China. Rather, the point is that even though “10% of GDP” does not look large, that could present significant systemic risks thanks to the interconnectedness within the financial system that we may not fully understand yet. So beware of a potential ticking time bomb here that may or may not explode.

For more news and analysis, visit Also sprach Analyst.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Euro Crisis Warnings

World Bank chief warns Europe risks ‘Lehmans moment’

LONDON (AFP) Sun Jun 17 2012 01:05:06 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time)   

Outgoing World Bank president Robert Zoellick warned that Europe was facing a

Win Mcnamee/AFP/Getty Images/File

Outgoing World Bank president Robert Zoellick warned that Europe was facing a “Lehmans moment” and the collapse of the euro currency could trigger a global crisis, in an interview out Sunday.

Zoellick will warn the G20 summit that Europe risks sparking a financial meltdown that would have desperate consequences for developing countries, he told British newspaper The Observer.  “Europe may be able to muddle through but the risk is rising,” the 58-year-old American said. “There could be a Lehmans moment if things are not properly handled.”

The 2008 collapse of US financial services firm Lehman Brothers – one of Wall Street’s most prestigious companies — after its risky bets on the US housing market soured, sparked global financial panic.

Zoellick said developing nations needed to “prepare for the uncertainty coming out of the eurozone and the wider financial markets.

“It will be better if they can avoid piling up short-term debts that can come due in volatile periods and look to the fundamentals of future growth — infrastructure and human capital.”

Zoellick, who steps down at the end of June after five years in charge, said the World Bank was taking action to prevent a credit crunch in southeast Europe and to protect north African states that were exposed to Europe’s debt crisis.

He said the Washington-based institution was focusing on helping emerging economies to protect the most vulnerable if another global financial meltdown occurred.

“Uncertainty in markets is now starting to increase costs for developing countries,” he said.  “The ripple effects are making everybody’s life harder.

“Given the volatility in the world economy, there is a big emphasis on helping developing countries to develop social safety nets that don’t bust the budget.”  Zoellick said Brazil and Mexico had shown the way forward using effective, low-cost targeting, the right mix of incentives plus information technology.

The Group of 20 summit of world leaders is being held in Mexico on Monday and Tuesday.

He said the higher interest rates being paid by Spain and Italy was down to the failure of fellow European countries to give the “right backing”.  Zoellick said he was worried that the lengthy crisis was beginning to lead to demands for economic nationalism.

“This is not just an economic crisis but a political threat as well,” he said.  “We must make sure we keep markets open and beware against creeping protectionism. We are starting to see some increase in the use of trade restrictions.”

This article, World Bank chief warns Europe risks ‘Lehmans moment’, is syndicated from AFP and is reposted here with permission. Copyright 2012 AFP.  All Rights Reserved

Source: AFP (

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Why Does Education Matter?

Some recent research suggests that some cities are behind the curve on employment opportunities.  What is the issue? Is there a valid causation related to education to be found?  It appears that the percentage of residents who have college degrees can forecast the economic success of a locale pretty well.

According to Edward Glaeser, a Harvard economist, metropolitan areas where more than 1/3rd of the population had college degrees (as of 2010) recently had an average unemployment rate of 7.5%, compared with a rate of 10.5% for those areas where less than 1/6th of the population had a college degree1.  The argument is that the latter areas are being left behind in the current economy.

The favored locales include expected economic powerhouses like New YorkBoston, Chicago, and San Francisco, but also hot beds for technology and new startups like Raleigh, Austin, Madison, and the Washington, D.C. area.  Out of favor are older manufacturing centers including Dayton, Youngstown, and Tampa.  A table listing the data for the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas can be viewed here. As you can see from the data spread, the phenomenon is not a Red State/Blue State or North/South issue.

Lessons – if you have a small or young growing company in need of human capital, you have two choices.  If your management team is in place, or you need a long term supply of manual labor, look for those out of favor areas, they will have more of the type of labor that you need.  If you don’t have your brain power in place, or need a workforce heavy with technical skills (engineers, computer science, etc.) head to the in-favor locales, the environment for your high powered skill sets will be better there.  As a bonus, these high percentage areas self-reinforce with a higher quality of life  –  so the long term looks good.  The rich get richer, the not so try to improve slowly or they die off.

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What Do Resumes and Infidelity Have in Common?

They can both bring down mighty men…

Some recent examples are worth noting.  Coming in at the top of the list in the Resume Inflation Category – Scott Thompson (above left) was much heralded executive from PayPal, who was recruited to take the top post at Yahoo.  Unfortunately, he had a less than accurate major listed on his CV which got both him and a board member responsible for bringing him in fired.  The sad part – at this stage in Scott’s career, it would not have made any difference whether his undergraduate major was CS or English (he listed computer science only to have the university later make an official statement that it did not offer CS degrees until years after he graduated).  Ouch…

Honorable Mention (Resume Inflation Category) – former Notre Dame head coach for 5 days, George O’Leary, who falsely claimed a graduate degree in education which he never earned…  Again, he was and is a great head coach (currently at UCF, a program that’s on the rise) and that extra bullet would not have added anything to his coaching credentials.

The most recent example in the Infidelity Category – former Arkansas Razorbacks football coach Bobby Petrino.  Full Disclosure: I personally do not like Bobby Petrino (above right).  I didn’t like the way he left Louisville and Atlanta Falcons hanging; how he secretly met with Auburn where his former boss Tuberville was still gainfully employed; etc…  So when he appeared in a press conference looking all banged up and vulnerable, I had to chuckle and order another round for the table…  Genius of a football coach? Yes.  Unscrupulous human being?  Well, yes to that as well…  Rock-star status in Arkansas after registering its first 11-win season after four decades; father of four; affair with a 25 year old intern (who happened to be engaged to another person at the time); then lying to officials in a cover-up attempt.  What was he thinking?

Honorable Mentions (Infidelity Category)  Unfortunately, there are too many to mention in this category, from our beloved Magic Johnson, former CEO of HP Mark Hurd, elite basketball coach Rick Pitino, former CEO of Best Buy Brian Dunn to sports star and mogul Tiger Woods, who became the butt (no pun intended) of all infidelity jokes the last couple of years…

We’ve all made mistakes in our lives (and I get that), but it’s hard to give a hall pass to smart, powerful men who supposedly should know better, but act like they’re invincible and beyond the constraints of the moral compass that guides most of us.

Editor’s Note: The original title and content cast this article in the model of a top ten sports analogy, courtesy of the editors.  However, our contributor felt the import of the article was diminished, and successfully lobbied for his original title to be used.  We saw his point, and also caught the less than accurate description of “Grade Inflation” to describe what is more accurately “Resume Inflation”.

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