Procurement and Supply Chain Lessons From Weight Lifting Supplements (Part 1)

By Jason Busch and Richard Lee

I must admit I’m the accidental lifter. At almost 6 feet tall and roughly 165 pounds, I’m better suited to running moderately fast and evangelizing the virtues of a mostly vegan diet than benching or deadlifts. I don’t really look the part either. And that holds whether I’m hitting the dumbbells in my apartment building’s small weight room or fighting for space against grannies and teenagers or my local gym. (Note: not a health club — there is a difference!)

But regardless of personal appearances, I’ve got a newfound hobby: weightlifting. I haven’t not been able to run much the past couple of months thanks to leg injury brought on by a colleague — who will go, almost, unnamed — at Public Spend Forum, who espoused the virtues to me of ultra-high intensity interval training. (Hint: don’t put a treadmill on a 15% grade and run at a 10-12 pace for 20 seconds unless you’ve worked up to it and really, really know what you’re doing.)

So, thanks to Ash  — who is 10 times the health nut I am — I was forced to try something new. Which, of course, is not a bad thing. But lifting weights comes with a stigma of sorts. Even if, as I’m trying it, more Cross Fit-style than Arnold, the typical gym rat doesn’t necessarily know how to wax eloquent on the merits of lean operating models or Peter Kraljic.

This is a problem, as it turns out lots of lifters are actually quite the intellectuals in their respective fields. So to counter the typical anti-intellectual convention associated with lifting — and I must say, lifters tend not to be as social as runners, who often drink more beers than the miles they put in on the trails — I thought I’d work with and interview my colleague, Richard Lee, who has been lifting since his West Point days.

Richard is old school and well versed in the quasi-legal supplements that have been around gyms since the Carter and early Reagan years, back when Mr. Universe was not something President Obama aspired to be but rather a bodybuilding title built on the back of hard work and … well, we’ll leave it at that.

One conversation with Richard got me thinking: It turns out old school weight supplements like Ultimate Orange are a lot like many of the shortcuts that procurement organizations use to “juice” their results. (See also the real insider coverage on a site whose name I can’t even make up: steroidology.) These supplements pumped up the heart rate and the muscles — and did much more as well.

So, why not take this relaxed holiday season to let down our hair and write about some of these supplements and what they were purported to do, and compare them to a number of comparative techniques that procurement and supply chain teams often use to juice their results at the expense of, well, just about everything that truly matters (e.g., longevity, health, relationships, etc.).

Of course, some supplements aren’t necessarily dangerous — they’re just plain gross. Like Uni-Liver, a liver supplement (as in “eating liver”). There’s the procurement and supply chain equivalent of that, too, I’m sure.

I’ll also invite Richard to join in the conversation and share his thoughts as well — not that he will ever admit to taking these supplements, mind you — from the voice of experience. We’ll start with Ultimate Orange — the original formula, not the reissued wussy version — this week.

In the meantime, it’s time to get pumped up!

What really drives valuation for tech companies?

By Jason Busch and Richard Lee

Published in Spend Matters Pro – https://spendmatters.com/2014/06/11/what-really-drives-valuation-for-technology-companies-these-days/

We’ve always found the subject of valuation for technology companies a curious topic, one that we could probably bore too many people with during cocktail hour conversations. There are plenty of good authorities when it comes to tech valuation (some of the best research we’ve seen over the years comes from Pacific Crest) and nearly every sell-side analyst worth their salt has a theory or two on the topic. But ultimately, tech valuation is more art than science (remember the crazy theories during the last dot-com rush when eyeballs somehow served in place of real operating metrics?).

Jeter’s Retirement

I hate and love Olbermann.  Asides from Stuart Scott, Keith Olbermann is probably the most eloquent, poignant current / alumnus ESPN anchor there is.  And if you have not seen his latest tirade on Jeter’s hyped retirement, it’s a piece of art.

Now before Jeter faithful (Olbermann used the word apologist) try to hang me from the Brooklyn Bridge next to Olbermann, I am not necessarily saying that I agree with him (even if the stats and anecdotes Olbermann rants off are impossible to dispute…)  Is Jeter a Hall of Famers – absolutely.  Is he one of the greatest Yankees Captains ever – perhaps.   Did the modern media and Gatorade commercials help to “iconize” him – for sure (hey, I do love the Re2pect marketing).  Does God have a sense of humor for allowing the O’s to end the Yankees season all the while bestowing Jeter an opportunity to hit the game winner on his final at bat against the same team?  You know it.  Am I little jealous because Jeter is getting a rock star treatment while Chicago’s beloved Pauley (Konerko that is) is riding off into the sunset without much fanfare?  Of course…   Then again, it’s better than getting boo’d out of the city like Sosa did in his final year.  After watching one of those feel-good Gatorade commercials, my wife asked, “was he really that good?”  I don’t know…   Why don’t you decide?

That’s Why You Play the Game!

I have to admit, I am a football junkie…   College, pro, high school, Canadian, it does not matter.  Nothing better than plopping down for the weekend watching back-to-back-to-back games (of course, have not had that in a while since kids arrived but that’s another story).  There were a few surprises the past weekend, as there usually are every weekend.  First college – did BC really beat USC and South Carolina the same to Georgia (as close as it was)?  I love seeing / hearing so called experts predict how Texas will beat UCLA and conversely how the Bruins offense will finally wake up and trounce the Longhorns (UCLA beat Texas by 3 by the way which guarantees they’ll further drop in the ranking).  Well ladies and gentlemen, that’s why they play the game.  But what cracked me up the most…   How so called Chicago Tribune sports reporters (obviously not experts) all started the season with 0-2 in their resumes.  Yes, every one of them – Brad Biggs, Matt Bowen, Rich Campbell, David Haugh, Fred Mitchell, Mike Mulligan and Dan Wiederer – predicted that the Bears will beat the Bills and the Niners will trounce the Bears.  I especially loved David’s quote “Nobody expected the Bears to start 0-2 with a loss to the Bills, but a Bears defense that came to the Bay Area a day early will remain a step late in losing to the 49ers.”  Cute play on words, David…   That’s why you get paid to write, and I do not.  And that’s why you play the game!  Go Bears!

No S*it Economic Commentary of the Year

 

Russia’s central bank said it would have to tear up its previous economic forecasts due to uncertainty surrounding the impact of sanctions imposed by Europe and the US over the conflict in Ukraine.  No, really?

Corporate Inversion…

AbbVie

AbbVie’s $55BN  bid for UK drug maker Shire was approved, providing yet another footnote in the history of corporate inversion by the US companies largely motivated by an opportunity to avoid US corporate taxes.  The combined firm will move to UK, saving upwards of $8BN in US corporate taxes by some estimates.  While such a move certainly rubs policy makers the wrong way, in reality isn’t this a perfect case study in the free market economy?  People / companies have moved across state-lines for better opportunities so why not across country-borders in today’s global economy?  Some compare this to individuals denouncing US citizenship to save on personal taxes – I think that’s a bad comparable.  The latter is unthinkable, outrageous (I am an ex-military after all).  Cry of jingoism will not solve the problem – only permanent solution is to change the US corporate tax laws so that we can be competitive, on the level playing field with the likes of Ireland, etc.  It’s been a couple of years since Chicago lost Aon to UK (well-respected board members resigned in protest).  We were bracing for the same after Walgreens / Boots (UK) merger.  Fortunately, Walgreens announced that they are here to stay.  Every accretion / dilution model has a black-box, designed to justify “positive synergy” that may or may not come to fruition.  I am just trying to imagine how to build one for inversion tax savings…

Another reason why Google is taking over the world…

Google

An equities analyst on CNBC a while back labeled Google as a “one trick pony.”  True… but that is one helluva trick (I’m talking about its search engine technology of course) that has fueled growth / innovation since its inception.  The latest – Google selected Alcon, division of Novartis, to be its partner in developing what’s dubbed Google Lens.  These smart contact lens are designed to monitor wearer’s glucose levels in tears to proactively manage diabetic conditions.  Data are transmitted through a radio antenna embedded in the lens, fraction of human hair thickness then presumably alerts the wearer to take certain precautions through various mobile devices.  Norvartis tried to invent such lens on its own but was not successful.  This is the stuff that you’d read in Ray Bradbury’s novels in the 80’s.  Truly amazing…

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