Just about the time I thought Secretary’s Day had become an established retail selling season, somebody convinced everybody else that to call someone a secretary is demeaning.
I can’t quite understand that. In my career I had three terrific secretaries and the opportunity to know dozens of great secretaries in other companies. Then one day it wasn’t Secretary’s Day any more.
J.C. Penney canned CEO Ron Johnson after seventeen months. His implosive changes cost Penney billions and shareholders forty percent of their investments.
But Johnson’s only the face of the disaster. And nobody has mentioned Penney’s board of directors.
The real culprit is a guy named William Ackman and the rest of Penney’s board of directors. Ackman manages a hedge-fund that is Penney’s largest shareholder. It was Ackman who led the board to coax Johnson away from Apple.
Just because somebody tells you that a certain business category is a dying business doesn’t mean it’s gonna die today or tomorrow. People were still making money on Blockbuster stores a decade after the announcement of their demise.
Business categories do, indeed, die. Almost always because of advances in science. Nobody’s making steamships any more.
But some categories that start shrinking aren’t necessarily dying. They’re just getting smaller.