“European family firms in the recession” and other links…

Adolf Merckle wirft sich vor einen Zug The Economist: “But several of Germany’s biggest family firms have not proved so conservative of late. Adolf Merckle, the founder of a drugs, cement and engineering conglomerate, committed suicide on January 5th after burdening his empire with heavy debts and misguided financial gambles that ultimately cost his family control. Madeleine Schickedanz, a big shareholder in Arcandor, a department-store and mail-order group which went bankrupt in June, is now living on €600 a month, after entrusting the firm to managers who restructured endlessly yet failed to modernise its drab department stores. …Schaeffler, a family-owned firm that makes bearings, was almost felled by the loans it took on to take over Continental, a car-parts company three times its size. In late August it completed a €12 billion restructuring that may just allow the family to retain control. Porsche, a carmaker controlled by the Piëch and Porsche families, also had to be bailed out after a bid to buy Volkswagen backfired.”

“‘I quit my job’ applause”

37signals: “I was watching a Q&A presentation at a conference a while back. Several questioners said something along these lines: ‘I was so inspired by what you say that I decided to quit my job and start a new business!’ And then the whole room broke out in applause. …Seen this sorta thing elsewhere too. Someone says, ‘I quit my job to follow my dream of [starting XYZ business/acting/whatever].’ And everyone oohs and ahhs and says how great it is. …My problem with that: Quitting your job is easy. That, on its own, doesn’t deserve applause. If you quit and start something new and persevere for years and make it happen, then you deserve hosannas. But just quitting? Anyone can do that.” Exactly, the skill to have is to be able to stop and start working at will. I put this achievement higher over getting a single “good” job.

Japanese bike garage This 37Signals.com Blog post should be a revelation for us ghettoized Black people who often assume that we people are the only ones demonstrating stupid-ass behavior patterns of captivity. Mediocrity and outright stupidity knows no color. The 21st-century white American underclass is probably the only underclass in world history that does not ‘know’ that it is an underclass—even after hundreds of televised Monty Burns jokes and the open, jovial contempt of the Bush family… Even after billions of its tax dollars stolen and millions of dream homes lost, this collective will still defend and express the thinking (and subconscious framing) that causes such theft.

“D.C. Bike Shelter Gives Commuters A Ticket To Ride”

NPR: “Once completed, the Bikestation will hold 130 bikes, lockers and a small shop for repairs. Located next to the Metro subway exit at Union Station, the system will provide secure bike storage for commuters who want to cycle through Washington once they arrive from ‘feeder’ cities like Baltimore.” When I first started working full-time for UCLA Medical Center Computing Services in 2002, I incorrectly assumed that the UCLA campus proudly provided commuter bike storage facilities that rivaled the best, say, Japan has to offer. Nope. The great minds behind this academic institution expect us to slap around in Fred Flintstone cars.