Thursday, November 19, 2009

Artist Jeanne-Claude

So sad to hear of the death of Jeanne-Claude. Her husband, Christo, is perhaps the more well known name, but together they've created amazing things. I was fortunate to see both The Umbrellas in Southern California in 1991 and The Gates in New York Central Park in 2005. Check this YouTube link, for a short video of my experiences with both projects:

Their projects sometimes caused controversy, but I was always amazed, first of all, how they even came up with such bold, inventive ideas, and then, how well executed the projects were. Before The Gates opened in NYC, I read an interview with Jeanne-Claude. I may not have the quote exactly right, but here's how I remember it. She said when asked, about The Gates, "What are they for?" she replied, "They are not for anything. It is art. That is all."

Both The Umbrellas and The Gates made me smile. Inventive, playful, bold ideas, for art, for beauty, to make people smile. What can be wrong with that? It's very right-brain thinking.

I hope Christo will continue to create the inventive works he's known for, though I'm sure it will be difficult without his life and art partner.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Maybe We Should Outsource Some Executives

Corporations are saving money by finding workers in other countries who work cheaper than American workers. Well, here's an idea... I bet we could find top-level executives in many other countries who will work much cheaper too. Think of how much money corporations could save if they started outsourcing some top-level management positions!

I heard a statistic that at one time, top-level executives were paid about 30 times more than the average worker. Now, apparently, those top positions are often paying 300 or 400 times as much as the average worker. Or more.

And it's not like the executives are taking any big risks either. Just think, even if an executive completely fails and destroys a company, somehow his buddies at other corporations or on other Boards just hire him somewhere else. And we've seen that when some companies fail, they came crying for a bailout. Oh boo hoo, we failed, now save us. Privatize the profits, but socialize those losses. They screwed up, but we're all bailing them out. It's so wrong. Even when they're failures, most top executives don't suffer any consequences. They're not worth the multi-million dollar salaries and benefits they're receiving.

Another way they "save" money is by firing the experienced workers, so they can hire newer, younger, cheaper workers. (I think Circuit City did that.) Hey, I bet that works for executives too! Don't hire that $40 million Exec. I will run your company for only $1 million per year! I bet I can screw it up as easily as those more experienced and more expensive executives! I may not have the experience, and I don't have the highest level of what seem to be the most prevalent personality traits for high-paid Executives and Wall Street types... They seem to be mostly greedy, stingy and selfish... as long as I get mine, I don't care what happens to anyone else.

Look at the investment groups that buy companies, and dismantle them by selling off real estate or other short-term plans. They personally walk away with millions, while a company is destroyed, and thousands of people lose their jobs. Just look up what happened to Mervyns stores. I guess destroying an entire company and thousands of jobs doesn't matter, as long as you got rich. I got mine, screw you guys! It's pathetic. Do these people have no conscience, or any sense of fairness? Destruction is so much easier than creation. Any idiot can destroy things. It takes skill to actually create, build, or make something.

And if the numbers about executives making 300 times the average worker are true, just think, a company could layoff only 2 top executives, and keep 600 workers. Doesn't that make more sense? And heck, if the laid off execs are so skilled and valuable, they shouldn't have any trouble finding another position.

Maybe this doesn't actually make sense, but... it makes as much sense to me as anything that's happening these days.