Monday, July 26, 2010

Summertime Blogging Blues and a Question

First, I went to the National Forensics League Speech and Debate Tournament in Kansas City; then I went to debate camp at SDSU; then I did a two-day meeting about South Dakota's DSTEP and the annual family vacation, so blogging has been light.  The letter reminding me about the pre-school meetings came on Saturday, so summer is over.

While catching up on some blog reading, I came across this post at The Core Knowledge Blog.  The post responds to a comment made by Eli Broad in an article Bill Gates' School Crusade the July 15 of Business Week.  Broad claims, "We don't know anything about how to teach or reading curriculum or any of that," . . . . "But what we do know about is management and governance."

In response, Core Knowlege's Robert Pondiscio provided the following list

1. The Edsel.
2. Betamax.
3. New Coke.
4. MC Hammer.
5. The XFL.
6. Pets.com. 
7. Polaroid.
8. Ishtar.
9. Segway.
10. Microsoft Vista

I'm willing to concede that Betamax and Polaroid may have been great products that just weren't accepted.  I know nothing about Pets.com, and the Segeway may still have its day. Even with those concessions, people who know "management and governance" and who were experts produced some epic failures.  The fact that business has great successes doesn't mean that business leaders are omnipotent or omniscient.  In fact some of their failures are so grand that the idea of taking their advice as gospel seems to be a recipe for creating a worse disaster.

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