Thursday, June 02, 2011

makers vs. dilettantes and bean counters...

Bob Lutz, former vice-chairman of General Motors has written a call to arms (and hands), in "Car Guys vs Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business," which goes on sale on June 9.
"Lutz tells of the battles he fought after joining GM in 2001 to steer the automaker away from over-reliance on data and back to its roots making well-designed, popular cars. More broadly, the book serves as a clarion call for all U.S. manufacturers to focus on their products rather than quarterly numerical targets. "We are no longer the richest, most all-powerful nation in the world, where we can afford to pay each other high salaries and high wages and high benefits and import $19 DVD players from China," Lutz said in an interview. "That is not going to work. We pay for it in IOUs called Treasury bills," he added. "Time is running out and the country is going to have to reestablish its industrial base."
It sounds like a good read about an asinine situation. In the meantime, there are a few of us makers left, though we have long felt as though we are an endangered species, and might be the last of our kind. Now the pendulum seems to be starting its swing in the opposite direction and noticed that with the exception of bombs and missles we no longer lead in the making of diddly squat. In the meantime, David Brooks at the New York Times has some ideas for the recent generation of college graduates, presented in an editorial Its Not About You... The idea Brooks offers is that while many commencement speakers are telling students to go out and find themselves, they should lose themselves  instead in efforts to tackle real problems...

Much of what we've done in the last generation has been to seek ease. Ease of use, comfort and security, when what we all need are challenges that cause us to transcend our own perceived limitations through the development of skill.

Make, fix and create.


  1. Anonymous3:29 PM

    Well said by Mr. Lutz. I hope someone pays attention.


  2. The age of the bean-counter and dilettante is not going away without a fight. But some are paying attention.

  3. Even though I am a bean counter, I agree with Mr. Lutz's premise. If everything is reduced to the lowest cost denominator, we've lost the battle.

  4. Even though I am bean-counter, I agree with Mr. Lutz's premise. If we reduce everything to the lowest cost denominator, we have little left.