“When it comes to meeting the press…President Bush has much more experience than I.”
–President Jiang

There’s a live new conference on now between Bush and Jiang…the American press corp. keeps pounding Jiang with the “why are you persecuting Christians?” questions. The press doubles up the questions, asking Bush and Jiang a question each for each “one” question. This, for the first few times it was asked, allowed Jiang to let Bush speak first, and then remain silent. That is, Mr. Big Glasses simply doesn’t answer the question: he just pretends it never got asked.

That shit’s crazy, dude.

Eventually, Jiang gave a long answer that started out with “I’m not a religious man…I’ve read the Bible, the Koran, etc.”; then claimed that there is freedom of religion in China; then said that the Christians arrested were done so because they’d done something illegal. I’m not a religious man either, but that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve hard from the East since “everything is nothing” and “that statue of Ganesh is drinking milk from a spoon!

Tonight on Insomniac

Dave: [Hugging Red Haired Guy] He’s drunk and I don’t care.
Red Haired Guy: No…I’m not drunk…
Dave: Oh really?
Dave: I’m on coke.
Dave: Oh…hah, hah, hah…

. . .

Dave: It’s not over ’till someone drumps their pants.

. . .

Dave: You like Reno?
Local Man, eating a burger: It’s a big city atmosphere without big city problems.
Dave: Right…except for the gambling, drugs, and prostitution.

In Sam We Trust

I’ve been reading In Sam We Trust and it seems that, aside from marying into a some-what wealthy family that helped finance his initial stores, Sam Walton’s “secrerts to success” were:

  • He worked all the time
  • He shamlessly asked everyone for tips on improving his retailing: whether it was store clerks or managers in a rivals store or his own, he didn’t care about people thinking he was a genius or not, instead, he ruthlessly collected all the info he could…and used it
  • If it was Saturday at 4AM, he was in the office going over the week’s sales figures for the morning meeting
  • Instead of being the person who knew how to do everything, Sam — taking, at times, literally decades — built a team of people who, collectively, could do everything
  • Unless Sam was hunting, he was working
  • Most importantly, Sam found an untapped market — selling cheap goods in non-sexy, rural areas
  • Sam was cheap, e.g., he liked to encourage traveling employees to stay in cheap motels and bring their own food to save money

Needless to say, working all the time is usually associated with “successful” business, or, really, any project, be it a cash one, an academic one, or a personal one. But, for me, as someone who’s always deathly afraid to be wrong or otherwise exposed as possibly stupid, the most important Sam Walton attribute is his shamelessness: it seems like Sam realized he couldn’t figure out or do it all alone, but a tight team of people probably could.

Now, nevermind all the child-labor, forcing the mom-and-pop stuff out…. What I’m always looking for in business stories is how orginizations manage to stop being stupid and actually get shit done.