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11/17/2011

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Ed Selkow

Bob, I was in charge of the janitorial services for several mid western states of Sears and Kmart stores and witnessed this first hand. Sears was one of this country's truly great companies, pioneering what we know today as direct mail marketing and supplying rural America with just about everything we couldn't grow by ourselves. There are many factors in the decline of this once great company but the one that I would have to believe is key is the business school grads that manage the company. Business schools are turning out more people, credentialed but unqualified. How many once great companies are being managed by folks who have come up through the ranks compared to ones where whiz kids are brought in with worthless degrees from business schools? This is only a personal theory based on my own observations but I think there is a link.

Bob Croft

I agree, Ed. Long after it's glory days as a catalog firm, Sears was the gold standard in tools and appliances for the middle class. I wonder if its slide might have begun when Sears began selling real estate, insurance and brokerage services in its stores. Those would be the kind of synergies that MBAs tout (if you're in the store for a socket wrench set, and see the insurance counter, you might stop) but would likely not have occured to the quality merchandise oriented hands on guys. Great treatment of other "synergy" expectations in "Billion Dollar Lessons". http://www.amazon.com/Billion-Dollar-Lessons-Inexcusable-Business-Failures/dp/1591842190/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322332280&sr=1-1

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