Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The 76ers Lost, and That's OK in Philly

Here in Philadelphia, the sports fans are reacting very well to the fact that our basketball team did not make it to the Eastern Conference finals. That's because, despite their undeservedly harsh image, they have their priorities in order. 
When the season began, there was no expectation that the Sixers would even have a winning season. Instead, the team improved enough to make the playoffs. They won their first round with some luck. (Opponent Chicago lost their most valuable player.) But in the second round, they forced the Boston Celtics to a seventh and deciding game. In the end, Philly fans know the team played over their heads, and that is enough. 

Pope John XXIII shared this daily advice:
  • See everything.
  • Overlook a lot.
  • Improve a little.
The fans understood this when judging the 76ers. How about the rest of us? What are our perspectives on our children, our direct reports, our colleagues, our loved ones? We can all stand to be kinder in our analyses of others. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

AMC Sale May be Harbinger of the End of Theaters

I am interested in the sale of the AMC chain as a sign to the end of movie theaters. When U.S. assets are sold to foreign entities, a common reaction is that it signals extranational control of American assets. I find it to something entirely different: Foreign companies usually buy into American industries or individual companies that are dead or dying, often slowly transforming into commodities. Consider:

  • The sale of IBM computers (becoming Lenovo) after they were no longer competitive in the market
  • The sale of GE's Black & Decker small appliances after such items became cheap and disposable
  • the entire TV set industry, none of which are manufactured in the U.S.
As far as movie chains go, the real money is in content, and this is where the U.S. excels, exporting our culture and intellectual property around the world. (I understood this when I saw The Addams Family black & white TV show on a local Italian television station.) Furthermore, how many people will be watching movies in theaters in the coming decades?