I am always enamored my whole life by the art that is business. It seems so interesting and exciting to me. It has always had its own lingo, decorum and code. I always have seen it as the ultimate skill because if one is able to master it, you become a master at life in a way. It becomes so many things wrapped into one. I feel like in today’s bizarre out of touch world we live in certain events which are landmark moments that capture what I am saying here are looked over, ignored and forgotten. I am a huge fan of these historic moments because there is so much to be learned. It is a sense of style and class. That is why I would really like to stress the idea that it is an art. More so, today it is a lost art. All these people prancing around today considering themselves men of business when they are the furthest thing from good business. They wouldn’t know good business if they saw it. People shurged and say “It business”. No.
Today in institutions of higher learning such as college and in books they treat business as if it is a science. It takes the soul and art out of it which strips the core completely out. Business is the complete opposite of a science it is an art. There are countless examples of this over the past 30 years with the bombardment of economics, finance and accounting MBAs/ PhD’s ravaging the business world. There is no soul or creativity in any of it. It is a soulless amount of formulas and methods applied with one outcome that is suppose to be the answer. This has frankly stagnated, wrecked and destroyed companies over time. There is no room for ingenuity, the unknown, foresight or “if” in their formulas or management programs. No room for abstract thinking. It has resulted in a penny wise dollar foolish mentality in the business world which is a rock bottom place to be.
It restrains companies or puts them out of business. These style lead to Steve Jobs from being ousted at Apple, IBM poo-pooing any of the ideas their employee’s brought to them, firms on Wall St. selling their souls for today and reputation hell later. This causes a massive dislocation which destroys any sense of community and collaboration needed to create more wealth. Short run over long run mentality. If someones brain is infatuated with the short run eventually the music stops playing and there is no chair to sit down on and you are out. One of my favorite all time quotes “The art of good business is being a good middle man.” That is the essence of collaboration and opposite of dislocation.
The Caregines, Rockerfellers, Mellons and Morgans of the world would look at today’s businessmen with disgust. Today you have companies with balance sheets that are too good. They hoard cash and penny pinch. They only care about margins and the bottom line rather than taking capital and putting to work in order to grow the top line increase that revenue. You cannot cut your way to prosperity. People today call that capitalism, which is pathetic. The father of Capitalism Adam Smith would spit at them. He often said largest margins of profit result in poorer society’s and growing society have smaller margins.
And lastly, its going to be a new tradition here on this blog, which I consider my journal or diary that I want to share with the world, if they care to read it, a snippet of history in the art of business. It is going to be tidbits of moments I feel are great and grand that set everlasting precedents. This time it is the Buttonwood Agreement.
The event took place on May 17, 1792, started the New York Stock & Exchange Board now called the New York Stock Exchange. This agreement was signed by 24 stockbrokers outside of 68 Wall Street New York under a buttonwood tree. The organization drafted its constitution on March 8, 1817, and named itself the “New York Stock & Exchange Board. The agreement read
“We the Subscribers, Brokers for the Purchase and Sale of the Public Stock, do hereby solemnly promise and pledge ourselves to each other, that we will not buy or sell from this day for any person whatsoever, any kind of Public Stock, at a less rate than one quarter percent Commission on the Specie value and that we will give preference to each other in our Negotiations. In Testimony whereof we have set our hands this 17th day of May at New York, 1792”
This set the stage for businesses to dream, spur competition and provide access to capital so those agendas could be nourished for success. A place where a middle man would find a buyer for a share of stock , sell it to another gentleman for sizable but small markup. A concept which is looked at today with such degradation because of some bad seeds.