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#753952 - 03/06/02 11:05 PM I Am a CEO
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
I am a CEO.

Chief Executive Officer.

President.

I opened my architectural firm in 1990, after being downsized by a large national real estate developer. I took every cent that I had to my name, plus a two thousand dollar loan from my father, and started a business.

I had only completed my professional licensing 2 years before. I was thirty years old to the day, in an "old man's profession" where most people wouldn't even consider starting a firm until they were 45 or so. I would have been considered crazy, if the economy had offered other alternatives for me. But in 1990, a full 48% of the architects in the eastern half of the United States lost their jobs. There were simply no positions to be had. So, I made my own position.

By the end of the year, my gross receipts totalled $4,800.00. The first full 12 months grossed me a whopping $13,750.00. In order to survive, I took a part time job. That, plus the meager earnings of self employment, plus my wife's salary didn't come close to replacing our former earnings. But we held out hope. We knew the economy would improve, and that I was very good at what I did, even if I did have to fight new prospects' credibility concerns, or as we called it, the "Lack of Grey Hair Syndrome."

Slowly, the business grew. We picked up more clients, and we added on average, one new employee per year for the first eight years. By the second full year in business, I had surpassed my previous salary by a small margin. We were establishing a solid client base and proving our reputation. The business grew, and my fortunes increased - never to the point of ostentaion, but our family was comfortable.

Based on that comfort, and our continued optimism, we began to build a house. It would be a house to show how I thought a house should be - how it should foster and encourage a healthy family life, as well as showcase my architectural talents and design philosophy. It was, at the time, twice as expensive as the house we would sell and move from. It was going to be a bit of a financial stretch, but every indication was that this would work. Even at that, it was not an outrageous house - it was to be half (in some cases, less than half) the cost of the homes surrounding it. Plus, my intention was that when I left the house, it would be in a pine box. This was a "concept house," and was to become (and has, in fact, become)the central focus of all extended family gatherings and celebrations. It is a beautiful house, and it functions exactly as I had dreamed.

At almost the same time, we designed a project (two, actually) for an extremely difficult client. He often chose to not listen to our advice, causing himself problems, and us untold expense. On one of the projects, he hired a contractor that we had not recommended, who proceeded to cause extensive delays and problems. The owner and the contractor are involved in arbitration, to resolve a large financial dispute. As the architect, of course, I have to continue to pour unreimbursable time into review and research of documents covering a project that is now three years past, give depostions, and testimony. Further, the contractor has filed a frivolous "backup" lawsuit against my firm, should he not get satisfaction from the owner in the arbitration. The lawsuit is for an amount far in excess of our liability insurance. Also, as a design professional, I do not have nearly the amount of liabilty limitation available to me that is available to other "nonprofessional" corporations. This has been going on now for three years, with possible closure by the latter part of this year.

At the same time, we were hired to renovate a large, old warehouse building into trendy "loft-style" offices in the heart of downtown. The owner/client owned the entire city block, and was hiring us to do the work. Times were getting better, even with the lawsuit distraction. We moved into the building. Our rent doubled, and now parking was no longer free. But the space was big enough for our expected expansion plans during the lease term. As the CEO, I also decided that the firm would pay for the parking of any "legacy" employees who had enjoyed the free parking at our former location.

At this point in the firm, I was making more money than I ever had in my life. By most professional standards, my pay was still quite modest, but my family was doing well. My wife was able to leave her former job, take a substantial pay cut, work for the firm, and spend more time with our daughters. At the highest point, I was making twice the salary of my next in command.

Then, times got tough. The lawsuit continued to sap our resources, to the point that we had to operate the business "cash in/cash out," with no operating reserve. We borrowed a substantial amount of money from my wife's parents, just to tide us over.

Still, one way or the other, we found a way to pay our staff. I refused to lay off anyone, as each possessed a unique skill that was important to the firm. To do this, my wife & I would occasionally forego our own pay. But our people, and our bills, were paid.

Times got even worse. September 11 took its toll on the economy, of course, but any architect could have told anyone wiling to listen that the country had been in a recession for several months before that. The work dried up. The big warehouse/office project, worth literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to us, disappeared with no tenants to fill the buildings. Yet we still have the big rent bill to pay each month. The last three months of 2001 were absolutely ugly. But, as the CEO and sole stockholder, my wife and I dumped more money into the firm. We paid our staff. We paid our bills. It was scary, but okay; the economy was going to improve. We'd find a way to get our money back, eventually.

Of course, dumping all your personal savings into your business has a ripple effect in your personal finances. With no operating reserve at home, the slightest bump in the road can be deadly. Which, of course, is exactly what happened. My wife and I are still waiting for pay that was due us in January, which we didn't take, in order to meet our business obligations. Now, my wife & I walk around in a catatonic state half the time, saying "It's going to get better," but wondering if it will. We see our kids going to school in dull, overworn clothes, and wearing worn-out shoes. We count our pocket change before going to the grocery store. We promise the mortgage company the check is coming soon, really.

But we pay our staff.

This weekend, my wife and I decided to put our house up for sale, and move into a smaller home. We are trying to sublease our office space, to move into very humble surroundings until we can turn things around. And we will, of course, but it will take time.

And at some point, my wife and I will expect a return on the huge financial and emotional investment we have made in our firm. Beyond simple business, this is the only moral and ethical expectation.

We finally decided to take the current drastic actions when, for the first time, not only could I not cut a check for SWMBO or me, but for my next in command, a man that has been with me almost since the beginning - who met his wife, an engineer, while working for our firm. A man whose daughters' births I remember as specially as if they were my own kids. And now, I can hardly look him in the eye. I can't pay him because our business is slow, and promised work has dried up, the the clients that keep us all actually busy (that's why no one is being laid off) are now painfully slow in paying their bills. And I can't pay him because I refuse to borrow more money, and I have no more to put into the business.

Today, my wife decided to withdraw a significant chunk of her retirement money, fully realizing the tax implications, to put into the business to pay some aging bills. She did it without telling me first, and when she told me, I cried.

In the midst of all this, I know that my story is not all that uncommon. Good, hardworking, caring, talented people who run their businesses all over this country find themselves in these same positions, especially right now. And in the midst of this, while placing virtually every cent to my name into the business to pay our excellent people - who at the moment, are all better paid, and certainly more regularly paid, than am I - in the midst of this, I hear the oft-repeated comments from some people about money-grubbing CEO's. We don't give a damn about our employees. We just want to stick it to the little guy, who, excellent though they may be, has no legal obligation, no risk, for any of these things that I've described - and if they ever get tired of it, they can just quit, an option not available to me, the all-powerful CEO. We exist solely to exploit our employees, of course, as if they are some sort of eternal underclass put here on earth simply for our empowerment and enrichment.

Many of these arguments, dragged out routinely from time to time, start out as attacks on the CEO of the "megacorporations." But these are usually easy targets: the people most often used as examples are simply engaging in illegal actions, and their behavior is not to be used as a model, or example, whether they are a CEO over 50,000 people, or five. Their problem is not that they're CEO's, it's just that they're crooks, who also happen to be CEO's.

The reality is that most CEOs are like me. We are not the heads of multinationals. Most of us run operations of 25 of fewer employees, if I remember the statistics correctly. We all go through ups & downs similar to those I've just shared (probably more accurately, "overshared") with all of you. But in the discourse, we end up all being tarred with the same brush as the Ken Lays of the world, or the equivalent poster child du jour for white-collar crime. None of us gives a damn about our employees. We're just out for a lousy buck.

I care a great deal for our employees. I am not exaggerating when I say that I consider them family. And I think that it's generally a reciprocal feeling, or they would have left a long time ago, having had enough of the boss's stress. If anything, a business advisor could easily make a case that I'm merely foolish, a poor businessman who has overextended himself, in part by not slashing staff.

But, I'm doing it for two reasons. First, as I said, I truly love each and every one of them. The second reason is less altruistic. Each of these people has, as I've said, a unique talent that we need as our firm is evolving. It is a group of people whose talents are, I think, unrivaled by any other architectural firm our size, in the entire city.

As such, I have every expectation that before long, our fortunes will turn around again, in part based on our staff's talents. In fact, I see the turnaround beginning already, albeit too late to avoid some of our recent decisions. And I full well expect - no, demand - that my wife and I finally see a return, and a good one at that, on our immeasurable investment in this venture. We will see that return while sitting in run-down office space, and going home to a smaller house, after taking risks and placing burdens on our family that our staff never had to endure. And if anyone thinks that that is "exploitation" on the backs of our hardworking employees, just to line our greedy pockets, they can kiss my bare, hairy backside.

Some people like to talkabout CEO's.

I am a CEO.

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#753953 - 03/06/02 11:57 PM Re: I Am a CEO
iainhp Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/01
Posts: 803
Loc: San Diego
Dwain, you've got my respect.

Yes, we do tend to lump all CEOs in one group, which is unfair. However I work for a small company - the owners live out of state so I take care of the day to day business. I have heard horror stories from vendors and from persons looking for a job, concerning the owners of some small businesses. I have also worked for large corporations which seemed to have nothing but the employees best interests at heart (IBM was one of them).

I have often thought I would like to run my own business, but after running the one I'm currently at, I don't think I would ever do it. Your post is an eye opener for anyone contemplating following in your footsteps. Thanks for sharing it.

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#753954 - 03/07/02 12:21 AM Re: I Am a CEO
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Gee Dwain, your story was so touching until that last sentence about your backside.

All CEO's are not being painted as Ken Lays. I have provided articles of those who are. And yes, they are CEO's of major corporations. And yes, they are filthy rich and there are many more Ken Lays out there. But not all CEO's of major corporations are "legal crooks". However, I'd be willing to bet that a very healthy majority are.

I never thought I'd wish for you, of all people, the best. I sincerely hope that your financial situation turns around and you are rewarded many times over for the way you have conducted your business. I can't think of anyone who would draw on their own retirement savings, or sell their house to try and keep people employed. You have gone FAR beyond what I would even dare to imagine in my 'ideal' world.

As I've said before and will say again, it's not about how much money you make, but how you make it. The US has essentially legalized stealing. And the wealthy, because of their powerful positions, are the beneficiaries. This is what is wrong. This is what needs fixing.

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#753955 - 03/07/02 12:41 AM Re: I Am a CEO
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
My post was not at all intended to discourage anyone from self employment. I personally believe that the more self-employed people we have, the better. Rather, it was to explain that:

1. CEO's - employers - are not, by mere definition, all thoughtless and exploitive. They come in all moral flavors, regardless of the size of the ship they're steering.

2. Employees are not, by definition, all noble and exploited. They also come in many different flavors.

3. Many, if not most, people do not fully realize the very real risks taken and burdens assumed by their employers, just to start and keep the business, and its jobs, going.

During the tough times, like SWMBO & I are going through at the moment, it drains not only the bank accounts, but it literally eats away at your physical and mental health as well. And it should not be considered exploiting or fleecing of those same employees that you sacrificed for, to ultimately expect a return on your very literal blood, sweat & tears.

I have been deliberately blunt in sharing just a portion (I've edited a lot of other things out, for brevity, if you can believe that)of my current daily reality as a CEO, to help others here get more complete understanding as they form or refine their opinions.

I realize that some may think, "Yes, well that's how you are in your little operation, but that's not how it is for the people in the big companies (read: the "real" typical (exploited)American worker, with the typical (evil) CEO.)But I think that my experience is extremely relevant: by the last statistics I saw, about 2/3 of all Americans were employed by small businesses, not the big megacorps that seem to get all the press and upon which the stereotypes are built.

So, just thought I'd give another perspective, this one from a very weary (but still hopeful \:\) ) CEO fighting in the trenches.

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#753956 - 03/07/02 12:54 AM Re: I Am a CEO
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
iainhp,

IBM, are you sure??? Here are a few facts that might surprise you:

1) Since 1993 when Mr. Gerstner was elected king, over 100,000 US workers lost their jobs.

2) In 1999 pensions of US employees, US only, were reduced between 20 and 40% depending on years of service, age, etc...
Except for the executives' pensions.

3) Lifetime medical benefits were eliminated for all US employees. Except for the executives.

4) 40,000 US IBM employees are part of a class action law-suit against IBM's 1999 pension cut mentioned above. Two courts ruled against IBM who claimed the employees case was "without merit".

5) As a result of the pension cuts, unions have made significant in-roads with IBM employees. IBM has, on two occasions, attempted to block unionizing activities. Both times the courts ruled against IBM.

6) In an earlier post I mentioned IBM closing down a chip manufacturing plant in the US only to open one in China - to save money. More US jobs lost, bottom line goes up, more money in the executives pockets at bonus time.

7) Retiree's have not had a cost of living increase since 1990. IBM, however, will claim that they did provide a COLA in 2001. This is true, even though it was provided under extreme pressure. Nevertheless, the increased medical costs completely gobbled up the COLA and then some.

Year after year, the executives rake in millions in bonuses while employees stand in the unemployment line and retiree's see their retirement income reduced.

The executives are not subject to any of this, of course. Nor is anyone outside of the US - no surprise there either.

But IBM is not alone. Boeing, Verizon and many other major corporations are guilty of just as many, if not more, sins.

Derick

[ March 07, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#753957 - 03/07/02 01:28 PM Re: I Am a CEO
iainhp Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/01
Posts: 803
Loc: San Diego
Derick - I'm older than I look!

I worked for IBM for a couple of years in the mid 80s. It was probably at the end of "the good times". They were very top heavy (but that's another story). On the plus side:

1. They discoveerd that if they gave employees 12 sick days a year that, strangely enough, some people were sick exactly 12 days a year. So the gave everyone unlimited sick leave and, strangely enough, the amount of sick leave used went down! Maternity leave was incredible. I have a friend who still works there - she's been on a reduced work week for something like the past 7 years so she can spend time with her kids.

2. Technical and non technical employees were on equal pay scales. This mean't that us technical weenies didn't have to "go into management" to get pay increases.

3. There were many stories of use of comapny assets (read aircraft and employees from other sites) to help out the families of employees in need (medical help, death in the family, etc..).

There were other examples. I left after 2 years because the writing was on the wall (and my wife wanted to move back to Southern California). They offered to try and find me a job with the company in San Diego (as I said the writing was on the wall). I realise they ain't what they used to be (still have stock).

A comment on Dwain's original statement. I sometimes wish that I had studied architecture instead of engineering. My wife and I used to do the rounds of all the new housing estates, as they went up (this is San Diego - there's a constant stream). I never found a house that I wanted to buy. Maybe my tastes run different to the general consensus but:

1. I don't want a front door that opens into a formal living room with a ceiling high enough to support work on a Saturn V rocket.

2. I don't want a master bedroom large enough to play indoor soccer (how much room do you need to sleep?).

3. I don't want the master bathroom within earshot of my sleeping wife (solid doors required, not these open archway designs).

4. I don't want the steam from the shower condensing on the cold walls in the bedroom and closets.

5. I do want a large kitchen with tons of counter space and a center island with a stove. Everyone always congregates in my kitchen. If the President ever comes to visit maybe I'll wish I had a formal living room (thoughI suspect George congregates in the kitchen of his ranch house too). Kitchen needs room for a breakfast table.

6. A large family room, with a real fireplace, should adjoin the kitchen. SHould be large enough for computer, TV, HiFi, christmas tree, piano and couches.

7. I would like 2 kids bedrooms sharing a full bathroom and opening out onto a play area where they can store all their junk.

8. If room permits, a dining room would be nice.

9. The front door should open into an alcove complete with a closet(s) for coats. Alcove should be large enough for greeting several people, and an umbrella stand. Remainder of house should not be visible from the front door of the alcove.

10. Ceiling height should be sufficient to not make a person over 6 foot feel claustrophobic.

11. Ample use of skylights/natural light, but tastefully done so the roof looks pleasing (nothing worse than a roof with 200 pipes sticking out of it).

12. Prefer a one story house, with garage around the side or back, on the same side or close to the kitchen.

13. We are in an energy crunch. Houses should be constructed at least partially underground to stabilise the temperature. Windows opening a couple of inches above lawn level are fine.

14. If space permits, a spare bedroom for visitors.

I would be curious to see your concept house. Did you ever put pictures or floorplan online? I saw a Frank Llyod Wright concept house (can't remember what it was called, but they move it from city to city by taking it apart and reassembling it). It was a small single story concrete house - it shows its age, but I liked the basic design.

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#753958 - 03/07/02 01:51 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Dwain,
Thank you for your story. While every CEO may not have that EXACT story, I think a lot of them have made sacrafices. So when the bounty comes in, I for one celebrate it! I look forward to hearing how times will change for you. You deserve abundant financial rewards. You deserve it and you've earned it. Even if you make several times more than the next in line. Even if you make 15 times your lowest-level employee.

Blessings on you and your wife!

penny

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#753959 - 03/07/02 02:28 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
iainhp,

What you said was true in the mid-80's. That was when people were loyal and commited to their employers.

As you can see from what I've written about the current state of affairs, times have changed. Employee loyalty and commitment (in most major US corporations) is a thing of the past.

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#753960 - 03/07/02 02:45 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Penny,

In an earlier post, I echoed the same sentiments you did to Dwain; wishing him much financial success. But I want to use Dwain in a hypothetical situation and get your reaction.

Dwain's situation turns around he finds himself making hundreds of millions a year. His company goes public and he becomes the new 'darling' of Wall Street. You invest in Dwain's company. His company has 2 employees (remember, I said hypothetical), Dwain and John. John makes minimum wage, Dwain makes $500,000,000. The economy takes a downturn and Dwain's bottom-line is shrinking, his company is no longer growing, the stock price is plummeting. You've lost hundreds of thousands the day his earnings report comes out.

What would you, as a stock-holder, want Dwain to do and/or what would you do?

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#753961 - 03/07/02 02:58 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
This hypothetical is too weird to even be relevant to real life. First off, no CEO makes $500 million year-after-year. They do have bonuses and incentives tied to performance (stock), but there is NO SALARY that is $500 million a year! That makes no sense at all.

Second of all, I would never invest in such a company, and if I did, I would put a stop order on the loss so that I wouldn't lose that much in any one day. But I would be more likely to sell it long before this earnings announcment because (unless there's been some fraud), I should've known that this company is heading straight to hell in a handbasket!

A good investor has to know his companies well or at least pay someone to know his companies well enough to know when to sell.

In the hypothetical you've given, it would make sense that the whole thing fall apart. Companies go bankrupt all the time. Excite@Home, anyone? But as there is no two-person publicly traded company, like I said, it doesn't make sense. What do you want me to say? That the CEO should quit and then the one guy will somehow turn this company around? None of it makes sense! I don't understand your point!

confused,
penny

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#753962 - 03/07/02 03:11 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Re: IBM

IBM is in the technology business. Technologies get replaced. IBM was in the fortunate position to have created a discontinuous innovation that was adopted by Corporate America, that of the mainframe computer. Thus, it became a what is known as a "gorilla." But this technology is old and has since been by-passed by PCs and networks and servers. Now, IBM got in on the early PC "tornado" (buzz world describing early heady days of technology adoption), but since then, it has been struggling to maintain a place in the ever-changing world of technology. Gorillas have a nice long lifespan, but they do die! Should IBM just keep paying for all the goodies it used to when it was king of the hill? Or should it become a leaner company, try to re-invent itself (sometimes successfully and sometimes not, remember O2 operating environment?) and grab more of the technology pie? Now maybe the existing employees under old plans have a case and they should be "grand-fathered in" to the benefits they previously enjoyed. But forcing a company to be this great keeper of social programs in the midst of a competitive environment is a sure way to write everyone's pink slip, including the CEOs!

Why do you believe a company has to keep maintaining a "lifestyle" no matter what the economic conditions are? Yes, CEOs seem to be more immune to the economic conditions than the rest of us, but they are the ones making the big decisions about which way a company should go. That job is constant (until, of course, the company goes bankrupt!)

To say that there is "legalized stealing" in America is to not understand how any of this works. Remember, the board signs off on these deals. The board members represent the shareholders. You don't like a company's policies: Don't invest in it, don't work for it. There are plenty of alternatives.

penny

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#753963 - 03/07/02 03:54 PM Re: I Am a CEO
iainhp Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/01
Posts: 803
Loc: San Diego
Uhhhh, this is Dwain's thread. We should maybe move this argument, err I mean discussion, over to Derick's thread. \:\)

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#753964 - 03/07/02 04:02 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Penny,

Sorry but the board members DO NOT represent the shareholders. That is a myth that ranks right up there with "the check is in the mail".

Let's take Baldwin Piano. Maybe you read that post, but if not here's a snippet. In 1996, under the leadership or Karen Hendricks, several very bad business decisions were made. The company started hemorrhaging money and filed for bankruptcy. The boad members then voted Karen a $1.3 million dollar severance BONUS. Operative word BONUS. I can't repeat that word enough, BONUS.

Now what shareholder, in their right mind, would have voted for something so absolutely insane?

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#753965 - 03/07/02 04:37 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Derick, Dwain started a thread by baring his very soul, in an effort to make a point. In your zeal to prove your point about the evils of big corporations, you have run all over both Dwain and the tone of the thread - not to mention the fact that you have done so with the most ridiculous arguments one can imagine.

While you are ranting and raving like Johnny One Note about some CEO that you can point to who makes more money than you think he ought to make, Dwain tried to make the point that the vast majority of corporations in this country are small, and the vast majority of their CEO's have had to struggle. Dwain's experiences are enough to make most men give up. It takes a special kind of man to stand up to it. I know, because just like Dwain, I'm one of them too.

It took a real man to reveal publicly his life's struggles the way Dwain did. He didn't owe it to a single soul. But you have completely missed the fact that as someone who knew what it takes out of a man to try to run a small business today, Dwain wrote his post out of frustration from reading posts about how things in corporate America could be, written from the closed minded and overbearing perspective of one who has never done it. It's easy for you to sit there and quote articles and rant and rave about the evils of corporate America. But as someone who sits through the reality of it day in and day out, Dwain knows just how far off track you are. So do I. Because just like Dwain, I am a CEO too. And just like Dwain, I've got battle scars that most people wouldn't have lived through. And in the process of surviving those battle scars, both of us have managed to keep the roofs over the heads of several other families.

Quit harping on corporate America. Your facts are wrong, your perspective is screwed, and that isn't the point of this thread in the first place.

Geez........
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#753966 - 03/07/02 04:45 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Larry,

I believe I applauded Dwain.

What facts are wrong? Do tell.

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#753967 - 03/07/02 05:18 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
According to Larry over on the Piano Forum board, Karen never got her severence bonus. So there's nothing to be upset at. Justice prevailed!

penny

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#753968 - 03/07/02 05:33 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
She didn't get her money YET. She's an unsecured creditor. Moreover, the board that supposedly represents the shareholders, voted to richly reward her mismanagement.

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#753969 - 03/07/02 06:13 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
There are several types of bankruptcy, and several stages involved in each one. Had Baldwin been able to pull off a reorganizational bankruptcy, then there might possibly have been a chance for her to get her bonus. But they didn't.

The bankruptcy was total. The company was liquidated. The secured creditors divided up what was taken in from the sale of the assets, and the unsecured creditors went home with their hats in their hands. No one owes anyone anything anymore involving the Baldwin company that went into bankruptcy. It is gone. Someone else owns the name, the factory, and the assets. The liabilities were summarily dismissed and the slate wiped clean by the court.

No one will be collecting on any debts, bonuses or otherwise - ever.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#753970 - 03/07/02 06:22 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
Words fail me.

Just one piece of advice - hang on to SWMBO. A truly good woman is the best treasure a man can acquire while spending out his life on this old world. Dwain, you may be richer than you realize.
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www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#753971 - 03/07/02 06:45 PM Re: I Am a CEO
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
Dwain,

I admire you for putting it all on the line to make it in your business. I really hope you and your firm make it.

T2

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#753972 - 03/07/02 06:59 PM Re: I Am a CEO
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
"Words fail me"

Me too, Jolly. I have been thinking about this since I read Dwain's post last night. I got to the part about him having to put his house on the market and I just wanted to cry. I want to say a million things, but I just can't come up with the right combination. And even if I could, it wouldn't help Dwain's situation. I wish I needed an architect, Dwain - I'd hire you tomorrow!

Derick - you've got to work on your written delivery. Although I happen to agree with some of what you are saying, and I know that you feel you have been burned by your company, your sweeping generalizations are ticking people off. Especially those who are going through some REALLY tough times. Lighten up a little, ok? Jodi

[ March 07, 2002: Message edited by: jodi ]

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#753973 - 03/07/02 07:25 PM Re: I Am a CEO
wghornsby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 201
Loc: KY
Dwain, I agree with what everybody else said. Although I know you're not looking for it, I admire the way you've handled the situation. The way you treat other people says quite a lot about the kind of person you are.
_________________________
wgh

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#753974 - 03/07/02 07:29 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Brendan Online   content


Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5289
Loc: McAllen, TX
Dwain,

I can only echo what's come before:

Bravo to your courage and perseverance. From one Ohioan to another. \:D
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#753975 - 03/07/02 08:13 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Jodi,

I'm not being wise, I truly want to know. Could you give me an example of where I made a sweeping generalization? But a sweeping generalization I made after Dwain's post.

Last night when I read his post I realized that I assumed everyone knew I was talking about some major US corporations. Since then I've tried to make it clear that that is what I'm referring to.

Anyway, if you have the time, please give me an example.

Thanks,
Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#753976 - 03/07/02 09:27 PM Re: I Am a CEO
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
To all my friends who have offered their support both publicly and privately, thank you. I want you to know that your support means a lot to me. Also, I still owe one of you a detailed email reply, which I will send soon - but in advance, I want to say a special thanks to him.

This forum has been a place where I can occasionally forget about some of the boulders sitting on my brain, and I have come to truly appreciate the yet-unmet friends that I have made here. Thank you again to my friends.

Now then, let's not get all touchy-feely and misty-eyed. All this will pass, as it has before. And we'll be just fine, because we know what's really important in life. None of these current problems even come close to endangering those really important things.

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#753977 - 03/08/02 12:56 AM Re: I Am a CEO
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Occasionally, I'll hear a businessman complain that he's being criticized by a person "who's never had to meet a payroll." Well, Dwain's post gives the clearest picture I've ever seen of the kind of strain that meeting a payroll can put on a CEO, and the dedication that a committed leader can have to making sure that his obligations to his employees are met. I hope things work out for him and his firm; I'm sure he deserves it, although that's no guarantee of success in world in which chance plays such a large part. Good luck.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#753978 - 03/08/02 12:57 AM Re: I Am a CEO
Eldon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 597
Loc: Illinois
Dwain,
You're going to get another "touchy-feely" and "misty-eyed" post anyway. WOW! You've sure got a HUGE HEART. I'm SURE you're the kind of friend that everyone would relish. God Bless You!
_________________________
Sincerely,
Eldon

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#753979 - 03/08/02 04:04 AM Re: I Am a CEO
Anonymous
Unregistered


I've been reading this thread for the first time this morning. So, here's another touchy-feely response, I'm afraid.

Dwain,
reading your story almost made me want to cry. So many people have already expressed their sentiment better than I will ever be able to. However, I would like to add this:

"Sunshine comes after the rain", may this saying also come true for you and your family soon. You really deserve it.

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#753980 - 03/08/02 09:21 AM Re: I Am a CEO
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
Dwain,
I am so sorry to read of the difficulties you and your family are having. Times will cycle back around. The only inevitability is change. And, one of my most favorite sayings: "The only security in life is courage."

I understand how frustrated and angry you might feel reading the knocks on CEOs that have been posted to this forum.

But actually, when you describe yourself, you are not describing the role of a CEO. You are describing the role (and very personal risks) of an owner of a small business. It's a very different reality than running a Wal Mart or an Enron. You don't have stockholders. You are personally identified with the business, by others and by yourself. You have a deep personal investment--it is not just a business to you. If you walked out the door tomorrow to go work for someone else's firm, it would be a huge personal loss.

I don't believe that is much like the reality of the CEO of a multinational corporation.
_________________________
piqué

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