Exxon CEO’s Sustainability Set-Back

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s recent remarks on energy are another spill that needs to be contained. Tillerson reportedly referred to the general public as “illiterate” in science and math, called the media “lazy”, and said that advocacy groups “manufacture fear”.  Regarding climate control, he opined, “We’ll adapt. It’s an engineering problem, and there will be an engineering solution.”  As a degreed engineer, Mr. Tillerson  would (should) know (better), wouldn’t (shouldn’t) he?

No End in Sight, The Sky is the Limit

It was just a short time ago that we were talking about JP Morgan’s $2 Billion “trading error” (oops). Since that time, Jamie Dimon has made his command performance apology, and now a new scandal involving another venerable financial institution has emerged.  Yes, we have now gone from bail-outs, Ponzi schemes, and trading errors to LIBOR-manipulation.  LIBOR or the London Interbank Offered Rate is an often-used base price for corporate lending (eg. credit lines) and derivatives contracts (eg. hedging).  Barclay’s was just fined $452.5 million for its part in these shananigans.  Do financial scandals such as these now represent our “new normal”?

Baseball’s Popularity Contest

Bill Barnett’s recent Harvard Business Review post urges people to use their imaginations to clarify career choices and directions.  While no doubt great advice for many, it’s highly unlikely that Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz went this way in landing what appears to be the perfect job for him.  “Chooch” even looks like a baseball catcher.  He’s a natural.  He adeptly blocks sliders in the dirt and produces more than his share of defensive gems. Pitchers want him behind the plate when they pitch.  Despite being the league leader in batting and perched high atop the stats race for NL catchers, Chooch finished third in the official fan all-star balloting.   Extra special congratulations go to Chooch for being named an all-star.  Chooch doesn’t say much.  He just goes about his business quietly, producing excellence.  Is this really any way to win a popularity contest?


LinkedIn confirmed that it had a security issue with about 6.5 million encrypted passwords and now faces a $5 million class action that alleges outdated security methods were employed that failed to meeting industry standards. According to the lawsuit, LinkedIn should have followed the salt-hash-salt-hash protocol.  Now we know that “salting” involves adding random characters to passwords before hashing. This alone is fascinating social commentary in terms of how digitized our worlds have become.   Are hopes of online privacy really the stuff from which pipe dreams are made?


Did you know  informationalization occurs when the Coors beer can mountains turn blue when the beer gets cold?  Author Thomas Redman explains this concept as making products and services more valuable to customers by incorporatng data and information.  He cites automobile GPS, baby food, and shipping containers as examples.  Redman thinks that ignoring it is dangerous but that having an informationalization strategy may yield pricing premiums.  Apple’s iPhone may be one of today’s best examples.  So, at what point does a product’s own utility begin to defy accurate naming and categorization?


About Thomas W. Smith
Bizsinc - Bringing Business to Life

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