Two Much

Two things strike me as being just a bit too much these days!

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Thing #1- Today’s Million

Dr. Evil (pictured above with real life Michael Dell) was forced to think bigger as he formulated plans to hold the world hostage.  He started out thinking in terms of only “one million dollars”, but with the help of his trusted advisor “Number Two”, recalibrated to the more appropriate and now somewhat iconic figure of “One Hundred Billion Dollars!”.  If you need a quick refresher, here’s the link.

Once again, pop culture foreshadows business.  It wasn’t too long ago that “Apple’s Cash” appeared right here on this page.  Something about Apple finding itself with, well…rather ironically, $100 Billion in excess cash.  What would the company do with these Billion$?  You see, sitting on it probably wasn’t going to drive share appreciation and definitely isn’t very sexy (in a technological kind of way).  So, what exciting groundbreaking new products would Apple launch?

About a month or so ago, the company answered these questions by announcing that it would buy back another $14 Billion of its own stock, totaling $40 Billion in treasury stock purchases over roughly the last year . With market cap approaching 500 of those Billion$…..Well, you get the point by now, today’s Billion is the new million.

Perhaps even more striking was the relatively recent announcement that Facebook was going to pay 12 of its Billion$ to add the presently advertising-free WhatsApp messenger to its product portfolio.  After all, Mark Zuckerberg & Co had already paid a Billion for Instagram, so what’s another 11 of them, right? Let the Billion$ fly!  Value must follow.

Now on to thing #2….

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Thing #2 – Conference Calls

Have you noticed how much time we in Corporate America spend on conference calls now?  It’s become a huge part of doing business in an increasingly far-flung set of business contacts – even within one’s own company.  Accordingly, conference calling has become a core skill area for today’s employee.  Some people are really good at it…the rock stars of the conference calling era.  It has its own etiquette set and a lingo of its own that is quickly taking on “Office Space” or “Dilbert”- type relevance. Here’s a funny look at how this conference call thing seems to work (video link).  See, if you can relate to it.  It’s stunningly accurate.

This concludes our quick look at two things that are approaching too much!

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