Published on: February 10, 2011
In my Eye-Opener yesterday, I was critical of Josef Ackermann, the CEO of Deutsch Bank, who said last week that bringing women into upper management would make life “more colorful...and prettier, too.”
I wrote:The bigger issue illuminated here is the problem of old world thinking in a new world environment. Ackermann sounds like he’s living in a “Mad Men” world, when most of the rest of us are living in a “Facebook” universe. That’s something that companies that want to be relevant to their customers cannot afford.
How many women are Deutsche Bank customers? Or are potential Deutsche Bank customers? And how many of them now will take their business elsewhere?
One MNB user wrote:Here's a thought for you Kevin -- in the 'food industry' how many board members, not belonging to any family ownership group, sit on company boards?
I'll go out on a limb here & say the majority of food shopping is done by women, who in turn are grossly under represented on boards & senior management.
MNB user Janis Raye wrote:Was Slate being "clever" when it used the phrase "women 'manning' corporate boardrooms"? That's more unthinking language that offends most thinking women.
Unfortunately, the whole issue isn't just things you shouldn't say, but things that shouldn't even be thought anymore. I'm afraid our daughters think all this stuff is over by now, but clearly, it isn't. (I haven't forgiven Larry Summers for his comments, either.)
We had a piece yesterday about Amazon’s listing of the nation’s most romantic cities, determined by an analysis of “sales data of romance novels and relationship books (Kindle Books and print books), romantic comedy movies (digital movies and DVDs), Barry White albums (CDs and MP3s), along with sexual wellness products, since Jan. 1, 2011, on a per capita basis in cities with over 100,000 residents.” Four cities ofd the top 20 were in Florida, three were in Tennessee and two were in Virginia. But what impressed me was the level of analysis that Amazon was able to do, and I wondered how many other retailers had that kind of information about its shoppers.
One MNB user wrote:I would suggest that there are alternate interpretations to the Amazon findings that you highlighted in the February 9 MNB.
• What's so amazing about Amazon's ability to track what genres of books, recordings, and DVDs are sent to what cities? This strikes me as a fairly pedestrian (and ultimately useless) use of the Amazon database unless Amazon plans to start shilling stuff to people on the basis of where they live. It's been a while since I bought anything from Amazon but my recollection is that "suggestions" were made on the basis of purchasing history or other purchases made by people who checked out the same product.
• Perhaps Amazon has not come up with a list of the most romantic cities but instead has come up with a list of the cities with the most romantically frustrated residents (i.e., buying romance novels and other such items are a substitute for the romance those people aren't having). And if Miami is t! he sexiest city why do its residents need so many "sexual wellness" products?
Another MNB user wrote:With at least a portion of my tongue in my cheek, I have to say that it seems to me that the study may show that some of those cities are more likely filled with people in search of romance or they wouldn't be buying so many romance novels to live vicariously through them.
Another MNB user wrote:Could be two common denominators - two of the cities are close to Washington DC... coincidence?
The other is nearly all of the rest are college towns (University of Miami, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, South Carolina, etc.)..... may just be nature taking it's course as the young sow wild oats?
MNB user Bob Vereen wrote:With 4 cities in Florida on that "romantic" list, it must reflect Senior Citizen Wish Lists.
And, from another MNB user:Lot of college towns in this top 20. Makes you wonder what the kids are up to…
Same stuff a lot of us were up to when we were in college. I’m not wondering at all.
On the subject of Groupon’s Super Bowl commercials that backfired because they were seen as exploitive and insensitive, one MNB user wrote:The Groupon Super Bowl commercial “oops!” gave Groupon national recognition. The commercial may have offended many people, but I would not categorize the commercial as failing.
If you didn’t know who or what Groupon was prior to the Super Bowl, you know now. The commercial was a success.
Interesting point. But another MNB user wrote:Edgy ? No. Stupid ? Yes.
We continue to get email on the Chick-fil-A issue....
(The privately held fast food chicken chain, well-known for a conservative religious culture that goes so far as to close its stores on Sundays, has come under fire from some gay rights groups for having contributed food to an anti-gay marriage group. The company says it is not anti-gay, though it does believe in the “biblical view of marriage.” And analysts say that the company’s culture may make it difficult to expand to national proportions, where its beliefs will be seen as unacceptable by some.)
One MNB user wrote:I seldom - almost never - rant. One can debate the issue of the Chick-fil-A position ad nauseum. However, the fact remains that all citizens deserve equal civil rights and equal protection under the law, and I thank you for consistently repeating that. Virtually all of these same "reasons" and justifications against allowing gay people to marry were also used in the pre -1960's era when several states still barred inter-racial marriage. (Remove the words "gay marriage" and replace with "inter-racial marriage" and see who would now, in 2011, defend that.) I can just imagine a Chick-fil-A type company in the 1950's supporting laws baring inter-racial marriage and everyone rushing in with their distorted Biblical morals supporting that too. The conversation is exhausting, but it is also about basic civil rights.
Another MNB user wrote:My issue with Chick-fil-A isn't what the company believes, as long as they are abiding by all applicable discrimination laws, they can believe what they want. My issue is that they are supporting an organization that is actively trying to take away rights of US Citizens, who happen to be gay, because of what the bible says.
MNB user Jeff Gartner wrote:I probably should not fan this any more, but this one writer's comment just got to me … "They are very likely only anti-gay in this sense – they do not subscribe to the gay agenda." Well, if you think there's a gay "agenda," then yes, you're anti-gay.
Based on observing and listening to the many gay people with whom I've been acquainted, I didn't realize there existed a "gay agenda." You wouldn't know they're gay unless they specifically told you. They don't wear big buttons or have bumper stickers or personalized license plates that shout they're gay. I don't hear any agenda from them, but rather the same aspirations and stuff we talk about.
When you look at the survey data about anti-gay attitudes, it's heavily weighed to people older than 45. For most younger people as our daughters and their friends all in their 20s, and I would guess your children and their friends, this isn't an issue at all. It also isn't an issue with my wife and I and most of our friends, I guess we're fortunate to be with either a more accepting group of friends and colleagues (or perhaps we're incredibly youthful, I say that in jest). Twenty years from now, we're going to look back and wonder what the fuss was all about.
Thanks, and please don't stop continuing to bring these type of social and political discussions into your column. After all, they contribute to our culture, and it's our cultural insights that lead us to innovate and successfully compete and contribute to others in turn.
To me, this is a fascinating discussion because it occurs at the juncture of commerce, culture, religion and ethical considerations.
Yesterday, one MNB user who described himself as a “Christian businessman” said, “KC, maybe one day we will meet and I can help you understand life as God has created it.”
To which I responded:I realize that this may annoy some folks, but...what you really want to teach me is life as you believe God has created it.
Which is fine. But is not the same thing.
Which prompted MNB user Ken Wagar to write:I suspect you will take significant grief for the statement above. I believe it is one of the wisest things you have ever put in print and should be remembered by all of us regardless of the details of our beliefs!!!!!
My position is this.
I am way too old to care what other people do in bed, or who they do it with. It matters to me not one bit, nor do I think I have any right - moral, ethical or legal - to question or judge it.
I also believe that if there is a God, he - or she - is a nurturing and loving being who cares only about people being loving and good, and not who they love.
And to those who would suggest to me that I should not have the temerity to speak for God, or to presume what he or she thinks or believes, I have a one-word response:
Exactly.(Full disclosure: I stole this line from Ted Alexandro. But I believe it with all my heart.)