Willie Randolph, the Stuff of Legend

Since being fired by the Mets in the middle of the night during a West-coast roadtrip, former manager Willie Randolph has gone from baseball pariah to management tool extraordinaire. Because of how he was let go, his dismissal will find its way into management textbooks everywhere under the heading “How Not to Fire An Employee.” Already, The Wall Street Journal‘s Career Journal has written an article about how bad firings can damage a firm’s reputation. Not that the Mets had much to worry about in that regard…

Check out the Career Journal article here.

Google May Achieve Synergy Where So Many Failed

Google is expected to announced today a new tool for tracking web site visitors. The offering is geared towards advertisers, to help them make better decisions about where to put their ad dollars. Already, Google offers a service called Analytics, which provides some similar features but is geared towards the web in general. Analytics does integrate with Google’s Adsense, but I expect that this new service will go beyond the basic integration currently available. I’m also curious to see how this new service might integrate Feedburner, which Google recently acquired.

With all of these different services, Google has an impressive opportunity to build one massive, ad-serving, user-tracking behemoth. If the company can successfully integrate the different tools, advertisers would have access to one of the most powerful tools for targeting their ads accurately, allowing them to better manage their spending on advertisements.

The dreaded “s” word from a bygone internet era also comes to mind with this announcement. Synergy was the hot, new idea in the late 1990s, driving mergers between seemingly incongruous companies like America Online and Time Warner. Hailed as the new media model for the 21st century, it quickly became apparent that the merger was a failure. Google has an opportunity to reduce the stigma of synergy.

The new tool (name unknown) was reported by The Wall Street Journal‘s Emily Steel in “Google to Offer a Tool to Measure Web Hits.”


In light of last week’s Supreme Court ruling regarding detainee rights, what reasons does the United States have for keeping the detention center open? One of the current administration’s long-standing justifications was that by keeping the detained persons off US soil, that the full slate of Constitutional rights did not apply. The Supreme Court has roundly rejected that reasoning as faulty. From my point of view, it appears that security may be the only remaining reason to keep the facility open. Some may view the detention center as a target to attack, on the hope of freeing detainees. By keeping it out of the continental US, that risk of attack is shifted 90 miles south of our border. Safeguarding against detainee escape, from a security standpoint, would pose little challenge were the detention center moved to mainland US. This is largely due to the fact that the facility would likely be located either near a current military prison or on a military installation. Either way, enough soldiers in the area would easily deter most escape attempts.

If security is not our utmost concern, then our standing in the world should be. Our ability to function as a global power depends largely on the respect we garner, and the detention center has certainly harmed our credibility. By closing the facility, we could incrementally restore our damaged image and difuse one of our critics’ most powerful weapons. I am in no way suggesting that these individuals should be freed, but instead be relocated to a facility without the stigma and connotation associated with it that the term “Guantanamo Bay” carries.

Coastal Drilling & Alternative Energy

Yesterday I wrote about the potentially negative effects of removing the ban on offshore oil exploration in federal waters. Essentially, I wondered whether this “newfound” production would so distract us from the greater issue of reducing our dependence on petroleum that we would hurt ourselves in the long run. Today’s Wall Street Journal article titled “Benefits of Tapping Coastal Reserves Would Take Years to Surface” seems to dispel that notion. The article points out the many challenges that this new production would face. To begin, the government needs to study the now-banned areas to identify where the oil is. This needs to occur before the government can begin considering lease applications. If leases were sold, there would then be environmental impact studies and challenges from environmental groups on myriad fronts, followed by years of infrastructure planning, review, and development. Since many of these areas have been off limits for more than 30 years, there is currently no way to get the oil to refiners if it could be removed from the seabed.

The Energy Information Administration, part of the US Department of Energy, has acknowledged the limited impact that drilling in the outer shelf will have on the petroleum market. The EIA said, in part, that drilling in “Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030” (2007 Annual Energy Outlook Analysis).

The biggest takeaway from this article is this: drilling in the outer shelf is neither or short- or long-term solution. It is one of many ways that the US can cope with and respond to higher oil prices, just like alternative fuel sources. Politicans and the American public shouldn’t think for one minute that the possibility of drilling in the outer shelf has changed the rules of the current energy game at all. Alternative energy is still as hot a topic and industry as it was last week.

Will Alternative Energy Suffer?

Today’s announcement that President Bush is revoking the Executive Order banning drilling in the Outer Shelf got me thinking. Assuming Congress follows the President’s lead and removes its moratorium on drilling, what impact will this have on alternative energy development? While promising, these new sources can only provide roughly 10 years of oil supply at today’s consumption level and slightly shy of four years of natural gas. Furthermore, it will be many, many years before production from these now-banned areas would reach the market. While useful, these reserves do not negate our need for alternatives to petroleum. Having uncovered this large bandaid, will we continue on blindly ignoring our head wound? I would hope that rather than seeing these reserves as a solution to the problem, we would use these newfound reserves to satisfy our needs while we develop alternative fuel sources. Think stopgap, not cure.

I will do some research on this topic and see who else has considered this issue. Should anyone know of reporting on this topic, please share it through the comments feature (registration not required).