Opinion

Felix Salmon

Counterparties

By Felix Salmon
June 17, 2010

In which Seth Godin explains the Ace Hotel lobby — Godin

Yahoo Finance hiring “a small team of professional bloggers” — Yahoo

White House Fact Sheet on BP Escrow Fund — iMarketNews

Chittum on the FT on Litton — CJR

It’s broken to say “I’m broke” — Amanda Clayman

A 5,000-word Slate investigation into wine forgery — Slate

“What motivated him to throw a puppy at the Hell’s Angels is currently unclear,” said a spokesman for local police — Orange

Comments
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I did it, the impossible? No, I found an Private Money Investor, I have a friend who knows how to negotiate and then when my lender accepted his purposal, the Private Money Investor, purchased my Mortgage Note. Then this investor, wrote the new Mortgage note at 80% of CMV at 7.5%, you will say oh that is high, not when the CMV was $100k over my previous Principal and my new note was now for $80k, I went from oweing, $200,000 to oweing, $80,000 at 7.5% $559, when before it was $1,180 at $200k at 5.875%. $624 per month savings plus I got $120,000 off my principal. I did it, now what?

Posted by Icanhelpyou | Report as abusive
 

re: Seth Godin’s “Goodbye to the Office”

Seth needs to visit real companies more often. Perhaps his future non-office works for a writer and serial web-based small entrepreneur, typing on a laptop in a hotel lobby, but does he not understand the importance of off-the-cuff conversations with company colleagues, how watercooler talk turns into ideas, how office drop-ins about one topic lead to two other discussions, and the like?

Seth simply ignores the benefits that come from working in and around colleagues. If there is no value ascribed to any benefits, then it becomes easy to argue that the costs aren’t worth it.

I thought the creative class feeds on random interconnections and chance meetings that lead to innovative ideas? That doesn’t just apply to networking your way around the industry to the next startup, it applies WITHIN large organizations.

Maybe officing in a Starbucks, or at home, or nowhere works for a one-person company selling billable hours, but I assure you that it doesn’t scale to complex organizations structures.

Hey – I just realized I need to have a quick discussion with a few people in Legal, Compliance, HR and Operations about something that popped up this morning. Oh, I should wait until next week when everyone can meet at the Westin lobby, but since meetings aren’t important, some people might not show. Or we could take 4 days to hash it out via interminable email strings. Or we could take 15 minutes after lunch to meet in person, describe, discuss, provide alternatives, develop plans & tasks, and finalize tomorrow over email. But clearly that doesn’t make any sense now that we have the Interwebs!

Unfortunately, Seth thinks his experience scales to every organization of every size with any business model, when his ideas probably only work best, or at all, for a small subset of current companies.

Is more flexibility needed? Sure. Is the idea of a corporate office obsolete? Godin is ridiculous, probably knows it, but has to be provocative to promote his next book about how we don’t need offices and just market2.0 ourselves to profits.

Posted by SteveHamlin | Report as abusive
 

I’ve been in offices and out, and “chance water cooler discussions” and quick cross-functional meetings almost never happen. Just try and schedule a 15-minute meeting with half a dozen people in different groups – for a variety of good reasons, calendars don’t mesh until next Thursday, at 5PM. People have too many things going on, and have too much on their minds, to come up with the next million-dollar idea over the coffee machine. And in any case, the person you should really be meeting with is in the San Francisco office, and you’re in Boston.

Seth may be promoting a book, and he may be overstating his case, but not by much. Social media tools are rapidly replacing informal discussions, phone calls, and quick meetings. Case in point, I use an internal blog to promote an idea, tweet it to alert my colleagues, and get feedback in the comments and maybe even convergence by the end of the day. Even when everyone is in the same office, that’s the way it’s increasingly working.

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive
 

I’ve worked both remotely and non, as well as in offices that are linked to clients and colleagues in other places and time zones, so I can see merit to both sides of Seth’s argument.

But I hope it becomes more and of a reality. Then we could all live, play, and raise animals in a wide variety of places, in log cabins in the forest and on remote islands and the like, instead of slogging against the perception that only in Silicon Valley, Manhattan and a couple of other population centers can you find “knowledge workers” in this or that industry.

Posted by SelenesMom | Report as abusive
 

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