Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We have met the enemy…and we used to work for them!

“We have met the enemy…and we used to work for them!”
On August 6th USA Today reported the following ( ) “Faced with rising costs, General Electric is moving production of its new energ -efficient water heater halfway around the world. The country it's leaving? China. The one it's bringing 400 jobs and a newly renovated factory? The United States. A small but growing band of U.S. manufacturers — including giants such as General Electric and Caterpillar— are turning the seemingly inexorable offshoring movement on its head, bringing some production to the U.S. from far-flung locations such as China. Others that were buying components overseas are switching to U.S. suppliers. Ford Motor said Wednesday that it's bringing nearly 2,000 jobs to its U.S. plants by 2012 from suppliers, including those in Japan, Mexico and India.”
In September, ABC News ( ) followed up with a report of their own calling the new movement “Insourcing”… “As the U.S. economic slump continues, American jobs are increasingly in short supply: the U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday that employers shrunk payrolls by 51,000. The decline was smaller than expected but still marked the country's seventh straight month of job losses. The national unemployment rate, meanwhile, has jumped from 5.5 percent to 5.7 percent. But some experts say there is a bright spot on the jobs front: At least a handful of American companies who had relied on workers stationed overseas are now bringing jobs back to the United States. In addition, foreign companies are continuing to expand U.S. operations and hiring more local residents, instead of flying in foreign staff for business. “
Since then, amongst a score of local and national articles paying attention to this phenomena, Bloomberg Businessweek ( ) and even NPR have spoken on the subject of economic balance. We are finally meeting in the middle and that means that jobs once shipped off to China and India, or any of the other exotic or at least distant ports, may be coming home.
The headlines and debaters in newspapers, business magazines and even television are beginning to talk about the stabilizing costs that will make outsourced jobs attractive to American workers. Surprisingly there is a good argument for making this case. Rampant unemployment in America means that corporations can probably get people to work for less and even snag a slightly better caliber of person to do this kind of work. Tax breaks are being offered as bait for cities desperate to attract business, government incentives of cash and trade protection, a century of reliable, honest production (no radioactive lead in our toothpaste, honey) and (for anybody who has driven through a major city in the last two years knows) there is more than ample room for anybody who wants to move in and set up shop The timing for returning these outsourced jobs back onto American soil is good – probably never better. But not so fast!
Don’t you hate when there’s always that but in any supposed “good news”? The economy is going to get worse before it gets better. Before we as a country start handing the keys to every major city in America over to these conglomerates, maybe we ought to walk down memory lane and recall that no small amount of the unemployment we are suffering is the direct result of these very same Fortune companies bailing out of America in her time of need. Not that they had any national obligation to stick in the heat with us and turn this thing around for the good of Old Glory and all that (although those time worn values need to be picked up, dusted off and made more than some kind of bumper sticker philosophy). And I don’t say “hold on a second” because I am certain that they will abandon us at the next drop of the economic hat either.
After all, we made them who they are - and I mean that in every sense. So, we have to take some responsibility and recognition the Fortune companies that are good and those that are just plain evil. You know them; the companies that deliberately flood the market with inferior products and inflated prices and the corporate directors who took hundreds of millions to remove themselves from the very companies they raped and pillaged. Or billionaires that flaunt their wealth shamelessly while they drape themselves in the very freedom and protection they enjoy under our Constitution without the slightest bit of remorse or sense of duty to one’s country (it’s a nice place to live but I wouldn’t want to pay employee wages here – yuk, yuk). After all, what could we do when they folded their tents and moved away to greener pastures (never was a metaphor so acutely and sadly accurate)? I mean it’s a country built of the principle of capitalism, right?
It’s also the country that was built and paid for by the blood of patriots, many of whom lost much of everything they owned and many of the people they so dearly loved, who made that statement and started this whole party to begin with. These corporations that made their products globally iconic because they were “made in America” had the labels reprinted and warnings written in Chinese. But am I just angry because they were pathetically empty of values and any sense or morale decency in their ruthless pursuit of corporate wealth?
No…well maybe a little. But that’s not the subject of this editorial. I think there is a very practical and relevant point to be made here and issues we should explore before we open up the shores and let these critters wriggle back.
Assume, as any reasonable person must, that they will be returning with the same mindset they had when they left. Seriously, when was the last time a corporate boardroom was accused of sensitive creativity? Can you imagine these dominions rebuilding their dynasties on today’s fractured infrastructure? Talk about the end of the world and God calling! Nothing could more swiftly bring about the sudden and abrupt collapse of cities, highways, railways, airports and electrical grids (not to mention the chaos that would ensue from cities competing to regain these monolithic empires ) then the sudden appearance “theme park” size campuses built around the fact that these corporations would almost certainly receive the land, buildings and titles for almost nothing in exchange for the promise of work for the locals.
I’m not against incentives for getting companies to set up shop in industrial areas that already exist. I’m just certain that we can do this differently – better – if we do it right this time.
I have been a strong proponent since early 2007 of the “extended depression”. I believe that our economy, no matter what occurs, will not see its bottom until 2012. I have even factored in the consideration that at one point in our economic slide (which seems to be now) it would become just as economically feasible to offer the outsourced jobs to a desperately and deeply compromised unemployed America as it would to offer those jobs to India or China. We need the jobs but we can’t handle the influx of these workers on our roads, in our cities and over the course of our antiquated infrastructure. If we bring these jobs back with the mindset that Fortune America had when it left, we will inadvertently sign away our frail economic recovery. Things are going to change and, in this case, they will not change for the better. If their coming home ends up being a financial miscalculation on their part do you think they will end up paying for it?
Trickle Up and Then Tumble Down

Unfortunately, any disaster to Fortune companies eventually craters the American economic landscape (at least this is true so far – I believe I hold a significant alternate theory based on my predictive models). Here’s the most ironic aspect to this whole insourcing probability; as Fortune companies return home, the initial inflight will at first seem like a boom to our prosperity. The fact is that it is a bust waiting to implode. The effect of these jobs coming home without serious modification to the current corporate America model is based on the anticipated corporate premise that they can fill huge call centers with immensely overqualified people to work the phones. This will backfire on them in the middle of our recovery (and that word “recovery” will take on new meaning by 2012) in and about 2015 as literally tens of thousands of highly skilled workers abandon these monster call centers to accept more fitting work opportunities while compensating their expertise and salary expectations.

Trickle up and then tumble down (as I call it)- the result of more economic woes that will be the cause of a deafening crash and an even more substantial setback to any serious recovery. This time we will have isolated another even more fragile element of our society and those people now just hanging on by the tips of their fingers will be washed away in a tsunami of economic recession. Ultimately this perplexing cycle will once again creep up the ladder of our society and wreak havoc on a beleaguered middle America.

Keep in mind I feel like Paul Revere as I scream “things will never be the same…things will never be the same!” But,
the cruel, hard fact is that they will never be the same and deep down I think most Americans have accepted that. The last thing we need are the frighteningly simple minded corporate leaders making a wholesale decision to pepper our landscape with jobs they “think” they can steal for pennies on the dollar from desperate Americans. But not long after the call centers are abandoned and skilled help is not available at bargain basement wages, these giant entities will collapse like edge of the tide sand castles and, once again, we will have the domino effect on business. If we as Americans have not learned from our mistakes, be sure CEOs of these mega-conglomerates have learned less - and they learn at a slower rate.

Tethered Communities - The Future of Business in America

While the overall economic global picture for markets will grow exceedingly dim, the average American will have (and in many ways already has) readjusted. We are sleeker, trimmed down and more prepared to weather the storm of this economy knowing that at some point jobs must come back or corporations will have essentially said to the world “we have no buyers!” Nothing has become more visible to politics and business than the understanding that the bottom line for every company - no matter what they do, make, service or sell - eventually comes down to how much they sell their product or service for and what they NET off those sales or services. Like the young actress once said “it isn’t rock science!” And, no I didn’t misspell or misquote - that it is the actual quote (I will spare her name because – well – we all make those errors when standing on the red carpet- I guess).

So, in what will be a snide bit of twisted irony, American corporations who have bankrupted the country in search of the ever important “profit” have left in their wake a society that has no intentions of being put in such a position again. As they migrate back to the country they abandoned and the millions of Americans they left stranded without hope of income, they may want to rethink how they are going to plant their flag this time around. I have some suggestions, and I am certain of three things –
Number one: Large corporations became large corporations because at one time they were innovative.
Number two: Large corporations, when they become large corporations, cease being innovative.
Number three: Large corporations will have to once again become innovative if they have any hope of remaining viable in the 21st century.

What we can hope for is that we can offer returning corporations an alternative to their current business modeling by absorbing these jobs by using a combination of what I call “Tethered Communities “ and “Smart Space” work environments.

We at The Bosson Group understand how to take these insourced jobs and allocate their location, structure, management, analysis and technological needs based on detailed quantification of time, productivity and cost allocation. The “Tethered Community” emerges through a series of tests, analysis and position charting that will allow any workforce to reduce it’s on site needs for personnel by as much as 20%. A “Tethered Community”, using corporate locations with “Smart Spaces” (multiple personnel offices, etc.), will allow these corporations to relocate (insource) without pressing the equivalent of a nuclear footprint on our country.

Positions carefully constructed to work from homes; small satellite offices and even piggybacked desks will mean that major companies can bring in tens of thousands of jobs for a fraction of what it would cost them to simply reset the clock and bring back all the cubicles, desks and real estate that have already once been made to stand empty and abandoned.

The questions are hardly rhetorical and the correct answers will have a profound, positive impact on how corporate America proceeds into the 21st century with a new business model. They only have to ask themselves:

1. Do you really want all that real estate again?
2. What if going green was profitable as well as responsible?
3. Can you hope to keep these talented people caged up in call centers when the economy recovers?
4. What if you staff your company and save 40% on employee costs right up front without government regulations, long term contracts or minimum employment numbers?
5. Why not take advantage of the technology you yourselves created to do exactly what you created the technology to do?
A well thought out and efficiently deployed “Tethered Community” by The Bosson Group means:

• Thousands of jobs returning without the onerous employee costs Fortune companies must absorb
• The ability to control and significantly eliminate the pressure such returning positions would place on our country’s already failing infrastructure
• Savings in the tens of millions of dollars every day on precious fossil fuels
• An almost incalculable reduction in carbon emissions
• Less strain on employees commuting to and from locations through gridlock, making a friendlier, more personal work environment
• Smarter use of real estate leading to significant reductions in building, supporting, taxing and maintaining new developments
• Redesigning the American workforce to become flexible, mobile and global without ever having left the country to be competitive

For the record, whether you are a returning global competitor or a company in long term good standing on American soil, my concepts of “Tethered Communities” and “Smart Spaces” are effective and viable alternatives that can save you millions of dollars a year. And, if you’re a company on your way up in your market and you need to add people or consider expansion, The Bosson Group can show you how to consolidate your power to become more efficient while producing greater net profits. I’ve put a good deal of thought into this and I am asking corporate America, as they return, to do the same.

In God We Trust
Frank Bosson
CEO, The Bosson Group

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where do I put my money?

When I last wrote to you (just before summer 2010) I warned that summer was going to reveal the depth of troubles ingrained within the economics of the late great America. As we emerge from the summer the reality of our situation has certainly become more grisly, not just for Americans but for the entire world population. The stock market cannot recover, jobs continue to decline, the average yearly American earnings continue a downward spiral and fraud in corporate America is rampant. I said we would have to face the grim reality by summer’s end but I meant only that we would finally have to tell ourselves, “Okay we’re in this for the long haul. How do we make things work with what bits of this industry and bits of that industry remain?” I did not mean, nor have I ever thought, that we were literally going to face some kind of end time.
The economics of a country are like their vital organs and as each shuts down (for us this is caused by a toxic combination of bad politics and broken business) we witness the lifeblood of this country ebb away.  Massive declines in manufacturing, natural disasters, war, famine and a chilling realization that the things we have come to rely on are the very things that have turned against us make the trial of the times clear but not apocalyptic. We were smokers and gluttons feasting on the corpse of a rotting world, and it was just a matter of time before we sunk to their level. And, like sin crouching at our door waiting for us, the venture vultures could hardly wait for us to drop to our knees to sink their teeth into us. All of this may make it look like the doomsday predictions seem almost inevitable, but they are not. 
The end of our economic structure is not the end of the world; at least it doesn’t have to be. The final moments of our economic doomsday will be more of a gentle slide then a giant thud. After all we have been adjusting to the variations in our lifestyles for the better part of four years already and by 2012 we will have been in a global systematic failure for six years. This is more like starvation than death by a bullet. You don’t just wake up the morning after your last can of beans and drop over…it’s just the beginning of another kind of end.
In that way things are better than you should expect. Truly things will get worse…much worse…before they get better, but we will adjust. We will train ourselves to endure more and find new models to follow - models of virtue and not avarice. We will, hopefully, return to the values that made this country what it was at its apex. We will hold our families closer, our relationships will have more value, a dollar will mean something and a hard day’s work will be the feeling of a good day’s fatigue. The day may be coming when we start them on our knees and not on our Blackberries. A little prayer time would make us a whole lot stronger.
Only God knows when the world will end, not the Mayans or Nostradamus or the Hopi or your corner Palm Reader. We need to tune out our self-proclaimed prophets of the people like Oprah Winfrey and her companion in lunacy Sylvia Brown or the mesmerizing but fundamentally challenged Joel Osteen spreading their beguiling delusions of false spirituality or gospels of prosperity. This country is made of more than a handful of self-made billionaires whose actual life stories play out more like a Stephen King horror novel than a Frank Capra hero flick. Greed, loathing, deception and victory at any cost, including the sacrifice of self-redemption or the values that make such victories worth claiming, are hollow and unworthy of our applause.
So, the end of this time will come and it will skid to a halt slowly and irreparably by the end of 2012 according to my numbers. But by then we will have grown accustomed to lowering the heat and air, walking a little more than driving, praying a little more than preaching and caring a little more than collecting. We will have to start again in a whole different world - but we will start again. We’ve had monsters under our beds before and we will have them again. The great generation of World War II is passing into the deep, long night but perhaps another great generation is looming on the horizon.
So when I was walking the concourse with my placard in hand, warning that the end was coming, my sign may have been wrong. Well, not wrong - but misinterpreted. I didn’t mean the end kind of an end but rather the beginning of a new story. Things are actually better than I expected – although most of that is either a fluke (see my notes on natural disasters below) or a deliberate messy cash infusion from the government (see my notes on that also). Since 2006 (actually to be more precise, I began writing publicly on the subject of the American economic situation in April 2007) my conclusions have been accurate because I am not basing them on the traditional economic formulas we have used over the last forty years. Contrary to some remarks, I don’t get any pleasure out of announcing these predictions...I am as horrified as you! Isn’t it better to be prepared for what our world will look like in three years then to buy into the "everything will turnaround once again" theory?
I am becoming a topic of conversation to more people because more people are arriving at a place where they are beginning to doubt the voices that have guided them for the last five decades. Many of these people are neither clients nor associates – so my words have certainly spread. I am, apparently, gaining a wide audience - which is something I never sought to do nor am I comfortable knowing that it is occurring.
Regardless of the “flukes”, I am not retracting my third quarter 2012 bottom; I am simply saying that new factors seem to indicate that we will be better prepared than I initially anticipated. We will have had ample time to re-establish a new economic reality by the time we run our course. That it is dragging along as it is turns out to be a good thing.
1. I am relatively certain that our President intends to release much of that three trillion dollars he allocated sometime in 2011(re-election needs) which will artificially inflate our wealth. Sadly, unless President Obama somehow becomes much more business savvy then he has proven to date, this infusion of lots of cash will be absorbed by the rich and never have a lasting effect on the average American worker. Nor will that money circulate long enough to sustain its own value (I’ll talk about that phenomena later in this series) and have a positive, lasting impact on the working American and our long term economic picture.
2. In April 2007 my paper “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel….run!” predicted that the end of this mess would occur no sooner than the summer of 2012. My exact words then were… “that (summer 2012) may even be a little optimistic”. I use my own “exclusive” quantitative process - nTelegenz™ (more on this later in the paper) to arrive at my conclusions. My formula anticipates everything from economic markers to natural disasters as elements in my analysis – but (and here it gets tricky), my process is a business production and analytics system designed to be spot on accurate up to three years out on data for random events like natural disasters. Because I am not an economist and no economist has ever been to the economic place we are going to be in 2012, with the end so far out from what my analysis accurately details, I could not know with any certainty (nor can anyone else) that my “rate of occurrence” for elements like earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, etc. could sustain itself beyond my three years. My formulas were meant to analyze up to a three year period. I was saying in 2007 that the bottom would not be evident until 2012. As we approach my markers and they remain true and consistent, it’s my belief that my analysis remains unquestionably valid. But natural disasters are a wild card and remain a fluke in my analysis no matter how I re-run the numbers. After all, who could have predicted BP’s oil spill in the Gulf, right?
So…to the point
In the four years since I started making my predictions it seems now I am being asked for more than analysis of the future markets. The number one question I get asked is “Where should I put my money?”
The answer is simple, even if the process by which I acquire my results is anything but simple. During the years prior to 2006, I had concocted my own quantitative process for the evaluation of a client’s market position to coincide with strategies which would Break]
1.) Reduce company costs while creating a more fluid and adaptable business environment
2.) Structure an ongoing growth anticipation and cost control strategy
3.) Increase sales through a combination of thorough market analysis, closing techniques and eclectic marketing processes singular to the client’s particular parameters
Over the course of a decade I honed this proprietary process to behave in the manner of an economic predictor. Normally I use my formula (nTelegenz(tm) to put my clients unto a playing field in which they are the lopsided favorites to win contracts, increase distributor sales, reduce costs and create a sleeker, far more efficient business profile. I look at my programming as a break through in business genetics. I approach my client’s position in the market the way an aeronautics engineer looks at designing a jet fighter for speed and stealth. Converting it (nTelegenz(tm)) at least in part to act as my own economic predictions model was done to make my programming more accurate over the long haul for my clients. My programs make businesses more competitive in tougher economies and the addition of this piece made sense for that purpose. It is now becoming something of its own command and providing authoritative disclosures for independent economic objectives.
The long and short of this is that I can and do populate a number of specific and non-specific data fields  (recent events, natural disasters, market history, competitor structure, people, etc.) which allow me to identify the problems solely unique to my client. The mirror image of my work shows me the place, methods, modes and madness that my client will exploit to carve out their share of the market. At the same time the process allows me to map out a strategy using both a traditional and non-traditional approach that moves my client to occupy unchallenged frequencies of communication with their buyers; accelerating their sales and reducing company costs (the principle of “less friction brings about faster acceleration”). Using this process I have almost always been correct (no one is perfect) and flawless in my strategies.
As it turned out, my last client brought me into the heart of the mortgage banking business where I polished my skills and techniques while educating myself on the work of an economist. I will not slander the work or the efforts of the really honest and clever economists – no one can dispute the years of education and devotion one must have to become successful in this field. But, and I say this with the utmost respect, I have always and continue to state simply that, in my opinion, the reason today’s economists continue to make awful and clearly inaccurate predictions stems more from the fact that they are approaching the problem incorrectly then they have previously been and this economic collapse has merely exposed them for what they are. They are now more like weathermen in how they go about what they do and how they conclude what they see. I say this because they are using an incorrect set of questions, populating the wrong fields of data and arriving at conclusions that have nothing to do with our current reality.
They do not know what will happen next because at every turn in today’s economy we arrive at a place we have never been before. 
Look it at like this –all economists use a very similar formula (very much the same for each with tweaks and slight variations on the theme to favor their peculiar idiosyncratic views). This sort of thinking has, until now, produced acceptable levels of accuracy - sort of like a weatherperson viewing a particular cloud cover and anticipating what should be the normal weather for that day. But, say that same weatherman was unaware of the earthquake that would consume the area at the same time the rainstorm hit. No one could blame him or her for not anticipating an earthquake. No…of course not! But what they can expect is that once the earthquake becomes a factor they would have the common sense to change the weather report to reflect the impact of the quake at least through the life of the seismic event and the time immediate following. For as long as the quake impacts the area it impacts the weather in that area as well.
Economists are simply denying or are unaware there has been an economic earthquake. As long as they ignore the immense and ongoing damage from the quake and continue to give us weather updates that exclude the gaping hole in the center of our village they will never get the magnitude or the extent of the economic ruin we are finding ourselves buried beneath. All of this leaves me with my formula which was first created to work in a competitive environment rife with change and unexpected interruptions, interferences and influences. My process is data rich, mathematical and observational; structured to work in a highly unpredictable and dynamic environment. It isn’t a “fill in the blanks” process - it’s a hands-on and minds-in game of business chess.
My program incorporates a host of unusual parameters normally not associated with the traditional data common to the field of economists. My conclusions result from data and performance as they relate to the American industry (historical commonalities and evolving social and business trends), sales, marketing and even employment. It wasn’t long after I started to use my own quantitative formula in 2006-07 that I could see the popular economists, who were predicting all sorts of recovery dates from late summer 2007 to early 2010 while revising their predictions as each economic marker passed, that I finally understood they had no clue what they were talking about.
That brings me to the question at hand and where I stand on any answer. More Americans are emptying their savings, raiding retirement funds, finding their home values upside down, dipping into Social Security just to stay afloat and unable to find any source that can give them definitive answers on questions ranging from “How bad will this get?” to “What will our economy look like in 2012?”
I can’t tell you that and no one else on earth can either. We, as a global population have never been where we are going. It means that as many adjustments as we will need to make, we will make. As much as we need to bend we will bend. But in truth, only God knows whether we will simply bend or whether we will break.
Matthew 24
 36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
So, to answer those who ask me…”Where should I put my money?”, let’s wait and see what money is left in 2012 and what that money is worth. Avoid debt, pay down outstanding high interest obligations and, if you can work and you can find work, go back to work until we not only bottom out (2012) but for up to five years beyond as we fabricate our new economic language. Pray if you are so fortunate to have faith in these difficult times I know it helps me. Keep your eye on my blog and I will reveal more about how I come to know what I know and what more there is for you to know.
Frank Bosson (From his series “A New Day Dawns…Sort Of!” CEO, The Bosson Group