Did "He" (Me) Lose It?

My post "Gross Negligence" (about my lack of Posting, actually) drew any number of comments, including quite a few about my sad bemusement at the idea of a Nissan-Renault-GM combo of some sort. "Mike" rattled my cage this morning (all good comments!). And I rattled back; my reply borders on rude and crosses the apparent border of sensitivity. My only defense is that I believe what I said.

I'd love to get your Comments on our exchange. Did I indeed "lose it"?

The exchange:

Mike: 1. The entire GM/Renault/Nissan deal was put up by Kirk Kerkorian, whose company owns about 10% GM's stock—NOT by GM management. Stop skewering GM management for this idea because not only did Wagoner and Company not come up with it, they aren't very enthused about it either. Please pay closer attention before ranting in comments.

2. So big mergers and big companies never work? It's pretty easy for all the self-proclaimed experts herein to say so and back it up with some Wall Street numbers (which you use when they agree with your ideas, but ignore when they don't). That's all pretty useless to those of us on the front lines in these companies trying to make them work. You see, we are the ones who have to find the 'synergies' and try to mold two cultures into one—with a profit at the end of the day. So, either offer advice on how to make it happen or shut up. Just saying "you're wrong" is an easy cop out.

(Posted by Mike at July 13, 2006 06:37 AM)

Tom: Mike, the only reason Kerkorian is in a position to do what he is doing is because of 30+ years, going back to the first gas crisis, of Gross Incompetence by GM top management. Only last year, Rick Wagoner said in public that he had market research that us bozos-on-the-street didn't have access to that proved that consumers didn't care two hoots about gas prices—thence he continued to be "SUV man." Last night I had dinner with my local Chevy dealer—he can't give the damn things away (and that's almost the literal truth). (The person who runs my speaking business is trying to trade her SUV for a more gas-efficient car—and despite its youth and mint condition she is being offered less than half bluebook as trade value.)

Practical idea? If you are crunched by a mega-merger or outfit run by repeatedly demonstrated incompetents, quit and get a job at a modest size company where you can actually make a difference to yourself and to the consumers you serve.

Look Mike, I'm not the totally heartless insensitive jerk you may think I am, but the fact is that you've had 30 years' warning that GM couldn't bat its way out of a wet paper bag in a monsoon. I'm past the point of admiring your "gumption." To stay at GM is a fool's errand. Period. And that's more true if you have 4 children, ages 4,6,8,10, than if you're unencumbered.

(Posted by tom peters at July 13, 2006 09:18 AM)

Attached is a very short PowerPoint, more or less on this topic, that I put together a few days ago, prior to this exchange.