Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Odds and ends

Rethreads. the words has been on my mind very much of lately. No, I am not referring to the strips of rubber that are seen along our highways but the process by which these strips are the final result: Rethreads.

The process began way back in the 50's and has revolutionized the tire industry by extending their useful lives but if that was a god-send discovery back then, I would say it has grown into the antitheses; an albatros around my neck if I may so boldly say.

Consider a few examples:

Disney's most recent reintroduction of "Cinderella." This company, which hasn't made a good movie since Shrek is stuck in the rethread mode. They take their age old movies, add a few enhancements and sell them to the public at full price. It is cruel to watch this once great company relying on past glories to blaze a new path.

Disney would have been better if they would simply hire Dreamworks SKG to remake this movie; not only this one but all the others and while they are at it, rewrite them, if deemed possible.

On second thoughts: don't rewrite, bundle the original with the new and make it two-for-one deal! Doing this would not only lend value to the original movie but it would let Disney be seen as a leader in the animation industry.

A second example is Microsoft. Beginning with Windows 98, the Redmond giant has been rethreading their DOS. I am granting Win95 as the start but, like Disney, this is all Microsoft has done: add a few features to the original product and sell it at full price. Ironically, their world was threatened with the advent of virus, spyware, malware and Trojan horses but it is back to business as usual with their upcoming release of Vista.

Interestingly enough, these two companies have made a success out of the rethreading process because their products are voluntarily acquired. Neither MS or Disney held a gun to anyone's head and forced us to buy their goods but in other realm, rethreading has reached new heights: or is it new lows?

Detroit is rife with rethreads. Top management has been recycled in the automotive industry for years and we are finally reaping the benefits of their collective wisdom. Finger pointing, name calling and face blaming is all that's left; the industry is in a sad state of disarray as these rethreads struggle to find their footing.

The next phase, "fallout" has already begun. Bankruptcies, both personal and business are in the works. Government's move to halt the tide is too late. People will simply walk away from the problem when it becomes overburdening and the Chairman of GM will be the first top level casuality.

How can new ideas come from the same people?

Has it ever dawned on these people that it took a Frenchman to save Nissan?

The new models rethread old ideas. Chrysler hit upon a Hemi engine in an old Charger. GM is using their Cavalier shape to build a Pontiac G6, putting a large 6.0 Liter V8 engine in it to woo the power crowd.

New models with old names: New models with old engines.

We can't seem to break the mold!

Dear GM: Take the engine block that was used to build the 4.3L V6. Scrap the six cylinders and build a V8-32 valve engine. Use individual fuel injector ports rather than the single port in the throttle body.

Throw away the automatic transmission and craft a six-speed shifter to match the engine you've just build.

Take the Pontiac Grand Prix. Strip out the crap inside. Expand the line and build the car in two more configurations: Rear Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive. The regular engine go into the RWD, while the high output turbo-charged version go into the AWD.

To sell the car: Make an infomercial, telling the public how the car was made but use regular people as the drivers: The most selling point would be as the commercial ends, you see a man dropping off his son at school. The door closes and Dad starts dreaming about the curves in the road as he pulls off...

Make driving, exciting again. People will buy it.

But if it is possible to break the rethreading trend in business, it is a daunting task in politcs, especially down in Potamacville. The most recent nomination to the Supreme Court by GW Bush is a classic illustration.

What to make of this?


It is business as usual because this is the end result of our political dieltic. There is no spoiler when Democrats and Republicans disagree. They squabble but in the end we get one or the other. In short: the new Republocrat; a little of this, a little of that and nothing for us.

Our polictical stability has become our achilles' heel!


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