Stone World Blog

Are Obama Fans Too Optimistic?

January 21, 2009
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Regardless of where you fall in the political spectrum, you are likely looking forward to a change in Washington. If you are a business owner or manager, you are especially excited by the prospects of a new cadre of leaders generating optimism among consumers.

I am right there with you. Consumer confidence is the lynchpin to fixing our broken economy.

Here’s an example of how this works. Today I got a call from XM Radio, touting its new offerings from its merger with Sirius Satellite Radio. This is at least the third call from XM since I let my free trial expire a couple months ago.

They offered me a sweet deal. They were discounting their service even further than the “half off the first year” deal they originally offered. Now, they wanted to restore my old service, plus give me 40 additional channels, for just $3.99/month.

I actually thought their service was pretty cool. Catching a few laughs on the Blue Collar Comedy channel is a nice perk when so much negative news is at hand. But I turned them down.

Hence, I am part of the problem. People representing companies with good products are hearing the word “no” to even the very best offers. Like dominos falling, each “no” leads to more pessimism.

My colleague Dan Murfey, publisher of Site Prep magazine, just returned from the Association of Equipment Distributors-Condex show in San Diego. Although attendance was down, cautious optimism was up. Why?

Dan explained that President Obama’s stimulus program promising a massive public works program has given construction equipment manufacturers hope. Many are projecting that the second half of 2009 will produce an increase in orders for backhoes, skid steers, excavators and more. This kind of optimism will go a long way to regaining economic momentum. The more people say yes to buying products and services, the more our economy will rebound.

Unfortunately, there are footnotes to this theory, as noted by the pundits who populate our airwaves. One observer commented that public works projects for infrastructure like roads, bridges and water systems are notoriously slow to develop. These projects often take years-not months-to complete. We might not see any measureable stimuli to our economy until 2010 or 2011.

Another pundit took shots at the “green jobs” President Obama hopes to create. The pundit claimed that goals for green job creation dwarf the ability of industries like solar and alternative energy to absorb new workers at a viable pace.

Skeptics might have a point. Can well-intentioned federal job-creation programs really meet the lofty expectations? I’ll bet my new Obama commemorative plate that many of these programs will be busts. But some may work beyond our dreams.

What about you? With our new leadership in Washington promising change and hope, are you ready to buy products and services that you’ve postponed purchasing in recent months?
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Turning The Titanic

Bill Rogers
January 21, 2009
You know why the Titanic hit that iceburg? Because it takes a long time to turn something that big with that much momentium -- even in an emergency. What we have now is someone willing to chart a new course. The hightened expectations are in part a fantasy of the media and a weapon of partisan politians who can't wait to lay some liability at the feet of our new President. The recovery will be long and hard, but every journey begins with one step. We just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other...


Tim Fausch
January 23, 2009
Bill, Thanks for sharing. Your Titanic comment is dead on. Unfortunately, we're seeing many companies unable to avoid the icebergs and sink. We've reached a point where discipline judgement, sacrifice and accountability are needed in business, government and our personal spending. Americans will adjust, but as you say, it will be slow and painful. Tim


January 25, 2009
Finally a forum where there is thoughtful commentary on the current political climate change. It's puzzling, sad and unAmerican, in my view, to read the vitriolic lies about a man who to me appears competent, straightforward and with intentions to "fix" things. I wonder why some (not all and getting fewer by the day) hate America, themselves and one of another race so intensely that that is all they see. I hope Obama is successful, if not we are in for more trouble than we have now - and that's for sure.

Plumbing Distributor is still not sure

Ryan Hemphill
January 28, 2009
We are a plumbing distributor and showroom in Illinois, and at our company we certainly do not have a "whew, it'll be over soon" attitude. There is a little more optimism that things might make a change for the better, but we certainly are not holding off on any actions taken to stay positive in this economy.

Plumbing Distributor is still not sure

Ryan Hemphill
January 28, 2009
We are a plumbing distributor and showroom in Illinois, and at our company we certainly do not have a "whew, it'll be over soon" attitude. There is a little more optimism that things might make a change for the better, but we certainly are not holding off on any actions taken to stay positive in this economy.


March 19, 2009
to be practable you must beleave that the guys in D.C. have no idea what it is like to run a business and what to do when you hit a slow down which was caused by them. hang on to your assets as best you can, try to do the best for you loyal employees and quit dreaming that obmama is the greatest because he has little experience for the mess we are in



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