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Arrivederci, guys!

Marcus Aurelius

Just a note to say so long for a couple of days. I'm taking off for Rome this afternoon to speak at a large conference of project managers.  It's a bit weird, I know. But a few years ago, I wrote a book called Rome, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the First Multinational Corporation. A very nice gentleman in Rome who is associated with the conference thought it might be an interesting spin for the assembled multitudes now gathering, and asked me if I would like to come and speak. How many times does one have the opportunity to do this kind of thing? I'll tell you. Not many. So here I go.

The thesis of the book is that Rome was the first corporate entity in history. It began as a mom-and-pop enterprise. Two brothers ran it. They hated each other and one eventually killed the other. Sounds like the garment business, doesn't it? After that, the new company engaged in an aggressive push for expansion, both through friendly and unfriendly acquisitions, eventually rising to the position of #1 in its chosen marketplace. At that point, it devolved into a CEO-centric organization ill-suited to manage its ill-considered expansion into new venues, and was eventually brought down by its own size and incompetence, and by a group of hostile start-ups that ate its lunch.

There are many lessons that may be learned from Rome by those of us who work for similar organizations, as well as by the larger eco-system of which we are all an increasingly nervous part. The similarities between that corporate organization and ours are interesting, if not disquieting.

But frankly, I've had enough disquiet for a while. I think I'll have some pasta instead. The good news is that due to the incipient collapse of our own global empire, the value of the dollar seems to be a bit better against the euro than it has been for quite some time. So I'll only have to put two coins in the fountain when I make a wish.

Ciao for now.

7 Comments Add Comment

Bing, avoid phrases like "evil empire" or "you are either with us or you are against us".

That kinda talk doesn't seem to sit well with the foreign crowd.

Carry euro's not US dollars.

enjoy the trip, sounds like a nice holiday.

If you are walking, carry a handheld GPS. Maps are all but useless there. And don't breathe the air too deeply. Good luck at Terminal T5 -- it is a trip.
Apart from those things, have fun.

There's nothing like the intrigue of a free lunch in a latin setting.

The song contains the words: "three coins in the fountain, which one will the fountain bless".

To get blessed, Stan, dig a little deeper and toss the third coin in the fountain. Who knows? You may come into an unexpected treasure!

Hope you have a fun and a rewarding trip so you can enlighten all the "Bing Blogers" with details of the events that take place on your trip.

Your book, like many others that try to teach a lesson, is very good indeed, the problem with humanity is that we do not learn, we like to think that we live in exceptional and unique times, that "old" rules do not apply to the "new" world (remember ENRON and Silicon Valley in the 90's and their "new" economy schemes?). There is absolutely nothing new under the sun, history repeats itself

Let us know how Europeans view our change in leadership here in America, Inc. Ciao

On behalf of the Italians who read your blog:
Benvenuto, Mr. Bing!

Please, feel free to say anything you like about our Prime Minister and his welcome to the new President of U.S.A.

That would just be enough to make us feel ashamed of electing him in the first place.

I read that book and it led me here...

With such a great lesson from history, why do today's corporate entities keep making the same mistakes. Why can't they learn from other like companies or competitors...Is it ego?

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