Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

I may start shopping at "Whole Paycheck"

On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published this article as a follow-up to John Mackey's August editorial that caused a lot of backlash towards himself and his company, Whole Foods. You can read the original editorial here.

Although some of his language is not quite ideal in my mind (he talks about companies having a "deeper purpose" and being "good citizens", which could be interpreted as meaning that they have a duty of some sort to society), overall I am a huge fan of his perspective.

For one, he does a great job of pointing out that most companies aren't started solely for the purpose of making tons of money for their owners or shareholders. While I personally believe there is nothing wrong with working hard for the primary purpose of making a profit, given the negative reputation that "profit" has in our society today, it is an important first step for folks to realize that money often isn't the primary motivator for "those evil capitalists". As Mackey points out, "I've met a lot of successful entrepreneurs. They all started their businesses not to maximize shareholder value or money but because they were pursuing a dream." This is certainly true in my experience.

Another great point he makes is regarding the attitude so prevalent today that someone else out there is more capable of making decisions for an individual than that individual himself. He says, "The assumption behind that is that people don't care about their own health, and that somebody else has to—a nanny or somebody—has to take care of me because people are too stupid to make these decisions themselves. That's not been our experience. We find our team members [employees], not surprisingly, seem to care a whole lot about their health." Of course they do.

Finally (for this post), I am encouraged by his activism. "Mr. Mackey's latest crusade involves traveling to college campuses across the country, trying to persuade young people that business, profits and capitalism aren't forces of evil." Go John Mackey! I'll see you in the cheese isle... (I love cheese).