The Cap’ns Business Wisdom

My minting yesterday of “The Coffee-mate Principle” in relation to Jack FM makes this a good time to review the Wisdom of Cap”n Ken”s Business Principles. All of you up-and-comers in the world of business pay attention, now.

- The Mail Machine Principle: Do not reveal your ability to perform a task unless you are willing to accept that task as a permanent part of your job.

This simple but powerful lesson is the most famous bit of business Wisdom I”ve coined. It arose during my time as a student editor of LSU Magazine (working alongside loyal Wisdom reader John G.). Another student co-worker – Doug G. – got so fed up trying to find the people who were supposed to run the mail machine that he figured out how to do it himself. Then one day another staffer was looking for the mail room guy and Doug said “I know how to work the mail machine.” Before long, Doug was the default choice when people needed mail run. Lesson learned.

OK, until my creation of “The Coffee-mate Principle” yesterday, The Mail Machine Principle was really the only fantastic business principle I”d come up with. But nonetheless, it”s time to officially release the brilliant business Wisdom of Capn” Ken, Mark II.

- The Coffee-mate Principle: When a company attempts to cash in on a trend that is a reaction to that company”s own misguided products, principles or strategies, the appropriate consumer reaction is to not support the company, but rather to support the innovative companies the newly-trendy company is trying to imitate.

Examples include Blockbuster”s attempt to muscle out NetFlix; McDonald”s selling salads; “cool” American-made cars; AOL (so many reasons) and, of course, Coffee-mate selling real half and half.

So those are the cornerstones of Cap”n Ken”s Business Wisdom. I welcome your ideas for other important business principles.

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