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Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Digital Coffee Maker, Stainless Steel (46201)
Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Digital Coffee Maker, Stainless Steel (46201)
Price: $43.99
56 used & new from $32.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent with one minor but annoying packaging flaw from Hamilton Beach, February 11, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Excellent. Except: the manufacturer does not include any starter paper filters with the coffee maker. This is ridiculous: it meant I couldn't make my first cup of coffee until I took a trip to the store. Including a couple of filters would have been of negligible cost and is really inexcusable.

Other than that, it is a terrific coffee machine. It is easy to fill because the machine swivels easily on the counter. The coffee holding unit lifts out easily and is a breeze to clean. The coffee once made is kept warm (and the warming is adjustable). The "1-4" cup setting works well for small batches.

It takes an optional water filter which we haven't used. The darker roast setting is a bit too much for me, so I don't use it, but the normal setting makes a fine cup of coffee. Overall, a great price performer.


How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story
How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed out loud, January 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Short but quite funny. And sweet. A follow on story featuring the same lead characters would be great. But you're asking, "What - no synopsis?" It's a short story and anything I might write would be a spoiler.


Sony VPL-VW50 LCD Projector Assembly with High Quality Original Bulb Inside
Sony VPL-VW50 LCD Projector Assembly with High Quality Original Bulb Inside
5 used & new from $70.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Great but expect slight burning odor initially, September 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Well packaged, easy to install and works well. So why not 5 stars? Because of an odor, some coating burning off, that has taken several hours to diminish. Perhaps my fault, as I didn't wipe off the bulb in its assembly prior to installation and I don't recall if the instructions were to do so - other than to note that they didn't say, "wipe off the bulb first to avoid a foul smell like burning electronics!" And, I wouldn't know what cleanser would be safe to use in any case. If you can live with the wires-on-fire smell for a while, the product is fine.


Black Powder Coated Wall Mounted Beer Bottle Opener
Black Powder Coated Wall Mounted Beer Bottle Opener
Offered by KegWorks
Price: $10.21
5 used & new from $5.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great product


Square Plastic Salad Plates, White, 8 Inch - 10 Count
Square Plastic Salad Plates, White, 8 Inch - 10 Count
Offered by Amazing Disposable
Price: $10.49
7 used & new from $5.79

5.0 out of 5 stars ... them once at a bridal shower and they were perfect for that, August 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Lightweight plastic - we only needed to use them once at a bridal shower and they were perfect for that. We did wash them and most we were able to use a few more times, but some cracked during the wash cycle.


Real Foods Original Corn Thins (6X5.3 Oz)
Real Foods Original Corn Thins (6X5.3 Oz)
Offered by True Great Deals
Price: $21.12
21 used & new from $17.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great purchase


Phase 10 MOD Card Game
Phase 10 MOD Card Game
2 used & new from $49.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Phase 10 MOD Card Game (Toy)
Great game - cards stay in good shape with the plastic protective case. Shipping was fast.


LinenTablecloth 60 x 102-Inch Rectangular Polyester Tablecloth Navy Blue
LinenTablecloth 60 x 102-Inch Rectangular Polyester Tablecloth Navy Blue
Price: $9.99
6 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tablecloth. It came out of the box with ..., August 14, 2014
Excellent tablecloth. It came out of the box with fold creases, but ironed out wonderfully. I washed and dried them after our party, and no need to touch up when pulled from the dryer. Good quality and good weight.


LinenTablecloth 54-Inch Square Polyester Tablecloth Navy Blue
LinenTablecloth 54-Inch Square Polyester Tablecloth Navy Blue
Price: $9.99
5 used & new from $4.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tablecloth. They came out of the box with ..., August 14, 2014
Excellent tablecloth. They came out of the box with fold creases, but ironed out wonderfully. I washed and dried them after our party, and no need to touch up when pulled from the dryer. Good quality and good weight.


A View from Beneath the Dancing Elephant: Rediscovering IBM's Corporate Constitution
A View from Beneath the Dancing Elephant: Rediscovering IBM's Corporate Constitution
Price: $7.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent lamentation and history of IBM's early culture for current and former IBM employees, July 25, 2014
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An excellent lamentation and history of IBM's early culture; this book is very readable and relatable. It seems that the book's target is current and former IBM employees, perhaps the former to learn the history, the latter for the catharsis. As a business text, it misses the mark a bit; I'd like to see a follow on book that closes the gaps. If someone who has never worked for IBM is looking for a text on the impact of organizational culture on business outcomes, this is a good background read. There is more research to do to make this a general business book and I'd love to read a follow-on that considers IBM's history to inform a path for modern business leaders to consider. More on that below.

Many years ago, IBM was known for its extraordinary corporate culture: good performers could count on having their jobs forever, the firm showed loyalty to its employees in acts both small and large, and employees were proud to refer to themselves as "IBMers." Employees returned this gift of loyalty with un-coerced dedication.

Mr. Greulich paints the original "basic beliefs" of the firm, its moral and ethical compass, as its "constitution" -- the framework for the firm's behavior toward its employees, and for its employees towards each other.

As Mr. Greulich points out, things have changed so much that you'd be hard pressed to find an recent IBM hire who can relate to those times past. Today, instead of a relationship based culture, there's more a transactional culture: expect no loyalty from the firm, work for the paycheck, assume you'll leave eventually, at your choice or IBM's. Instead of trusting in management, one is by default skeptical of them, partly because of the annual lay offs (euphemistically called "resource actions"). In today's world, the constitution of basic beliefs, and the way that IBM implemented them, seem hopelessly old fashioned.

Great, I enjoyed the read. And then I asked myself, "so what?" Where does one go with this background information? I would like to imagine that there's more value in Mr. Greulich's work than just the catharsis. So let me imagine Mr. Greulich is writing a follow-on book, one suitable for a university course on business organizational models, or ethics and responsibility toward employees. Or, a book for a business leader who wants to imagine a considerate, ethical and effective cultural framework for her company and is looking for ideas. Yes, I understand, Mr. Greulich might not have been aiming for that broad business readership demographic for his book. He might have written it primarily for IBM employees past. But, what if he were to extend his analysis to consider the broader business context? He might consider writing about the extensibility of his experience:

(1) Mr. Greulich portrays the basic beliefs -oriented culture as wonderful -- and surely they were for most employees. But were they an effective business approach in terms of any meaningful metrics beyond employee attitude and loyalty? For example: if the culture was so great, why were there so many layers of management, and so much bureaucracy, leading to such a high general and administrative expense?

How is it that the firm made so many errors that it found itself at the brink of bankruptcy (just prior to Lou Gerstner's turn as CEO in 1993)? Why is it that one of the first action items that Mr. Gerstner identified for IBM's recovery was to refocus the entire firm on client success? This even though the compass had explicitly identified service to the customer as a basic belief.

From an outside observer's point of view, those basic beliefs didn't do much to prevent disaster at IBM in the early 1990s. Given the customer focus issue, one might imagine that -- at least one of --the basic beliefs were completely ineffective. How did "respect for the individual" align with the legions of checkers upon checkers in the bureaucracy? It doesn't seem difficult to imagine why someone like Mr. Gerstner would think it is time to eliminate this ineffective constitution.

(2) Mr. Greulich suggests that Mr. Gerstner might have found ways to incorporate the basic beliefs into his restructure of IBM from 1993 to 2002. But given their abject failure to positively influence the firm's financials, what would have been Mr. Gerstner's motivation? To spend considerable funds "just" to assure workforce loyalty and delight may have seemed irrelevant to him. He was brought in explicitly to fix the business, so the key question is, how does a "historical IBM basic beliefs approach to the workforce" facilitate the combination of margin improvement, revenue generation, and new product investment required to succeed? This would be a very interesting research topic.

(3) In the post-Gerstner leadership era at IBM, Mr. Palmisano (and then Ms. Rometty) took over as CEO. Unlike Mr. Gerstner, they were long time IBM employees; they could remember the basic beliefs that Mr. Greulich describes as IBM's constitution. So: why didn't they find ways to bring those beliefs back into play, to eliminate annual layoffs (which anyone, even without management training or an MBA could figure out would be extraordinarily demoralizing and disruptive in the long term), and repair the old -style pension system?

Mr. Palmisano choose to restructure those basic beliefs using input from his "values jam" to rebuild them. Presumably he thought that approach would resonate with his employee base. The net was: dedication to every client's success, innovation that matters, and trust and personal responsibility in all relationships. Notably though, Mr. Palmisano's list was all about how the employees should act, and not about how the firm should behave towards those employees. Is this the key turning point in how IBM (and perhaps most US firms) think about their workforce?

I wonder if Mr. Palmisano's updated values list would have justified breaking through race, color and creed barriers back in 1953 as IBM did then, 11 years prior to the Civil Rights Act. Still the question: why not return to "old IBM beliefs?" Is it because he didn't see them working effectively at the goals that matter to him (revenue and earnings growth)? Why might this be the case? What adaptations might enable a highly loyal employee base and not unreasonably add to costs? What is acceptable EPS growth (compared to maximum EPS growth)? The key difference between these questions and the ones in (2) above are that here the lead executives were quite familiar with the old culture, as opposed to Mr. Gerstner who had no prior IBM employment experience.

(4) As much as IBM had been an anomaly in its corporate culture prior to the early 1990s, in the 21st century today's IBM appears to act with the norm. Most (if not all) US firms eliminated their defined benefit pension plans over the past 20 years. Recent college graduates are told they should expect to change jobs frequently and not stick with the same firm for decades (as their parents might have). Is this propaganda to reflect the discontinuation of benefit models that would encourage a long-term workforce, or is it a reflection of the changing values of American companies (i.e., towards a contractor -like, transactional and short term relationship with employees)? Is this portable employment model better for employees or worse?

Are there US -based firms today that reflect the "old IBM culture" - and if so, how are they doing on any metrics? Does Google fit the model? How about Costco? If so, is their retention rate a consequence, and a meaningful benefit? How about firms in the rest of the world?

In summary, Mr. Greulich's book is very well written and one I greatly enjoyed. The target audience appears to be long-term or former IBM employees who can find catharsis in the read. I was, however, hoping for a text that I could recommend to others, say as a guide to how to organize a 21st century firm, or as an analysis of the tradeoffs between employee relationship and business results.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2014 1:14 PM PDT


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