Industrial controls Darwin awards


Thread Starter

Jack Grenard

Dick Morley, big mind that he is, suggested to me recently that "we could make up some neat ones re companies." He meant fictionalizing the Darwin awards chosen each year from the world's news stories: In India, an elephant trainer gets stomped and killed by an elephant who won't give up the body--for two weeks. Another, from a previous year: A drunk, climbing a high fence with theft in mind, falls on a tree and gets fatally impaled. The name Darwin was applied because people's stupid actions usually removed them from the human gene pool. Here are some neat and nasty Darwin award candidates from the world of controls. You can decide which are fictional. * A major electrical manufacturer moves most of its operations from a northern state to a southern state. In doing so, it loses many of its good employees, who don't want to encounter a different culture. * A major European electrical manufacturer changes the president of its US operation every few years, which means key members of the staff change. Customers continually find new voices answering their phones. Business dwindles. * A financially-troubled small controls maker who has built its business on hardware brings in a new president to fix things. Software-minded, the new guy practically scraps the hardware operation, emphasizing software. The company barely survives, finally tossing him out. * A real smart midwestern software company offers a great deal to a computer scientist in a competing firm on the east coast, then gets a rude shock when the eastern company sues. Says the judge: The scientist can't work in the industry for two more years, until his non-compete agreement ends. Some of these companies are still around. If you're close to the industry you'll recognize who's who. Some of the people involved have gone on to their Darwinian rewards in other companies, other industries, usually in disgrace. Copyright 2001 by Jack Grenard