Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Instant USA

I was eating my instant oatmeal this morning (a.k.a. wallpaper paste), when I realized America has totally transformed into an instant gratification, real time society. Made me think about a great blog I read yesterday written by my good friend, fellow blogger, Tom Rector about the absence of long term thinking (

Read On:
Instant USA – We are caught up in a tidal wave of convenience foods (frozen, shelf stable – a majority being microwaveable), fast foods restaurants (complete with drive thru windows), text messages, Twitter, Foursquare, Loopt, YouTube, Flickr, speed dating, speed networking, Ponzi schemes, etc.

In The 29th Day, the blog I referenced above, Tom alluded to how American corporations, primarily those that are publicly-owned, focus on the short-term versus the long-term. Instead he encourages companies to steal a page from Ford’s recent turnaround. In addition to reorganizing (and reduce) their plants and workforce, Ford redoubled their research, design and marketing efforts to build products that better fit the marketplace long-term.

I too support and continually promote the need for more long-term strategic planning and investment, a topic I addressed back in September: A Lesson from Charlie

In my next blog, I will address how Starbucks in an attempt to further reverse their recent revenue and earnings decline, introduced an instant coffee. I have my reservations whether this is a sound long-term strategy. However, sounds like a great short-term co-promotion: Quaker Instant Oatmeal and Starbucks VIA™.


  1. Of course I think your post today is brilliant...since it references me. Seriously, the current recession has been a wake-up call for many companies, who now realize that they must continuousy focus on running an efficient operation that also takes the long view. Boards will need to sign on as well and hold executives to standard other than short-term stock increases.

    On the Starbucks front, I have mentioned that I am a big fan of the new VIA, simply becasue it delivers on its promise. And by the way, they already have an instant oatmeal at 'bucks and its pretty damn good.

  2. The connection I find interesting is that desire for instant goes up as nutrient density in our food supply goes down.

    For example, in many areas of the country 100% of the population is Vitamin D deficient.

  3. Wall Street is partially to blame for the short-term thinking. Private companies can take short-term hits for the long-term good. Wall Street does not generally accept short-term losses. Having worked for both private and public firms, I witnesses first hand the knee jerk reactions to stock price.