business news in context, analysis with attitude

On Friday, I got the following email from MNB user Roger Hancock, which seemed to be prompted by the confluence of stories and commentaries that appeared that day…though there also was a broader – and legitimate – point being made:

Your blog brings a perspective to the stories you report on that, as a whole, takes a wide-angle view. When people tend to be singly focused on the business at hand, which I have found to be almost universally true whether in small business or big, a step back for a broader view brings insight and energy.

The economy, or more specifically, the economic period we are in seems to have grabbed you in a way that narrows this broad perspective. The economy has cycled for decades. This new phase that has more global inputs than ever brings new challenges. The future of energy sources and their allocation also brings new challenges, and ultimately will bring changes that create a sense of the unknown. Unknown often brings with it a feeling of fear.

Working through the unknown, whether a new marketing concept (i.e. Fresh and Easy), or a merger between companies with very different cultures (loads of examples here), with an optimism that the finished product will add value to society and strengthen the human character, is one theme that your blog consistently carries. The economic challenges that the US and the globe face seem to be getting different treatment in MorningNewsBeat.

Perhaps you are in the know about policies and agendas that inform your position. Even so, a voice of optimism will be a beacon that people look to as they weather economic challenges. Whether I eat spam or something even less appealing, the hope of a better day will make the drab diet more tolerable. I encourage you to spice your insights about what the economic times mean to consumers with glimmers of light that shine on a bright future.

Excellent points.

Funny, even as I was writing and reviewing Friday’s series of stories, I noted that there was a line of pessimism that seemed to be drawn through them. I thought about it, but decided not to make any changes – after all, these stories were what they were, and my reactions to them were honest, even if a bit of a downer.

You’re right, though. I’m probably less optimistic when it comes to economic matters than I am in other areas – though I would point out that I fall into the Tom Friedman school of thought here, that there is tremendous opportunity to be found even in the financial tumult of the moment, but only if we make the hard rather than easy and political choices.

Some of my pessimism probably comes from the fact that like most consumers, I’m dealing with economic issues every day in the form of two college tuitions and an SUV that has a year left on the lease. (That sucker is gone, and will be replaced by a hybrid, ASAP.) And I remain wholly unconvinced that no matter who wins the US elections this fall, real change may be impossible.

But I’ll try to be better at looking on the bright side of life, especially on these issues, even if I cannot promise that pessimism will slip through from time to time. In the end, I’m just a consumer/citizen like everybody else – albeit one with a soapbox – and I’m feeling the same things that everyone else is.

Every once in a while, I get an email that makes everything worthwhile. Such an email came in over the weekend from MNB user Ron Losch:

I wanted to pass on a quick note of thanks for the work you do communicating timely issues related to the food industry. Your newsletter has been a viable part of my daily reading for as long as it has been out, not sure how many years now.

On numerous occasions I have used your information to help train, coach and guide my team to a better understanding of what is happening in our business.

After 44 years at Publix, I am hanging up my apron, to try and enjoy retirement. I only say this, because I wanted you to know how important your newsletter is to the thousands of food industry executives and associates, and although I will no longer work at Publix, I have forwarded your address to my home computer so I can keep my hands on the pulse.

You brought a tear to my eye. And I thank you, Ron, and wish you a productive and rewarding retirement.

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