June 21, 2002
Game or Reality

It's just after 7PM and I'm still at work. I'm done with what I needed to do, but I'm in no hurry since Michele and the girls are out of town.

I got a little stressed at work today over part of our budgeting process. In normal person speak what it means is that the comapny plans out how much money we are going to spend next year. Seems simple, but it's not.

I routinely deal with plans and projects that involve millions of dollars. Projects that are under $100,000 aren't scrutinized heavily. We spend around a million dollars a day in just my part of Disney. The money takes on a unreal feel. It's like a game.

In private life, the difference between $50 and $150 is huge in my purchasing decision. At work, money flows out like water. I regularly sign invoices for $10,000. Today I signed for a $30,000 piece of software. I gave it no more thought than most people would give the bill at dinner.

We need it, we got the money, buy it.

But when you stop for a second and consider what that kind of money would buy in 'private life', it boggles the mind. $30,000 would buy Michele the new Volvo she's been eyeing. As it is, it will probably take 5 years to pay off a new car.

It's a strange disconnect with reality. The money doesn't seem real. It's a strange game.

Today we got delivery of a few boxes of hardware. Sitting on the loading dock was around $250,000 worth of gear. That's a fucking entire house sitting outside waiting for us to wheel it inside.

Everything inside the corporation seems like a game. There are rules. There are winners and losers. And most amazingly, there is the rejection of reality. People make decisions based on not what is the best idea, but based on the politics of the company and looking good. For all the financial analysis we do, it's basically ignored in large part.

The company will issue cost cutting edicts that lower morale and productivity over trivial things like "No doughnuts on Fridays!" while at the same time losing $35 million dollars on a film that any thrid grader could have told them would suck. How many doughnuts do we have to forgo to pay off the decision to make a bad movie?

It's simply not reality.

Posted by michael at June 21, 2002 07:26 PM