Apple to US government: Change mindset of defeat
New York: Cash-rich Apple can offer many tips to the debt-ridden US government in financial management, says the Wall Street Journal, not the least being overcoming the "psychology of defeat".
What would happen if Apple had to tackle the US debt crisis, asks David Weidner who has covered Wall Street for over two decades. "First, it would eliminate spending that's not working.
Then it would make a commitment to spend if necessary. Third, it would look for ideas to spend on. Finally, it would call customers' bluff. How much are you willing to pay for what the government gives you?'' he writes.
According to the report, the current US crisis has less to do with spending and revenue and more to do with psychology.
The entire US system has "taken on a mind-set of defeat. It doesn't seem to matter that the business model - taxing for revenue, spending for growth - isn't broken. After all, it's working in Germany, Canada, India and China.
"We've given up on the model because of our debt situation. It's a problem, and a pressing one. A default or lower credit rating would cause further damage to our credit picture.''
But unlike the US government, Apple, Google and Whole Foods never allowed the psychology of defeat to overwhelm them. They went through tough times, adapted and never stopped innovating and growing, according to the report.
"Apple is the most cash-rich company on the US landscape. But it wasn't always that way. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak borrowed money from an Intel executive to start Apple. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was losing money. It was psychologically on the ropes. Jobs borrowed USD 150 million from Bill Gates at Microsoft Corp. and overhauled the company, spending on ideas that worked, killing projects that didn't. You know the rest of the story,'' says the report.
"Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google Inc. in 1995. The company was born out of a federal grant. Its first business funding came from a co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Then the company raised USD 25 million from venture capitalists. Google is also cash-rich, but it recently went USD 3 billion into debt because it needed to establish a credit profile,'' the report adds.
"John Mackey founded Whole Foods Inc on a USD 45,000 loan from family and friends in 1978. The company was forced to borrow more when a fire destroyed its first store (it didn't have insurance). The company still had USD 508 million in long-term debt at the end of September.''
There are only two types of companies: those growing and those shrinking, the report says.
"The US government today has officially become the latter.''