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Huizenga (Blockbuster) Book; Great Lessons; Ugly Lessons

I just listened to a book about the founder of Blockbuster Video and Waste Management, Wayne Huizenga. There were some excellent and horrible lessons.

Good Lessons:

Cleanliness. He kept his garbage trucks immaculate, as he thought cleanliness was a reflection of business overall. We absolutely agree with that, having had bad experiences with attorneys and service providers who were less than tidy.

Customer Service Obsession. He went to ridiculous lengths to make sure he never lost a single customer, no matter how big he got. When he bought the Miami Dolphins, he fired the top 20 Senior Managers, and hired 200 more service attendants for game day.

Paying Top Dollar For Employees is Cheaper. He always paid top dollar for employees b/c it was too expensive to lose, re-hire, and re-train new talent. Many employers do not properly account for that cost.

Sharing the Wealth. He offered extremely generous stock options to employees as a way to make sure all success was shared, and that everyone worked for the good of the company overall.

Ugly Lessons:
Workaholism, Ego, Dead Exec’s: As time went on and successes mounted, he became an obsessive workaholic, often working from 7 AM to 9 PM, seven days a week. Worse, he pushed his executives to do the same in a sort of morbid competition. Several of them died in their early 50s from overwork and stress.

I suspect the widows of those dead executives don’t look back and think: “well, my husband has been dead for 20 years, but it was worth it b/c Wayne is now worth $2.6 billion instead of $900 million; things might have been pretty tight for poor Wayne if my husband hadn’t worked himself to death…”

What a waste.

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(925) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646