Category Archives: Business

$70,000 a year minimum wage? Yeah, that seems about right.

Dan Price read an article stating that about $75,000 per year is all of an income it takes to be happy, everything above that was just for fun. With that advice the founder of Gravity Payments made a commitment to pull all of his employees up to a minimum wage of $70,000 per year and he’s doing it because he wants to, not because he’s being made to.

If it’s a publicity stunt, it’s a costly one. Mr. Price, who started the Seattle-based credit-card payment processing firm in 2004 at the age of 19, said he would pay for the wage increases by cutting his own salary from nearly $1 million to $70,000 and using 75 to 80 percent of the company’s anticipated $2.2 million in profit this year.

via One Company’s New Minimum Wage: $70,000 a Year – NYTimes.com.

I applaud this man. I really do. He’s making a sacrifice, that he is convinced isn’t really a sacrifice, to make sure his employees are happy and, if the article he read is correct, you can’t be happy unless you are making about $75,000 per year.

The story is a really good one. I hope you follow the link.

Chrysler Workers Drinking: Fired Employees Reinstated At Jefferson North Plant In Detroit

I think it is very likely that unions would still be viewed in a positive light if it weren’t for things like this.

Chrysler has reinstated more than a dozen Jefferson North assembly line workers who were filmed drinking and smoking pot during their breaks.

via Chrysler Workers Drinking: Fired Employees Reinstated At Jefferson North Plant In Detroit.

A news crew filmed over a dozen Chrysler workers drinking and smoking dope on their break. Chrysler fired them, the union filed a grievance in their behalf and an arbitrator told Chrysler to rehire them.

I have no problem with people drinking and smoking dope on their own time as long as they aren’t endangering me or anyone else. I do have a problem with them stepping out for a break from work and coming back intoxicated or stoned. I especially have a problem with them doing this in a manufacturing environment. It is a way to get people killed.

That’s why I’m very disappointed in the union for defending this type of behavior. I think I’m not alone in this and I think this is but one example of why Michigan is about to become a right to work state.

The Shrimp Wars

China and Viet Nam are being accused of dumping shrimp in the US and the US is about to impose some awful large tariffs on these countries’ exports of shrimp. I guess I can kiss cheap shrimp goodbye.

Of course this source is from a Chinese news source so I can expect a little bias toward the Chinese from it but it sounds an awful lot like the Chinese have a point.

An official from the Chinese Shrimp Industry Alliance, an organization established specially because of the dumping charges, said Chinese shrimp producers were able to sell at prices far lower than American shrimp producers because they had invested in modern technology for their shrimp farms and had lower labour costs.

“We are simply more efficient than the US industry, which mostly harvests shrimp from the sea,” he said.

Ewww, I hate hearing those words that another country may be technologically superior to the US but it’s most likely true. That’s the problem with govenrment subsidies they tend to dry up all the reasons for applying technology to a problem.

My Own Economic Indicator

I’ve got a personal economic indicator that is telling me that things are looking up. This indicator is the number of callbacks resulting from all the resume’s I’ve sent out over the last few months. As I stated below, this past week saw me interviewing and being offered a job that I accepted on Monday, a phone interview with another company prior to my interview with the company that I’m now employed by and, since then, several e-mails requesting more information and another couple of companies wanting to interview me.

Now, my getting a lot of interests in my resumes isn’t much in itself but considering the types of nibbles and hard bites I’ve received this is telling me something. One of the companies I interviewed with is a distributor for automation equipment and software. The job they were hiring to fill was a customer support type position that also required developing prototypes for customers to use to know if what they were wanting to do is possible. This tells me they see their customers gearing up to implement new processes and upgrade older ones.

Another company that wanted to interview me but I had already accepted the job with my current employer is looking to upgrade their plant and they wanted to hire people to enable them to do this in house, something you just don’t do unless you are looking at a the project becoming an ongoing job. The company makes mats for industrial work areas, kitchens, etc., the kind that covers concrete floors to give the workers a little cushion under their feet. If this type of business is ramping up what does that tell you about manufacturing?

Yet another company that I interviewed with was seeking a service tech for automated chicken processing equipment. They are looking at their sales expanding and want to make sure that they have people available to resolve service issues with their equipment.

The company that hired me is an electrical engineering company that is getting more work than their current staff can easily handle. Their customers are manufacturers looking to improve productivity or are starting up new lines. Most of their customers are domestic and located throughout the US but I was told I needed to have my passport in order in case I needed to travel overseas unexpectedly.

In July there were no jobs out there and over the nine months since my previous employer closed their Atlanta office I have managed to pick up only a handful of short term projects. Starting in August some jobs started appearing and this month I’m seeing new postings daily and getting people calling me daily. This is not just my job search skills getting better, jobs are appearing and the types of jobs are indication of more jobs opening up on down the pike for manufacturing.

Anyway, that’s my indicator. If you see any flaws in my reasoning please point them out to me but I believe we are looking at unemployment numbers starting to drop in the near future. At least I’m hoping that’s the case.

Think Buggy Whip

Mitch Ratcliffe: The problem is that the media industry is not adapting to changing market conditions, not that illegal copying is destroying the industry.

This is something I’ve been saying for a long time. Sure, there needs to be criminal penalties in order to discourage copyright infringement but if one’s livelihood depends on a business model working then one needs to adapt there business model to current market demands. What we are seeing now is an industry resisting adapting to new technologies and wanting Washington to legislate their business model back into a profitable model. That wasn’t what IP laws were written to accomplish in the first place.

Oh, and don’t think that these laws are being passed just because our legislators believe this is the right thing to do. Influence appears to be being purchased in this areana.

Leap Wireless Files Chapter 11

When my oldest son started driving I bought him a cell phone. “What”, you ask, “How can you afford to give a cell phone to a teenager?” It was a Cricket phone. This service offered only local calling with no roaming and unlimited air time. It is the perfect service for a suddenly mobile teenager. He had a phone for road emergencies, I could check up on him and I got my home phone back. He’s nineteen now and he still uses this service but now the services has been upgraded to offer 500 long distance minutes for about $3 more a month. This is very handy with us living in two different cities.

Now you can understand my consternation in hearing that Leap Wireless has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Leap Wireless is the parent company of Cricket. A year ago the stock was selling for $10, now it sells for less than 8¢. Their build out has resulted in about $1.8 billion in debt and they are having problems paying it back.

Hopefully they will be able to reorganize and get out from under the bankruptcy courts in fairly quick order but I’m afraid the major players in the industry may decide to push them out of the market while they are weak. You see, Leaps threat to the major carriers isn’t in their wireless market, its in their wired market. A lot of Leap’s customers are using their Cricket phone to replace their home phone. Verizon, Cingular, SBC all have interest in selling wired service to homes.

About That Trip to Bristol

Oh, about that trip to Britol, TN I mentioned Tuesday morning, it was very fruitful. I’ve got some work now and I’ll have a little more in Chattanooga next week. I hope I can keep this going.

One thing that I was really impressed by was the amount of monitoring this customer wants to do with their emmissions. They are going beyond what is required and are trying to anticipate any future requirments in order to minimize their emmissions, both air and water. I was impressed.

Business is good

After chasing down leads for the past two months I now have one purchase order in hand and another request for my services. Both of these jobs look like they may very well become ongoing things. Maybe things are about to shake loose.