Carly Fiorina on Corporations
Republican primary challenger and former CEO
Why are the pharmaceutical companies consolidating? Why are there 5 even bigger Wall Street banks now instead of the 10 we used to have? Because when government gets big and powerful, the big feel like they need to get even bigger to deal with all that power. And meanwhile, the small & the powerless go out of business.
This is how socialism starts. Government causes a problem and then government steps in to solve the problem. This is why, fundamentally, we have to take our government back.
And, meanwhile, small businesses are getting crushed. Big government favors the big, the powerful, and the well-connected and crushes the small and the powerless. It's why we have to reduce the size and power of government--to level the playing field between big and powerful and small and powerless
FIORINA: Well, I think we have two fundamental structural problems in our economy. One is that we have tangled people up in a web of dependence from which they can't escape. We're leaving lots of talent on the field. Secondly, we're crushing small businesses now. Elizabeth Warren is right, crony capitalism is alive and well. Big business and big government go hand in hand. But for the first time in US history now, we are destroying more businesses than we are creating. And so, while we have 10 banks, too big to fail, now have become 5 big banks too big to fail, [while] 3,000 community banks have gone out of business, and that's where family-owned and small businesses get their chance. That's important because small businesses create 2/3 of the new jobs and employ 1/2 the people. So, if we want the middle class growing again, we've got to get small and family-owned businesses going and growing again.
FIORINA: Well, I'm very proud of our record. We took Hewlett-Packard from about $44 billion to $88 billion. We took the growth rate from 2% to 9%. We tripled the rate of innovation to 11 patents a day. We quadrupled cash flow. We went from a market laggard to a market leader in every product category and every market segment. And we grew jobs. It is true that I managed through the worst technology recession in 25 years. Virtually every technology stock was down over that same period. And while it's true that in a technology recession, we had to lay people off, the truth is we outsourced more California jobs to Texas than we did to India or China, demonstrating we have to compete for every job.
Given these tough times, our top priorities should be economic growth and job creation. That means focusing our efforts on supporting the small businesses, family-owned businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs that employ more than 50% of Americans and create 2/3 of our nation's new jobs.
Carly recognizes the importance of increasing access to capital so that small businesses have the resources they need to succeed, reducing the cost of doing business so that home-grown entrepreneurs have the opportunity to thrive, and eliminating barriers to job creation to put Americans back to work.
Hegel had a profound effect on me. The philosophy of thesis, antithesis, synthesis and the possibility of reconciliation between two seemingly opposing ideas, seemed both brilliant and practical to me. Later in life I would use this mental model over and over in business. In fact, many years later when a reporter asked me who my favorite business author was, I responded, "Hegel. You know: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. At Lucent we were trying to turn a one-hundred-year-old company into a start-up. At HP, we're trying to both celebrate our history and create the future,"
Change doesn't require 100 percent of the people to go along. It doesn't even take the majority. It does take critical mass.
With renewed energy we talked nuts and bolts, and by the end it was clear to all of us that despite all the issues that made our jobs difficult, we could make very real improvements in every aspect of our business. The exercise has been long and difficult, but everyone felt better when we'd finished.
Marketing and advertising are, of course, one form of communication. And although there are many forms of communication, there is but one audience. Experts will argue that there are many audiences--there are employees, and customers, and shareholders and communities. I believe that in reality these have all become one. First, technology has now made it so; for example, it is simply no longer possible to speak to employees without shareholders hearing about it or vice versa. Second, particularly for a large public company, most people are members of more than one group. An employee is a shareholder. A shareholder is also a customer and lives in a community where the company has a large facility. A customer lives there as well and owns stock.
In that first interview, and for all six years in which I was named the Most Powerful Woman in Business, I said that although I was flattered and honored, the list was a bad idea. It is one thing to highlight successful businesswomen. That can be a wonderful way to encourage other women to enter the business world, or perhaps to stay there, and it can serve to remind everyone that diversity make business better. But the list sends a different message altogether. Women have to compete against one another because they can't compete with men.
After that, everyone always asked: "How does it feel to be the most powerful woman in business?" I would try to deflect the question by saying, "I've never thought of myself as a woman in business. I've thought of myself as a person doing business who happens to be a woman."
Leaders can be made, but not every manager can become a leader. Leaders are defined by character, capability and collaboration.
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