Just to be clear, my ranting about Red Carpet was a happy rant. I really like it. I found a couple nits to pick, of course, which I will probably put in the bug tracker as suggestions.
dan, schoen, and cdent have been making interesting and I think insightful comments about the stock market and some business practices the world seems to take as given. I think the relentless push for growth and expansion by corporations is ultimately driven by the stock market. The corporations have to point to continued growth in order to keep their shareholders happy and keep their market cap up. Why isn't it enough to just meet payroll and put just a little extra in the bank? A few months ago I read in Business Week that the big telcos are starting to get nervous because their shareholders are selling. Why are the shareholders selling? Because these big telcos are posting profits of $5 billion instead of $10 billion. Not revenue, profit. And that's not enough. No kidding!
I haven't yet worked for a public company and I hope I am never in a position where I have to. I feel kind of guilty about holding a 401k but that's a more complicated issue. I want to have a retirement fund, I don't want to be a burden on my children. But in order to keep pace with inflation money must be "invested" and any time money is "invested" in any fashion it is eventually reaching someone who is expected to provide "return on investment." Which is fine, the privately-held company where I work is the same principle - they give us paychecks and we as a group are expected to create revenue which meets or hopefully exceeds expenses. The problem I have with the stock market is an issue of scale. It seems that among publicly-held companies "return on investment" has finally evolved to mean "astronomical profits achieved by draconian means." I'd rather my money not be a part of that.