Customers first, investors last

Orange County businesses, careers and personal finance
User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 18381
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Customers first, investors last

Postby John Q. Public » Fri May 09, 2014 8:13 pm

I saw another story about Alibaba's IPO today. If you haven't been paying attention, it's sort of a Chinese combination of Amazon and Ebay but it's bigger than both of them combined. Their company philosophy really struck me because it's the way I was brought up, trained, and the way I've always thought a business' priorities should be set. Except I realized it's been years since I've seen it practiced, except for the odd mechanic, handyman or taco stand.

"Customers first, employees second, investors third."

Whatever happened to that? Any more, it seems to be "Investors first.... And, well, yeah, that pretty much covers it." I was taught that the customer always comes first and if you keep him happy, the money will come. It seems to have worked for Jack Ma. He's made $8.9 Billion, so far, this year and the IPO hasn't even happened yet.

It was very refreshing to hear that. Almost makes me want to buy something from them but I don't think they do business outside of China.


Don't look at me, I just work here.

RedFred
Posts: 571
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:55 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby RedFred » Sat May 10, 2014 5:22 am

Well now that makes him a 1%er so I'm sure you'l find something wrong with him soon enough.

User avatar
Parrotpaul
Posts: 33550
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:14 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby Parrotpaul » Sat May 10, 2014 5:55 am

Any thoughts on the topic, Fred, or do you just want to take cheap shots?
"I think I may say that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education." John Locke

User avatar
Troglodyte
Posts: 16607
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:33 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby Troglodyte » Sat May 10, 2014 11:04 am

JQP posted; "Almost makes me want to buy something from them but I don't think they do business outside of China."

The logical next step will be to open AliBaba warehouses here in the US. Amazon, Ebay and WalMart will be history in a few years. Alibaba's pirated and slave labor goods will be much cheaper..
"Grab them (the Viet Namese) by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."..General Westmoreland
"Grab them (the Americans) by their wallets, their hearts and minds will follow".. Jack Ma
I don't suffer from any mental illnesses.. I enjoy them..

User avatar
AsIfYouKnew
Posts: 7264
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:01 am

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby AsIfYouKnew » Wed May 14, 2014 9:41 am

Paul, his comment was on topic.

As for investors last, this seems more in line with a communistic economic philosophy, so I am not surprised.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift

http://www.civilityinamerica.org/en/index.html

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 18381
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby John Q. Public » Wed May 14, 2014 10:51 am

The topic is the philosophy, not the man, so I'll agree with Paul.

Interesting that you would say it sounds communistic. It's the way businesses operated until the late '70s/early '80s.
Don't look at me, I just work here.

User avatar
AsIfYouKnew
Posts: 7264
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:01 am

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby AsIfYouKnew » Wed May 14, 2014 12:09 pm

Agree to a point, but you did note that he made billions. IMHO, that brings it into the realm of fair play.

As for your assertion of how business was conducted, where are you getting that information? I am not disagreeing with you, but would like more background on why you made that statement.

From an economic standpoint (which deals with the motivations of firms) there has not really been any significant movement away from the generation of profit, which ultimately goes to the share holders. That focus goes all the way back to The Wealth of Nations.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift

http://www.civilityinamerica.org/en/index.html

User avatar
Fordama
Posts: 18106
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:12 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby Fordama » Wed May 14, 2014 12:15 pm

:shrug: \:D/ :slapfight: :rockon:
Last edited by Fordama on Wed May 14, 2014 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.---JFK

User avatar
Fordama
Posts: 18106
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:12 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby Fordama » Wed May 14, 2014 12:16 pm

As for investors last, this seems more in line with a communistic economic philosophy, so I am not surprised.

Can't see in any way, shape, or form how that is communistic.

It seems a lot more like someone building a business that is supposed to last, rather than trying to squeeze as much money out of the situation as quickly no matter the cost to the customer or employee.


Fordama
This country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.---JFK

User avatar
AsIfYouKnew
Posts: 7264
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:01 am

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby AsIfYouKnew » Wed May 14, 2014 12:18 pm

Communism puts the people (or State) first.

Capitalism puts profit first.

Econ 101.

A capitalist must balance the needs of the consumer with the needs of the firm, but the ultimate goal is to make a profit.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift

http://www.civilityinamerica.org/en/index.html

User avatar
Fordama
Posts: 18106
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:12 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby Fordama » Wed May 14, 2014 12:24 pm

No, putting the customer first has nothing to do with the state's control of the means of production.

It was, in this country at one time, considered a sound business trait. Probably still is by many smaller businesses.

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible."

Old Hank Ford was such a commie!

Fordama
This country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.---JFK

User avatar
AsIfYouKnew
Posts: 7264
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:01 am

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby AsIfYouKnew » Wed May 14, 2014 12:36 pm

This is what I said.

As for investors last, this seems more in line with a communistic economic philosophy, so I am not surprised.

I know it is a subtle point, but perhaps if you ruminate on it, you will understand what I was trying to say.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift

http://www.civilityinamerica.org/en/index.html

User avatar
Fordama
Posts: 18106
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:12 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby Fordama » Wed May 14, 2014 3:21 pm

I guess if that investor is some sort of 19th century proponent of child labor and monopolies as a way of life, it might seem communistic.

For most of 20th century America it seemed like the sensible way of doing business.

Unfortunately, we are regressing back to the 19th century when it comes to where labor and consumers fall.

Fordama
This country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.---JFK

User avatar
Troglodyte
Posts: 16607
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:33 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby Troglodyte » Wed May 14, 2014 7:30 pm

Without a means of attracting and keeping investors, the entire business system would collapse.
What needs to be done is to lower the investors expectations of a quick humungous profit.
I don't suffer from any mental illnesses.. I enjoy them..

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 18381
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby John Q. Public » Wed May 14, 2014 9:27 pm

AIYK wrote:Agree to a point, but you did note that he made billions. IMHO, that brings it into the realm of fair play.

Not really. I'm sure everybody here is thrilled for him, going from being a humble English teacher to being a multi-billionaire. Some of us are especially happy that he did it the old fashioned way - by putting his customers first and earning it, rather than by trying to squeeze every last dime out of his customers and the business just so he could make more money.

Maybe you weren't around when that was the common practice, or maybe you forgot or maybe it was the side of the Business Department you came from, but on the Marketing side we were taught that to make more money, you sold more stuff. Period. Sell enough of it and you'll make good money. Don't sell enough of it, maybe your idea wasn't very good. Mr. Ma's idea seems to have been pretty good.
Don't look at me, I just work here.

coolestanonuser
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:15 pm

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby coolestanonuser » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:29 pm

The moment you negotiate a deal with someone to back your company with their private capital (or go public and have shareholders), you have a moral obligation to protect their and your assets. Imo investors should always be priority. No working capital = no customers.

User avatar
Wabash
Posts: 23786
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:29 am

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby Wabash » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:57 pm

Once upon a time the corporate tax rate was 90%. Employees were regarded as valuable assets with legacy benefits.

That seems to have been kicked to the curb.

One can argue the fairness of that belief, but what is not debatable is whether not we were better off as a society.

Sounds like Mr. Ma believes that for anyone (investors, employees etc) to get paid, customers are needed in adequate amounts.
They told me if I voted for Hillary Clinton the president would be emotional, impulsive, and unpredictable. They were right. I voted for Hillary Clinton and got a president that is emotional, impulsive, and unpredictable.

joefutbol
Posts: 5037
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:28 am

Re: Customers first, investors last

Postby joefutbol » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:00 pm

coolestanonuser wrote:The moment you negotiate a deal with someone to back your company with their private capital (or go public and have shareholders), you have a moral obligation to protect their and your assets. Imo investors should always be priority. No working capital = no customers.


They aren't mutually exclusive, and there's nobody forcing you to purchase their stock or invest in their company.

Having happy employees means having happy customers, and having happy customers means increased profits. Some are even of the opinion that it's actually immoral to put profits ahead of people. Crazy, right?

Return to “Business and Investing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron