Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wanting It Thursday

Recalling the movie studios in his days of making B-movies, Ronald Reagan said, "They didn't want it good. They wanted it Thursday."

Although the studios made a lot of stinkers in those days - unlike today when every film is well-crafted, intellectually deep, and uplifting to the spirit - they made a lot of good and even great ones. The sad truth is if they'd taken more time and had more money, there is no guarantee that the films would have improved.

I served on a committee once where a very wise executive summed up one of the group's advantages. "We don't have a lot of money," he observed, "and that's good. If we had a big budget, we push funds here and there and would wander off into things that might be nice but aren't really needed. We'd also be less creative."

As it turned out, he was absolutely correct. The restricted funds and the tight schedule, to steal a line from Samuel Johnson, concentrated our minds wonderfully.


Jeff said...

I've been thinking about this. That the availability of more or even unlimited funds does not necessarily improve quality. It improves the bottom line since everyone increases their markup and profitability - but does it really improve the end result?
I don't know anyone who isn't working in a competitive marketplace - I certainly am. And as the clients scream for more, faster, and cheaper, the companies that respond will be rewarded and the companies that don't will be punished. Will quality suffer? It musn't - if you're a commodity, then the buyer definitely goes elsewhere.
Hard times has us working harder - which I believe makes us more efficient and smarter. And more thoughtful. And more aware.

Wally Bock said...

Great post. You and your executive friend were in good company. Consider this from Warren Buffett.

"Easy access to money makes for undisciplined decisions."

Michael Wade said...

Jeff and Wally,

Thanks! It's interesting how one of the unrecognized ways to sink a project is to load it up with plenty of money and staff.