Monday, January 15, 2007

Careers and Business Quality

I am reading The Tao of Warren Buffett by Mary Buffett and David Clark. It is basically a book of very short pithy statements that Warren has made with about half a page of commentary and interpretation. It hasn't changed my life, or anything, but I am enjoying it.

Saying number 28 is, "Managing your career is like investing - the degree of difficulty does not count. So you can save yourself money and pain by getting on the right train."

The commentary is basically that if you work for a wonderful company (great economics, great management, consistently great return on capital) then good things will happen. If not, then not.

I have never ever thought of career planning in terms like that before, but it absolutely makes sense. The pharmaceutical industry used to have great economics. The question is, does it still? Lately I think we are keeping our great returns with acquisitions and write-offs and cost cutting and other things that don't really have much to do with effectively growing an invested dollar. I mean they aren't unrelated, but they aren't really long term strategies. Can the pharmaceutical economics recover? If big pharma manages to break the mold of the blockbuster small molecule, will the FDA change fast enough for it to matter?

In a company with poor economics, "...raises will be few and long between, and there is greater risk of losing your job because management will always be under pressure to cut costs." Does that sound familiar to anyone?

No comments: