Finance & Economy

What's 'Our Way In' to the Financial Crisis?

I am running to the airport. I am visiting Smith College later this afternoon, and now I am wondering why I didn't remember to wear socks and why I am wearing this stupid jacket. And just how cold is it going to be, anyway?

Sigh, this is what happens when you become a mother. Now, you can believe my KIDS have on socks and a jacket, and their lunch.

... And I have on backless mules to go to New England ... in September.


We're trying to figure out what direction to go in for Monday. I don't think there's any question that the WORLDWIDE economic turmoil is the story. But what's our piece of it?

If the Fed chairman called, we would talk to him, trust me. But we think the most important job on this show is talk to the people who aren't grabbing the headlines.

So who are you and what's your phone number (call our listener comment line — 202.842.3522 — to leave an actual phone number, PLEASE don't leave it for the world to see on our blog!), and what effect is the turmoil having on YOU?

Are you, say, a first year MBA student wondering what the heck you just got yourself into?

Do you own a small business? Are your customers drying up?

Are you a manufacturer? Are you feeling:

a) vindicated, thinking that these people who make money-pushing transactions around on paper are finally getting their just desserts — it's back to value, dammit! Or,

b) scared to death because those people are your customers, and if they're broke so are you?

Are you at the helm of a non-profit organization (like NPR), and are your donations in the dumps?

Are you in real estate? ... Construction? Is there any work?

Or, how about this, is your business going GANGBUSTERS? And are you hiring?

Let us know. Have a good weekend.



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Well Michel, I am not doing so well with the "adjustments" my President told me I need to make as a result of this financial crisis. I am a full time student (and one of the Smithies who heard your excellent talk yesterday) and a part time bookbinder. Our clients are small publishers and wealthy book and print collectors and I fear they may put existing projects on hold and drop future ones as they did just after September 11th 2001. We will have to wait and see.

I am also deeply disappointed that we do not have leadership in Washington who gives its citizens comfort and more direction in our time of need. The language the President used calling this major financial melt down a period of adjustment felt so cold. Thousands of people in the banking industry alone are losing their jobs and who knows at this point how far the domino effect will reach. These are dark times. At least we have your show to look forward to each day. Thanks again for your talk at Smith and all you do otherwise.
Sami Keats

Sent by Sami Keats | 5:28 AM | 9-20-2008

Michel, geez, I can relate to the mommy thing. Here speaking at a conference in San Francisco wishing I had socks and a jacket too. It's chilly. My kids? Safe, warm, dry, the whole nine. Anyhoo, my trade organization represents 700+ cosmetics manufacturing businesses and we are all feeling the pinch. The good thing about small business owners though, is that we have such laser focus that, coupled with the relationships we develop with our customers, allows us to maintain and even expand when times are tough. I always teach my members that, it's not about making money. It's about developing relationships. When you're leading a huge mega-billion dollar empire and you don't "touch" your audience, that's poor leadership. And poor leaders end up failing anyway. Just look around us. My members use technology to run manufacturing businesses but they are all over Twitter, their and each other's blogs, the conference I'm speaking at this weekend, Myspace, Facebook, PeopleJam, Linked In, etc. An endless list of relationships building endeavors keep our businesses healthy and strong. And what's more, we have fun and make enough money to support ourselves and our families, and make our communities and the world a better place. It's not about masnions and exotic islands. It's about pleasing a particular group of customers who like your products in large part because they like you. That's the new face of business success in this country and all over. The traditional business world should take note!! Hope you find some socks and a jacket.

Sent by Donna Maria @ Indie Business | 9:59 AM | 9-20-2008

Just saw you on Bill Maher again online. Whatever you're trying to do positively, you come across angry and you counter you best intentions. As much as you think you're smarter than everyone else, you're only 97% right. I'm in the other 3%.

Sent by Bobby J. | 5:56 AM | 9-21-2008

Michelle: Listen often, like the show,
You need to get more voices involved, and put some listeners in the talk.

My (adopted) son was diagnosed at age 3 officially with "ADHD" . Essentially, it's a difficult situation.
We know OUR kids are different immediately. We DONT always know how to get assistance.
In his case AdHD was a "gateway" diagnosis. he actually has adhd, bipolar, RAD, and ODD. we call it alphabet soup. He too, has been hospitalized too. PS: email me and I will give you an interesting take on the "RITALIN Nation" philosoophy.

Sent by mark Brown | 2:52 PM | 9-22-2008

Hi Michel, I miss you on ABC. Glad to know that you are still somewhere in Medialand. I have a small retail bath and body products business, This past weekend started my Fall and Holiday Craft Show season. Of course, I was concerned about all of the negative talk about the economy and the effect that it might have on my business. But I figured, I have fanstastic products, a very loyal customer base and a pleasing and positive attitude towards what I do everyday to grow my business. Besides, I was bound to do better if I at least showed up than if I stayed home and buried my head in the bad news. So I went on and had the best show ever in all of my eight years of being a vendor at the show. I refused to let the bad news affect me and will continue with this winning attitude for the rest of the season.

Sent by Rhonda B. Hodge | 6:30 PM | 9-22-2008


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