Herbietown - Hey Daddy, What’s Business?

Hey Daddy, What’s Business?

“What are you doing Daddy?”

“I’m making a presentation, Jack.”

“What’s a presentation?”

“Well, a presentation is a document used to convince people to do something.”

“What’s a presentation?”

“It’s a way for grown-ups to tell a story about business.”

“What’s business?”

“It’s a word that people use to talk about how they get things done, leveraging the self interest of individuals and groups in a world of scarce resources.”

“What’s business?”


Later, he convinced me to take a break and read him a story.

We read The Sneetches by Dr. Suess. It’s about 2 groups of Sneetches – one group has stars on their bellies, and one doesn’t. Those “with stars upon thars” lord it over those without stars.

Until a man comes along with a Star-On machine, which he uses to gives stars to all the Sneetches that lack them, for a fee. This angers the Sneetches with stars on their bellies, who are no longer superior, but the same man offers them his Star-Off machine. They take off their stars, for a fee. The other Sneetches then take off their stars, too, for a fee. It goes on like this for a long time, until the man has collected all the money the Sneetches have. Then he packs up his machines and drives away.

“Hey Daddy, why is that man packing up those machines and going away? He’s not very nice.”

“Well, Jack, he took all the money from those silly Sneetches. They can’t pay him anymore, so he’s going away.”

“But they want the machines!”

Ugh. This is supposed to be about how the Sneetches were silly to spend their lives craving stars on their bellies. And yet now I have to explain how this man is immoral because he took advantage of their stupidity to make a little money.  Is he immoral?  He didn’t force anyone to do anything.  He just tapped into their innate desire to be alphas, and found a way to feed his family.  Are fashion designers any different?

“Well, Jack, he only brought those machines to the Sneetches to make money.  And he shouldn’t do things just to make money.”

“He’s not very nice. He needs a timeout.”

Man, this parenting thing is hard.