Probably not…and there’s reasonable why.
He was a visionary and probably the most famous capitalists in every of history. He introduced the auto to the world and created the present day day production line. By enough time of his death in 1947 Henry Ford was worth almost $200 billion in the current dollars. He was an icon and a hugely successful businessman.
Except when he failed. And in 1928 he launched a project that failed big style. It had been called Fordlândia no, it wasn’t situated in Oregon and Fred Armisen had nothing in connection with it.
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It’s a town situated in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil. Contrary to popular belief, the town remains however, not at all enjoy it was planned. Fordlândia (catchy, right?) was established by the automaker in order that he could have a trusted source of an extremely critical raw material: rubber. In 1928, there is (roughly it seemed) an endless way to obtain rubber trees in the Amazon rainforest and hey – who gave a hoot about the surroundings in the past anyway, right?
The offer seemed like an excellent idea at that time. Resources were plentiful, labor was cheap. The Brazilian government was pleased to provide a concession for a cut of the gains. The hope was to create a community of 10,000 workers who could benefit from the high quality lifestyle, just like the Americans had, while churning out rubber for Ford’s factories back.
It failed. Big style. Why?
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Workers building the town were felled by yellow fever and malaria. Transport was only possible by a nearby river because there have been no roads. Managers, who knew little about tropical farming, incorrectly planted crops which were then beset by disease and insects. A whole lot worse, the neighborhood workers were forced to consume unfamiliar American food, wear ID badges, endure extended hours in the hot sun, reside in American-style housing and — is it possible to believe it? — they didn’t enjoy it! Actually, they disliked the arrangements so much that riots broke out after just a couple of years.
Ironically, the complete adventure ultimately ended up being a waste of time: by 1945 synthetic rubber would circumvent the necessity for natural rubber. Ford’s grandson sold back the house to the Brazilian government six years following its founding for a lack of about $200 million in the current dollars.
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Discuss a bad business decision, right?
But here’s finished .: even the best capitalists make bad business decisions. Don’t trust me? Think about “New Coke” or Apple’s “Newton” or Sony’s Betamax. Bad business decisions certainly are a part to do business. But there’s something about making bad decisions that separates the successful people like Henry Ford from others. Your choice doesn’t kill your company.
The Fordlândia loss most surely hurt Ford’s pride a lot more than his pocketbook because, as stated above, he was personally sitting on a lot of money worth a lot more than 10 times that amount as the Ford Motor Company was amid a post-war profit boom.
Sure, Ford lost money. But he didn’t lose his shirt. He did what smart people do. He took a risk — a big risk — but he certainly didn’t bet the farm. That is clearly a lesson I’ve learned from years owning a business. When I opt to choose new technology, or a fresh products, or an updated website I usually make sure I could afford to lose the amount of money. Whenever I hear of individuals investing their life savings in a fresh business or all their capital in a fresh venture I usually think “uh-oh.” That’s not at all something Henry