The doomsday clock is less than one minute from midnight for BBY and I have mixed feelings as I worked for the yellow tag for over 15 years and even
personally reported to Brian Dunn earlier in his lengthy career.
First of all, don't feel sorry for Brian, he's a multi-millionaire and will never have to worry about his future. I doubt he'll even continue to work
going forward. He's a really nice guy for the most part but had no business sitting in the CEO chair. He only got there because he was never afraid
to tell Dick Shulze what he really needed to hear instead of kissing his backside like most others.
I have to say, I was there for many of the highs and many of the lows. I helped open store number 100. And number 200. And number 300. And number
400. And....well, you get the idea. I watched the company celebrate taking out local and regional retailers with glee but their sights were always
set squarely on Circuit City and it was Dick's mission in life to see them shutter their last store. I guess perhaps karma is alive and well and
really does make sure things even out in the end.
I watched BBY attempt to try to 'reinvent the market' in many areas and along the way they did succeed. And they also failed. But they always found
a way to turn those negatives into positives. Well, almost always.
Digital music? BBY had their own proprietary compression codec before most people had even heard of mp3. I know because I sat in the lab with the
development team and was amazed by the cool tricks they performed, making a computer play those little music files from a hard drive instead of a
physical CD player like we had in every store for music demonstration.
In many ways, they were just too far ahead of the curve and subsequently failed to capitalize in areas where they really should have been established
Remember DVD? I guess some folks do still buy them (at least in my still-developing corner of SE Asia). Well, if it weren't for BBY, that technology
format would probably have come and gone with little to no notice by the average consumer. I know because I was in the room when DVD forum leader
Toshiba begged BBY to carry and demonstrate the technology when no one else would.
But then there was mini disc, for which BBY somehow failed miserably to create even an early adopter culture. I know, I was in the room when Sony
brought the technology to BBY and graced us with the opportunity to be the first to introduce this new digital format. And we did. And, well, it
I was there when the BBY Store Design team said 'we make X dollars per square foot out of every BBY store, so let's make 'em even bigger, like 58k
square feet!'. And everyone applauded.
I was there a few years later when the Store Design team said 'our stores are way too big to justify their sales figures, let's open a buch of mini
stores in malls across the county and only stock a small portion of inventory, then let customers in the store order anything we don't stock through
our website, that's how we'll really clean up'. And everyone applauded. OK, not me, I actually remember turning to the person seated next to me and
saying 'WTH, didn't they just make all of the stores bigger a few years ago?'. I should have called them on it but I knew there was no use by this
I was there when Dick said 'hey, there's this quirky little company that does in-home technical support, that's where the future is and we need to
either buy 'em or put 'em out of business. And he was right. Well, sort of.
I was there at the press conference when BBY announced their purchase of Geek Squad and got to meet Adam West (seriously, look it up) so at least
something good came out of it, right?
I was there when BBY said income from services under the Geek Squad brand was going to make them untouchable in the marketplace. Yeah, that lasted
for about a month. OK, six months.
Ahhhh....the many memories.
I could go on and on but back to the purpose of this thread.
Is the writing on the wall for BBY? Of course it is, you all know that. Heck, I knew that back in 2006, which is part of the reason I left, despite
many unvested stock options. And now, so does everyone else.
edit on 14-6-2012 by buskey because: (no reason given)