Seattle or Tacoma is the question that hangs heavy over Russell Investments today. The deadline for a decision has been set for the end of May. As I write this, the people of Russell are busy weighing data. Statisticians, urban planners, demographers, accountants have all been employed to gather information down to the minutia.
Tax incentives, traffic patterns, proximity to parks and recreation, real estate by the cubic foot are all being measured and analyzed and prepared for power point presentations. Numbers are being sliced and diced like offerings at a Chinese Buffet, and these numbers will be whispered about in closed-door meetings and open town hall forums. "Should we stay or should we go?"
If I may, let me interrupt the madness. Everyone put down your pencils and pie charts for just a moment because this decision can be distilled down to one question, and it is this: Ginger or Marry Ann?
Don’t pretend you don’t know what I am talking about. Most of us are at an age where the 1960’s television show "Gilligan’s Island" shaped our cultural consciousness even if we only saw it in reruns.
Ginger and Mary Ann were the two young attractive castaways trapped on an island with the rest of the kooky archetypes: The Professor represented the academic, the Skipper the no nonsense blue collar guy, the Howells were the rich aristocracy, and Gilligan served as everyman/comic relief.
All were victims of a three-hour tour gone awry.
Ginger was the glamorous one, a Marilyn Monroe type who whispered everything and rarely bothered to change out of her evening gown (why she brought a sequenced gown on a three-hour tour is one of those eternal mysteries. A three day tour, maybe…) Put succinctly, Ginger was the kind of gal who punctuated songs with "poo poo pee do." Need I say more?
Mary Ann was the opposite, a nice girl who didn’t know how to dress well, but cheerful, and eager to help. She got along equally with the high brow Howells and the oft’ frustrated Skipper. The secret to her social ease was not that she was disingenuous or acquiesced but simply because she was nice. True, standing next to Miss Poo Poo Pee Do, Mary Ann didn’t weather the comparison well, but deep down, every young boy watching knew it was a Mary Ann type to whom they would eventually make a long-term commitment.
Right now Ginger looks good to Russell. I get it. Clearly, Russell is a company that is constantly looking forward, moving into new markets, anticipating trends and cutting edge technology. The future is the very essence of their business, but Russell has also been a company built on tradition and stability.
In a world where everything is outsourced and temporary workers are the norm, Russell has been part of a community, our community. Any conglomerate can move to the next big thing (witness Halliburton and the like in Dubai) but the services Russell provides are rooted in dependability.
Russell, do you really need graphs and charts to tell you who you want to spend your future with?
Mary Ann represents home. She is your past and she will be ready for anything and everything the future has in store. She’s tough that way. She understands every day people and sees where growth and innovation are needed. Why? Because she’s not above it, she’s among it. And the best part? She has no problem with anyone who wants to spend some fun time with Ginger. After all, Ginger has a lot to offer and her proximity is a plus.
Go. Have a blast. Who’s looking? “Poo poo pee do” as they say, but come home, and the world will know where your loyalties lie.