SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


by Ken Bylund


January 14, 2008

The Ketchikan Daily News [KDN] January 12-13 2008 weekend edition had a great editorial 'TOWARD GROWTH'; it starts and ends with the warning that we as a town are experiencing a steady decline but centers on hopes that we as a community need to come up with new industries and new ways of creating jobs in old ones. I love this editorial; it is smack on target... and then back to reading 'THE UPSIDE' by Adrian J. Slywotzky who spent his life researching business success stories and failings. Here's the deal; we learn and think in analogies [Jeff Hawkins - On Intelligence], by comparing this with that, and if our town can be compared to a business, well... we are the Kodak Brownies and Polaroid Film industry in a world of Canon Digital and SanDisk.

Our City and Borough might consider operating like a business; developing Ketchikan as a Brand Name amongst the tourism industries of the world, and build our reputation as a safe and fun destination for all. In Friday Jan 11 KDN, at the end of 'Retreat', if I may quote... " Bockhorst said the borough's auditor noted that the borough's general fund reserves were in the low end of the recommended range and have been declining each year." Duh? do you think? The past performance of spending [wasting] resources with... well, we've been beating them dead and dying horses long enough, and it's clearly not going anywhere.

Permit me an analogy from Mr. Slywotzky's book; page 8. "The first two jobs of strategic risk management are to sidestep the un-necessary blows and mitigate the blows you can't avoid. You can avoid the biggest hits to your company's [borough's & city's] value through a strategic risk management system that uses the principles and techniques described in this book. Remember Warren Buffet's first rule: Preserve your capital. And also his second rule: See the first rule." Why, for instance are we moving/building a shiny new library? Where is the ROI [return on investment]? And who will gain/lose the most?

Our business [city & borough] managers should encourage project specialists' and engineers [steering committees] to innovate/develop "new projects, new products, new markets, new customers new operations" and grow our general fund reserves before building that palatial library and/or museum on the hill. Mayors and Assemblymen would be better advised to stop feeding the fire and start looking toward a sane [growth for all] altruistic goal. The best outcome we can hope for is an honest government taking the long view. "What prevents most businesses from practicing this kind of strategic risk management? [=] The necessity of learning a new way of thinking."

Please Mr. Bockhorst, order a copy of 'THE UPSIDE' by Adrian J. Slywotzky and read it with your analogy detector switched on. This read would be great for High School students who want the path to success explained in simple terms - how energy creates talent, and it may be the door to success; those businessmen and women who want to better their customer bond and improve the overall health of Ketchikan's economy should read this book, and again... with the analogy detector full on. Consider the potential benefit if you grow Ketchikan as your brand... our town, our island, and the inland passage becomes our brand.

Note:quotes and paraphrase are from Mr. Slywotzky's 'The Upside'... consider it a [very positive] review.

Ken Bylund
Ketchikan, AK


Received January 14, 2008 - Published January 14, 2008


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Ketchikan, Alaska