the CAMP ENRON Report


CAMP ENRON:
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?

Some say it's nothing but a train wreck ... roll in the big cranes, clear the track, see what the crew's been smoking. If I thought so, I'd not be writing this ... and if they thought so, they'd not be drumming so hard.


For a brief orientation, see this
Welcome to Camp Enron

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Camp Enron Archives
01/01/2002 - 02/01/2002 02/01/2002 - 03/01/2002 03/01/2002 - 04/01/2002 04/01/2002 - 05/01/2002 05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003

NOTE to READERS:
(2) All "major" articles of older material have now been imported, some with updates worth perusing. We'll keep it all on the main page for a while, will add a few loose pieces of history, will trim the main page and index the archives for convenience later.


OUR DEPARTMENTS:

the COGENT PROVOCATEUR:
free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ... taking an imposing analytic toolkit out of the box, over the wall and into the street ... with callous disregard for accepted wisdom and standard English

reading the tea leaves from original angles, we've led with uncannily prescient takes on the federal surplus, the dotcom crash, the "Energy Crisis", the Afghan campaign, the federal deficit.

More where those came from ... stay tuned.


For brief orientation, see this
Welcome to CP


CAMP ENRON:
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?

For a brief orientation, see this
Welcome to Camp Enron

OTHER GOOD STUFF:
Many thanks to Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs, still shouting 'cross the Potomac at QuasiPundit. Early Camp Enron material can be found in QP's Dispatches department.
Saturday, March 23, 2002

 
--- An Open Letter to "Andy's Kids". ---

You say DOJ's Andersen indictments are "simply unjust". (What does a double page ad in a major publication go for these days, anyway?) Please, yer just breakin' my heart.

You want my sympathy? Tell me first, has any comparable-sized group shown less sympathy to its less strategically-positioned fellow humans? I know, you have a code of ethics: stab everybody else in the face, but stab the client in the back. In slack time, "Androids" entertain each other by ridiculing their respective clients ... it's a competitive pastime, often honed to a fine edge. By and large, they show even greater contempt for the ordinary working stiff with an ordinary job, an ordinary wife, ordinary house and ordinary kids in an ordinary school.

Everywhere they've gone marauding, Andersen has made enemies ... and ripped the poor suckers' throats out ... and left them bleeding, helpless and voiceless ... and gloried in doing so. And now, fallen on hard times, the Orange Shirts want our sympathy.

Andersen was never shy about exploiting a foot in the door (often an audit practice foot) to charter a consulting project, pyramid it with add-on's, staff it stuff it with overpriced rookies, rake millions out the door, and depart with advice to the client that his cost structure is too high.

Andersen was never shy about orchestrating the biggest projects (and biggest failures) in history, and rotating every new chimp-in-a-suit through them until on paper everybody's qual's looked like King Kong's.

Andersen was never shy about winning on the golf course what they lost in the conference room, or about exploiting alumni "sleeper agent" leverage in management circles.

Andersen was never shy about tilting the tax code -- and then gulling credulous clients with slanted interpretations -- to "kick the crap out of the independents".

Andersen taught a generation of managers (including many Andersen alum's) that consultation equals predation. On whatever territory Androids couldn't hold for themselves, they poisoned the wells.

As the conniving, conscience-free Dogbert character in Scot Adams' Dilbert comic, the Andersen consultant is a modern cultural icon.

Andy's Kids aren't all bad kids ... they just fell in with a bad crowd. But kids in a bad crowd will do terrible things. They can't explain afterward why they did what they did, why they went along with pranks that got out of hand ... but they can spin up the dangdest excuses. It's always somebody else's fault.

So now you kids want sympathy? You think you're the good guys? You're not the good guys. You think you're the victims? You're not the victims. You think you're innocent? Nobody is innocent. You ran with a gang that did more damage than you can possibly pay for in your lifetimes. Ordinary kids pay restitution. What do you want ... subsidies so you can pay your country club dues?

You say you never worked the Enron account? That means squat. Andersen traded on its good name, deep resources and AA ("aggressive accounting") culture ... its willingness to push the envelope, to muscle in with weak capabilities and inflated qual's. That's your trade, that's your name, those are your resources, that's your culture, that's your envelope, and those are your qual's. You never worked the telco's? Or WMS? Or Sunbeam? Or Arizona Baptist? Or any one of the other US or EU or Aussie debacles? Or came close to the edge without falling over? Or profited by association with those who did? You never gave that culture your nod of silent approval? Give it a rest.

You say you have mouths to feed and lifestyles to maintain? That means squat. More than a few of you have sounded off on the moral hazards of bailouts for everybody from pregnant teenagers to stranded industrial facilities. And now you want a "get out of jail free" card? Spare me!Don't worry, you'll do just fine ... you'll be working this time next year, and five years from now, and most of you would have been upped or outed by then anyway. Think of this as a valuable opportunity, an internship in real life.

You say your clients need you? If they really do -- and some of them do -- they'll find you. If not, you've been a drain on their competitiveness from Day One.

You think it's an options game? That the upside is winner-take-all, but society pays on the downside? Hmmm, maybe you're not logging enough time at libertarian websites.

No sympathy here. Don't ask, don't even think about it. Practicality is another question altogether. Does the destruction of Andersen have any deterrent effect? Maybe not. Does it leave the industry less competitive? Maybe so. Does it eliminate streams of revenue that might be tapped to make restitution? Possibly. Does it foment a crisis of confidence in capital markets? Maybe yes, maybe no. I've laid out some planks of that case in earlier articles ... gimme a hand here, willya?

But don't drag Andy's fresh-faced kids to Washington on full fare tickets, pleading "Daddy needs a job"! Remember, these are the faces that launched a fleet of "Die, Yuppie Scum!" bumper stickers. No sympathy. Like they say in the re-engineering, outsourcing, downsizing game: "Nuke 'em, Danno"!

You can add this to your knowledge base: we have serious problems with one of our legacy systems ... and you are that legacy system. So stop whining ... it's not one of your core competencies. Fix what's broken. Model that process, lift that constraint, re-engineer that value chain, innovate that solution, and present a credible business case for it. Give us a viable alternative to "business as usual" ... or get a job ... but whatever ya do, quit breakin' my heart.