Founded by two former Wall Street Journal writers, Motto has an alliterative tag -- purpose, passion, profit -- which sounds like a Gordon Gekko seminar for Dr. Phil. If you saw "Wall Street," you heard Michael Douglas, in the guise of Gekko, utter the chilling line: "Greed is good." And though Motto would reject the impulse, it might embrace his inner Gordon. He was nothing if not determined. Alas, the mag's execution is just the opposite: a bit gooey.

When Sandra Magsamen, an artist who makes ceramic gifts and greeting cards, is profiled, she says, "Joy is not in things, it is in us." OK, but does she have to say that out loud? Throw in the only book on L.A. power couple Kerry Morrison's list -- the Bible -- a preference shared by Paris Hilton, and I begin to miss Gekko. He's maniacal, but at least he's never mawkish.

Still, I applaud -- and support -- the humane workplace touted by several entrepreneurs in these pages. Devoutly. I endorse profit sharing. Pensions. Free health care. An iPhone in every pod. If you find the company that delivers them, send my resume!

But it makes me nervous, much as it did the Founding Fathers, when people blithely quote from the Bible, which is invoked twice in this issue. Too often, those who invite God into the conversation -- business or political -- champion hypocrisy, not social justice, also lauded as a spiritual goal.

So when C. William Pollard, former CEO of ServiceMaster Co, goes all faith-based in an excerpt from his book "Serving Two Masters?" I paused. He says when we accomplish "more with fewer people or resources, we take half a loaf, rather than no loaf at all." Put another way, he downsized and overtaxed the remaining workers. Ken Lay, the son of a minister, also found Jesus. So how'd that work out for Enron? Some of his colleagues added another "p" to their CV -- prison -- where many businessmen get newly acquainted with the divine.

Not that profit isn't a valid part of the pub's agenda.

Motto is People for business types. It profiles many business owners in a variety of fields, who agree with the mag's manifesto, especially No. 6: "We ardently believe in capitalism. Profitability drives possibilities." Now, I'll bet famed economist John Galbraith would reel at unregulated capitalism. Even free-market maven Milton Friedman might blanche at "ardently," an adjective I haven't see in print since, well, ever.

As for profitability, I give you the service-shrinking, cost-inflated health-care system. It's run by bean counters who prize profitability over people. The only possibility I see is revolution -- which I'd lead if my plan reimbursed me for agita.

Motto salutes Noel Webster, who bought Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, a tiny recording studio in Sheffield, Ala., and transformed a blast from the past into a viable business. It has an amazing musical history -- and a bathroom wall signed by Wilson Pickett. Similarly, the Liv'n Out Loud! clothing company likes a challenge -- it puts kick-ass slogans on T-shirts. One favorite: Defy mediocrity. Congress, are you listening?

Others, like Richard Tait, head of Cranium, got jiggy with creativity and created an innovative games company, while Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher is touted for his ecofriendly vision. And in 1997, he saw green again -- when Estee Lauder bought his organic-cosmetics brand for a cool $300 million.

If you, too, want to play in the majors, you have to go after, in life coach Rick Tamlyn's words, "bigger game." Forget that the term "life coach" is slap-worthy. While Tamlyn is stalking his prey, colleague Dan Lier instructs readers how to build "a belief system" that values you at $250,000 instead of $100,000. Add a zero each way, and we're in Gekko land.

It's a small world, after all.


Published by: dash30 Inc.

Frequency: Bimonthly

Web site

Next story loading loading..