A few years ago, during the dot-com era, I had an idea for a lyric poem. I thought, Larry Ellison, you have more money than you’ll ever use, why not pay me to shadow you for a year. And I’ll write a lyric poem about you.
In the old days Homer went around recording the deeds of heroes. That’s what mattered to society back then. But in our time, the dot-com era catapulted the CEO and business luminaries into the spotlight. I wouldn’t blame the frenzy that happened during that time for creating the situation. The drive for continual profit increase, as anyone who pays attention to the way investors respond to earnings calls, will notice, is dominant. It tints much of what takes place in the world. Hear me here, my purpose in this post is not to judge the value, positive or negative, that this has. I’m only noting the phenomenon.
With that in mind, the people that were once raised as the ultimate ideal to aspire to, heroes, I think have been traded for CEOs. While heroes’ deeds were sung at length, nowadays it’s the CEOs’ exploits which are repeated, discussed, pondered, marvelled at, mimicked, feared, and sometimes frowned upon. There were stories of the wild indulgence of some, the underhanded spying of others, and the bombastic beatings others gave competitors. I’ve read about them, and followed the stories.
Who knows, maybe this era is on the cusp of changing and the value given the CEO is shifting in the public’s perception. One might argue with fall-from-grace exemplified in the activities of the Enrons and HPs that that is indeed what is happening. Maybe other milieus of society are rising in the public mindset. Maybe this change is the ideal situation to write a damn good tragedy. Where would the hero be without some tragedy and misfortune and the whimsy of fate? Perhaps the new hero figure will still be business related except changes in business strategies in the software industry, such as those brought about by Free and open source software developments are modifying the locus of our focus (they’ll be called SABDFLs). :-)
Anyway it’s the beginning of November, which means Nanowrimo has begun and I’m once again participating. If Mr. Ellison wants his deeds immortalized in a lyric poem, now would be the time to call me.