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Author Archives: Paul Ericson

Asking a question no one wants to hear

Eighty-one years ago this month, Bethlehem Steel Corp. acquired the Lackawanna Steel plant a few miles south of Buffalo along the shore of Lake Erie. Bethlehem, one of the nation’s largest steel companies, saw an opportunity in the fledgling automobile ...

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Do companies have free-speech rights?

Eastman Kodak Co.’s Web site contains a page with a headline that reads: “Kodak earns high grades for environmental performance.” The text below it describes how a pair of “leading financial institutions in Europe and the United States” recently scrutinized ...

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Editor’s Notes: Who Rochester’s leading CEOs admire

Excluding your own firm, what Rochester company do you admire most? Which has the highest quality of management and highest level of community responsibility? We put those questions and more to the chief executives of Rochester’s Top 50, the area’s ...

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The future likes to play by its own rules

In a commentary on the “inscrutability of history,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer Arthur Schlesinger Jr. made this observation: “I happily discovered that skipping predictionist stories cut my newspaper-reading time about in half.” He wrote that piece nearly a ...

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What to ask Jack Welch: That’s the question

What would you ask Jack Welch if you had the chance? In his two decades at the helm of General Electric Co., Welch became a mythic corporate titan. He transformed GE with a vengeance, slashing more than 100,000 jobs-prompting some ...

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A fresh chance to ace the news quiz

Another year, another opportunity to achieve a perfect score on the annual Rochester Business Journal local business news quiz-and for the second year in a row, I’ve made the task easier for you. The quiz, now in its ninth year, ...

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With a great algorithm, you can go far

At 6:40 that evening, the phone at my desk rang. “Hi,” said the voice on the line. “This is Meredith Vieira from ‘Millionaire.'” When my sister-in-law Liz asked me to be a “lifeline” for her upcoming appearance on “Who Wants ...

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With a great algorithm, you can go far

At 6:40 that evening, the phone at my desk rang. “Hi,” said the voice on the line. “This is Meredith Vieira from ‘Millionaire.'” When my sister-in-law Liz asked me to be a “lifeline” for her upcoming appearance on “Who Wants ...

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This business model will not fix itself

Would you put money into this business? It’s in the red, with declining revenues and sharply rising costs. After years of operating in the black, surplus funds are gone and it has been forced to borrow to close the operating ...

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What things endure as the years pass

How do you measure the passage of 15 years? You might watch old movies or count gray hairs. Another way is to dig up a copy of the Rochester Business Journal’s first weekly issue, published Oct. 5, 1987, and turn ...

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After the bubble, it’s time to be honest

In early 2000, I bought some shares of BroadVision Inc. Until then, I’d resisted the urge to invest directly in any high-flying Internet stocks. But with Y2K out of the way and tech shares climbing again, I decided to override ...

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Test your knowledge of the year’s news

It’s time to take the annual Rochester Business Journal local business news quiz-and this year it’s easier than ever. The quiz, now in its eighth year, is designed to measure your knowledge of the year’s significant events. It’s based on ...

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A question about profits and patriotism

Are some U.S. companies putting the bottom line above patriotism? In the wake of the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, layoff announcements have rolled through the economy. The U.S. airline industry, which soon after Sept. ...

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Once again, a bad idea gains currency

In September 1985, my wife and I left to spend a year in Europe. One day after we settled in a small village in the Austrian Alps, the Group of Five met and made an unprecedented decision: to drive down ...

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When an innovative idea is not enough

In October 1994, the Rochester Business Journal ran a front-page story announcing our plans to launch the nation’s first electronic multimedia business newspaper. The electronic edition-called NewsLink-would contain the news, special reports, profiles and lists from the newsprint edition, plus ...

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