We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
They say most start-up businesses fail within two years. There are plenty of mistakes you can make, never mind the vagaries of your market, your government, and your personal situation.
So it is with some sadness that I bring to you this report from BusinessWeek of the demise of the oldest continuously operating family business in the world: Kongo Gumi. How old is old? They lasted for two years --700 times!
Kongo Gumi also boasted some internal positives that enabled it to
survive for centuries. Its last president, Masakazu Kongo, was the 40th
member of the family to lead the company. He has cited the company's
flexibility in selecting leaders as a key factor in its longevity.
Specifically, rather than always handing reins to the oldest son, Kongo
Gumi chose the son who best exhibited the health, responsibility, and
talent for the job. Furthermore, it wasn't always a son. The 38th Kongo
to lead the company was Masakazu's grandmother.
Another factor that contributed to Kongo Gumi's extended existence
was the practice of sons-in-law taking the family name when they joined
the family firm. This common Japanese practice allowed the company to
continue under the same name, even when there were no sons in a given
In America, turning over the keys to your son-in-law is generally a recipe for disaster, but maybe things are different in the Buddhist Temple building business.