Some of you may be wondering why, if so many of us are planning on being businessmen, I haven’t yet included a great man of business in my Heroes series. Obviously it’s because I was waiting until this particular moment to reveal it. Or it just kinda happened. Either/or. To the point, instead of focusing on someone you all have probably studied previous to this (Rockefeller, Carnegie etc.), I’m going to focus on someone a bit more modern: Lee Iacocca.
He was born in Pennsylvania, blah blah blah, and then he went to college and pledged Theta Chi. There aren’t any pledging stories about him on the internet, but a very well connected person I talked to said that he once forced a pledge to mail his own shit to his mother (or yelled at him or something like that). He then started a career in engineering for Ford, stayed there for as little time as possible before saying, “screw this design shit, I wanna sell the fuck out of some cars.” So he did. In fact his selling strategies were so good that they went from local deals to nationwide, and he was brought up to Ford’s corporate headquarters, and all of a sudden (or maybe a few decades later) became President of Ford Motor Company.
Iacocca was directly involved with creating some pretty awesome rides, including the Mustang, the Continental, and the holy, fire-prone clusterfuck of a ride, the Pinto. In fact, it was during the whole Pinto scandal that America discovered Iacocca’s use of cost-benefit analysis, which weighed the cost of a recall vs. the potential payout in litigation over deaths due to defective cars. In layman’s terms, Lee Iacocca made Ford Motor Company TFTC about a few GDIs getting blown up in their geed-mobile of a Pinto. Balls, man. Fucking balls.
After being fired by Henry Ford II because he “didn’t get along with him” (even though Ford posted a fucking $2 billion profit that year), he went to Chrysler. Much as Chrysler does now…it sucked balls. They were going down and pretty much destined to go out of business. Iacocca could have gone to any major car company, but instead decided to prove to everyone how much of a badass he was (if they weren’t already convinced), and took on the welfare-check of a company as his project.
Before anyone gets all commenty about Iacocca taking government money (aka bailout) to get Chrysler back on its feet, I will say this only once: it didn’t fucking happen. Everyone talks about how Congress bailed out Chrysler, when in reality, all it did was guarantee its loans. A breach in the government’s role to be sure, but ultimately unimportant considering that Chrysler made good on all its loans. Glad we could get that out of the way.
Recently, Lee has been mostly out of the car business. He’s decided to take on the job of fixing an even more broke, close to bankrupt business: the United States. Yep, these days he’s writing books and giving seminars about the true meaning of leadership and what future leaders of our country need to understand (how about a little fucking character?). To close, I’ll just quote Mr. Iacocca on his opinion of our current state and let you draw your own conclusions.
“Throw the bums out.”