11 Dumbest Moments in Business 2011

CNNMoney published their “Dumbest Moments in Business” gallery . There are some great statements in the list but here are 11 of my favorites(?) for 2011:

1. Regarding the debt ceiling debacle:

“Stupid.” “Like a banana republic.”

2. MF Global:

But just where is that $1.2 billion?

“I simply do not know where the money is,” said Jon Corzine, the CEO of bankrupt MF Global, when he appeared to testify to a Congressional committee in December.

3. For the free $100 of Blackberry apps in response to terrible service:

As the New York Times pointed out, if customers opted for the $20 version of an app called DriveSafe.ly — instead of the $80 enterprise version — and then bought every other app on BlackBerry’s list, that would add up to only $76.

4. The Mexico Gulf oil spill travesty continues:

This past April, Transocean, which owned the rig that exploded in the Gulf, claimed in its proxy statement that 2010 was “the best year” for safety in the company’s history, “notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Even worse, top Transocean execs were eligible to receive $898,282 in bonuses, in part because of the company’s safety record.

5. Sen. Kerry never flip-flopped as big as HP:

The company instead wanted to focus on software, which currently accounts for just 3% of HP’s sales. Industry analysts reacted with a collective “What!?” — and, soon after, so did HP’s board.

In September, the board fired CEO Leo Apotheker, the plan’s architect. One month later, HP reversed course and announced that it would keep its PC business after all.

6. After Allstate issued driving safety by astrological sign:

Allstate followed with an apology was even more solemn than its joke: “Rating by astrology would not be actuarially sound. We realized that our hard working customers view their insurance expense very seriously. So do we.”

7. Some people at Chrysler need to learn how to Tweet:

The post went out on Chrysler’s Twitter account: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f—ng drive.” Except, you know, with the full f-word.

8. New York Fed President William Dudley is really in touch with the average person:

“Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful,” he said. “You have to look at the prices of all things,” Reuters reported.

An audience member hollered back, “I can’t eat an iPad!”

9. Is Barnes & Noble crying a bit too much?  Regarding Amazon’s coup of the digital rights of 100 DC comics:

“We will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format,” the company’s chief merchant announced. The move, which comics industry blog Bleeding Cooldenounced as a “scorched-earth policy,” came just months after Barnes & Noblesignificantly expanded its comics selection and touted its plans to become “THE destination for comics lovers.”

10. Still waiting on that jobs growing part though.

When he was still a top economist in the White House in February, Austan Goolsbee went on the Daily Show and made a bold promise:

“We got a budget and we got a jobs council. And that’s what I’ve come down to tell you: We’re gonna grow our way out of this thing, Jon.”

11. Facebook says, “I’m sorry – again

It’s an admission he keeps having to make over and over: Tech blog All Things D pointed out that 10 of the 25 posts Zuckerberg has made over the years on Facebook’s company blog have been explanations and mea culpas about site changes and screw-ups that irked users.


  1. 3. RIM is such a mess and it surprises me more and more each day. Living around a community that is obsessed with their BlackBerry devices I see firsthand how frustrated their customers are. How long will their customers hold on?

    9. Barnes and Noble is way behind on Amazon just as everyone else. Why have they been so slow to react? I can understand these statements but they are not worth making when you are so behind.

    11. Facebook has only addressed problematic changes after they have occurred. Their newest move looks to be another dud and reminds me of Myspace. Gives me less and less confidence in investing in them when they come public. No thank you.

    Great collection of quotes. Thanks!

  2. Author

    Youthful –

    I agree with your comments. Interesting that B&N made that comment when earlier this week they admitted that their Nook is hurting their profit! They need to get their revenue and profit model refined in this age of digital media taking over books.

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