Did anyone see today’s Wall Street Journal article by Bob Hagerty about Countrywide’s efforts to battle bad publicity? The cast of characters includes a former San Diego Chargers offensive lineman screaming “NOW IT’S PERSONAL” on a conference call with managers, an executive earning $120 million a year describing himself as a “poor kid from the Bronx,” and a former Clinton White House spokesman having this promise to Countrywide staff show up in the world’s most widely read business newspaper: “I have brought companies through the worst type of publicity.”

Every company has good days and bad, but it is hard to imagine two more different entities colliding than the sales-driven Godzilla of mortgage banking, Countrywide, and the self-effacing former head of the Journal’s London bureau, Bob Hagerty.

Our bonus link, in memory of the audacious Herbert Muschamp, is his review of the Seattle Central PuHerbert Muschampblic Library. The New York Times’s architecture critic died today at the age of 59. He describes the library as “a blazing chandelier to swing your dreams upon” (whereas the EMP is “like something that crawled out of the sea, rolled over and died”). You could tell that he must have known when he was writing about the building that it would be the last one he ever reviewed. I thought of his essay all the time during my pre-Redfin days of joblessness, spent mostly on the 9th floor of that library, with its view of the courthouse across the street and the leaves falling down in the middle of a crowded city.

And while we’re on the subject of libraries, a double-bonus link, to photos of the great libraries of the world, from a friend of Redfin.


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  • Deb Bacon

    re the WSJ article:

    It says that employees are expected to sign a pledge to “demonstrate their commitment to our reefforts,” and Mr. Simon says about 11,000 have signed. Each employee who signs up receives the Protect Our House wristband made of green rubber. “We believe there’s a great story about the strength of the business,” says Mr. Simon.

    Mr. Simon might want to consider

    a) what he gets by setting up his employees to sign such a pledge (particularly under duress)

    b) what he thinks this step is saying to his employees about his trust of them

    c) why out of 60k only 11k have stepped up to sign it (particularly under duress)

    d) how he can reconcile this step with the impression the employees may have of his past leadership

    e) how he might better have formed a tight knit “band of brothers” rather than a “chain gang”.

    Just my $.02.