Meg Whitman announced today that she’s seeking the Republican nomination in the 2010 California Gubernatorial election. A political ingénue, it’s the first time she has sought public office but she has a distinguished business career behind her. Most notably as eBay CEO for the decade that saw it become one of the most successful internet companies in the world.
What can we learn about how Meg will govern California (if she wins) from her tenure at eBay? Here are some pointers and predictions:
The Campaign Slogan?
Meg’s a marketer. So why not reuse some of eBay’s successful marketing campaigns in the race for Governor? Get those Whitdorphins! Vote Victoriously! Whitman for California: The Power of all of Us!
Why listen to pundits and those pesky voters when the market can decide? Meg will go public and float California on the Nasdaq as soon as she can after election. She’ll get 6.6% of the state. It’s only fair. That’s what she got at eBay. Keeping California’s stock high will mean quarterly targets and reporting to Wall Street. Making sure every quarter is a success will mean that long-term investment and infrastructure plans and schemes certainly won’t be forgotten. If things don’t work out, expect speculation that California will be bought by Microsoft or possibly even merge with YAHOO!.
A ‘Growth through Acquisition’ strategy
Meg’s eBay loved writing cheques and buying companies: PayPal, Skype, Alando.de, Rent.com, Shopping.com, StumbleUpon. Can she make this work as Governor? Acquiring Nevada is clearly a ‘no brainer’. And when Oregon is bought up in a cash and stock deal as an ‘obvious strategic and cultural fit’, California Inc. will enjoy the Power of Three. The acquisition of New Hampshire will be judged a mistake when analysts claim California overpaid for a state that cannot be integrated with the core platform and doesn’t enjoy ‘obvious synergies’ with other properties in the portfolio. New Hampshire will then be sold to Google at a loss.
Guns, alcohol, tobacco: banned.
The sale of all guns, tobacco and alcohol (unless sold in collectable bottles) will be banned. PR risk.
All State Employees will be Paid with PayPal
PayPal is the fast, safe and easy way to pay. So all state officials and staff will be paid via PayPal minus fees of 2.9% and $0.30.
Bring on the MBAs
Meg loves MBAs and MBAs love Meg. She isn’t sentimental about loyal staff with distinguished service. Why get someone with genuine expertise and experience to do a job, when you can hire a Stanford or Harvard MBA in khaki pants and a buttoned-down blue shirt from the GAP to review and strategise about the very same job for three times the salary? Welcome to SacraMBAnto.
Taxes. Up. Thirty days notice.
Like fee changes on eBay, tax rises are good for you and they’re good for California. When Taxes are raised, it means a more vibrant state for everyone. New tax announcements will be made on town noticeboards in the dead of night. Interminable, impenetrable prose will be favoured. Meg also promises more nickel and diming.
Introducing the PowerCitizen Scheme
Californian citizens who pay the highest taxes will be invited to join the PowerCitizens scheme. PowerCitizens are entitled to wear a badge showing their PowerCitizen status and- erm- that’s it. Diamond PowerCitizens paying more than $2 million a year will have the opportunity to negotiate lower taxes. In a spirit of openness and transparency, the state government will pretend it doesn’t happen.
We believe people are basically good ’til cancelled.
Contact Governor Whitman
All communication with Governor Whitman will be conducted via email and outsourced to a dedicated team in Salt Lake City, Utah. For your convenience, automated replies with absolutely no reference to your original query will be used.