No dopes G.E. Jeffrey R. Immelt announced to shareholders Tuesday his strategy to focus on two business sectors: healthcare and energy. By divesting of NBC Entertainment and paring back G.E. Capital, he’s amassing a war chest of $26B for 2010 (I love saying twenty ten) so that G.E. can put some serious Benjamins against Energy 2.0.
Had Mr. Immelt done this 20 months ago, G.E. would have been in a much better place today but shareholders would have balked and he may have been ousted. Even if you can see the future, it’s still the future. The American car industry needed to make a bold move – focusing on more energy efficient gasless cars – 4 years ago but didn’t have the nerve. You just know there were nerds and young engineer types (without vesting) walking the halls of corporate car companies pleading for carbon neutral, low energy cars back then. But the car guys didn’t want to be first to push the plug. So now we have to wait for the Chevy Volt and when it does arrive, it won’t be available in great numbers. (Mistake.)
The future isn’t going anywhere. It can be predicted. Humans and human behavior, short of a mutation or two, are pretty easy to understand. Maslow was right. What’s holding up healthcare reform right now is capitalism, a touch of greed, and the inability to see the future. It will get done, but there will be bandages along the way.