Metaphors: General Motors

An industrial giant in bankruptcy
Jack Shafer’s “How Condé Nast Is Like General Motors,” in Slate

Although the privately held Condé Nast isn’t as financially distressed as the bankrupt General Motors, and although the magazine business couldn’t be more unlike the car business, the two distraught companies share woes. Both succeeded in segmenting the market with semi-independent divisions that were once unique and distinct but that have since faded into one, much to the confusion of consumers. Both have dramatically dumped once-valuable properties. Both have allowed divisions to operate like independent fiefdoms at the expense of the company’s greater financial good. Both have established cultures of privilege for top employees, and both appear to have woken up to their problems too late.

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