Archive for December, 2009

Ask 10 people for their opinion about Irwin Jacobs and chances are you’ll get 10 different responses spanning the gamut from “great leader and businessman with vision and determination” to very possibly one of “insufferable jerk who only cares about money.”

As usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in between the two extremes of fawning and disgust. There are some in both camps who have dealt with Jacobs, who owns FLW Outdoors and until recently was CEO, chairman and sat on the board of directors for Genmar Holdings. He resigned those positions last month to pursue a quest to bring Genmar out of bankruptcy through an auction purchase of all or part of its current lineup of assets.

The few times over the years I’ve dealt with Jacobs, he has been forthright, gregarious, honest and to-the-point. You don’t build businesses, deal on Wall Street or navigate high-profile dealings by being a wilting lily. Neither do you do those things without some deeply-rooted sense of a love to tear something apart to get rid of the worst parts so the good ones can shine again.

Monday afternoon while doing some Internet searching, I ran across this interesting feature about Jacobs at MspMag.com. It was published earlier this summer and written by William Swanson.

The story is long, a throwback to the long-form profiles once found in newspapers when they had the available space, resources and time that reporters could devote to such stories. Today, unfortunately, the newspaper industry is mired in such a slump that cutbacks and buyouts, reduction in the number of column inches and the Web-centric “get those four paragraphs posted now!” mindset has all but eliminated such lengthy features except in rare instances.

Supposedly, readers don’t have time to digest such a large amount of information. I guess the little iPods and portable devices would blow a fuse handling such a mega-story. I say balderdash to that, because good information and a well-written story will be compelling no matter what. But I’m old school in that regard.

Take time to read the story about Jacobs because it’s worth it to get a look at one of the fishing and boating industry’s leaders.


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