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Great Business Decisions

Model T Ford
Getty Images, photo by Dan Kitwood

Some of the greatest business decisions go unnoticed much of the time, things we know as ‘normal’ today, had a beginning somewhere. Home mortgages, auto loans, and other forms of consumer credit started during the great San Francisco earthquake. A.P. Gianni, the son of Italian immigrants, was able to load, on to horse drawn carts, $80,000 worth of gold from his Bank of Italy deposit vaults after the quake hit, when other banks failed to do so. Since he had the money, he offered loans of$10 to $300 loans to anyone who had a job. He backed unproven businesses too, he loaned $2 million to a guy named Walt Disney for the making of Snow White.


In 1914, Henry Ford changed American business by announcing he would reduce the hours of labor from nine to eight and offer his workers $5 per day which was twice the amount of the current wage of $2.34. The $5 a day wage came with restrictions, workers had to remain in good moral standing, and had to submit to home visits by Ford’s Sociology Department.  At the time experts thought Ford had made an economic mistake by offering so much money and thought it was just a matter of time before he was out of business.

So much for the experts!


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