Enron is the story of an energy trading company who instantly went from boom to bust during the high tech bubble. They encouraged a culture of intense competitiveness and greed among their employees, and many say they got what they deserved. Not so much for the employees whose entire 401K savings were tied up in the stock that became worthless. Capitalism at its best? You decide.
The first I ever heard of Enron was as the sponsor of Enron Field where the Houston Astros play. One year they were at the top of their game the next year they ceased to exist.
Enron was into some sort of energy trading. They made money by speculating on the price of energy. I can't imagine a less productive way to make money. Instead of trying to develop alternative energy to get us out of this fossil fuel global warming mess, these guys are in the casino gambling millions of dollars on the price of energy.
Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling were Enron. Jeff Skilling was the architect of this incredibly cutthroat culture that created these energy traders that would step over anyone to make more money. Skilling devised a self-rating system where bottom 10-20% of the employees were fired.
Enron made money all right. But they lost money too. Lots of money. Their stock price was constantly inflated by accounting tricks and manipulation, but for the most part all of their divisions were losing money.
Enron reached its peak right near the end of the dot-com craze in 1999 and 2000. This was a time when all these new technology companies had soaring stock prices when they were losing money. Enron took this to a new level. They used this trick mark to market accounting which allowed them to (legally) state as earnings money they will/may/possibly/probably never actually earn. CFO Andy Fastow used a brilliant dummy company scheme to artifially inflate profits when the company was losing millions. With the "Kalifornia" (you can hear Arnold saying it) energy crisis, Enron mercilessly manipulated the California deregulated energy market so they made money while Californians had rolling blackouts and skyrocketing energy prices.
The leaders of the company knew when it was going to crash so they sold all of the inflated stock while thousands of employees had their entire 401Ks dissolve into nothing when the stock dropped to being a penny stock. It was the classic case of greed for the wealthy while hard working average Americans get screwed. In one poof Enron was gone to be a footnote of history. It was a company of greed and cutthroat pure capitalism that produced nothing for us, not unlike thousands of these financial firms that manipulate money just to earn more money without producing anything. If we could only compensate our best and brightest trying to find the cure for cancer and the next alternative energy instead of those who are just gambling in money markets …