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– Chapter One
Introducing Santa

– Chapter Two
"Take Me Through the Numbers"

– Chapter Three
The Scheming Begins

– Chapter Four
Santa and His Shrink

– Chapter Five
The Doll Factory






New Orleans






- The Divine Right    of Capital

- Pigs at the   Trough


- What It Is

- Why a Santa    Novel?

- Who Benefits

- Secrecy in Santa

Author Bio






Readers Who Will Benefit

For the Teacher:

    You can use "Santa" to develop case challenges for business students at all levels. The obvious fiction and frequent humor in the main volume provide a somewhat whimsical change from the ordinary business case material.  With a properly presented case, students will see the "Santa Challenge" as an opportunity to have some fun with the business concepts they've been presented.  

    But underneath all the fun they'll be doing some serious learning.  "Santa" does not pretend to have the answers to the tough questions facing business today; it will likely raise more questions than it answers, and it will challenge even advanced students.  You and your class will raise additional questions on your own.  "Santa" can be as rich as your imagination will let you take it.  These companion pages provide plenty of material, but you and your students are encouraged to explore every aspect of the Santa business, and to share your results with me.

 For the Beginning Business Student:

    Sure, it may sound crazy at first:  Study Christmas as a business?  But you're guaranteed plenty of fun discussion, and at the same time you'll have an opportunity to exercise the basic concepts to which you've been exposed.  You'll experience first-hand the collision of concept and reality (yes, there's reality at the North Pole, what did you expect?).  How do you manage all those reindeer?  How do you keep everything secret?  How do you manage 40,000 delivery routes on one night?  How do you keep your cash flow moving through a pipeline that really takes off (pun intended) only once a year?  


    I'm sure you can think of many more questions around running this magical business. Just remember, for every question, you'll have to come up with an answer.  Some may not satisfy you fully, but--well, that's business!

For the Marketing Specialist:

    At first glance, it ought to be a cinch:  "Santa" has to be one of the most well-known, most beloved of brands.  But think a minute:  In the novel, Santa is initially presented in a business suit.  What happened to the traditional red suit?  Worse yet, even though the novel emphasizes this version of Santa, what about extensions of the brand worldwide?  Befana in Italy?  Joulupukki in Finland?  How is the brand managed there?  Or consider how the brand has changed over time.  Does "Santa" evoke traditional Christmas?  What impact has the dot-com revolution had?  How do you solve the struggle between Santa (commercial), Saint Nick (traditional / religious), and Christmas as the birth of Jesus?

    Oh, there's more, and you'll have fun figuring it all out.  There's distribution and channel management, media issues, what to do in the dry season from January until October, on and on.  "Santa" may be an amusing marketing exercise, but it will be far from a dull one.

For the Business Ethicist:

    You'll certainly have your work cut out for you here.  Aside from the age-old traditional Christmas vs. commercialization struggle, there's plenty going on in the story.  Was Santa's ouster ethically right or wrong?  How should the business respond to pressures to diversify and accelerate?  The book describes situations in which workers feel "hollowed out," losing purpose, overwhelmed by paperwork.  Are these simply business challenges, or do they have an ethical dimension, and if so, what is that ethical dimension, and how should it be addressed?  Are the actions of the "schemers" (Groomer, Silvertongue, Oiler - you'll meet them in the story) entirely without merit, or can they ever be justified?  Is Baylor's direction for the business flawed, as Santa would state, or is there some merit to it?

    Santa, CEO can be seen as a novel about the tension caused by trying to determine the right path through a world beset by pressures and challenges.  When the "right path" is skewed, we end up with an implosion such as what happened at Ford, or a public disaster such as Enron.  If the stimulus for each is maximizing investments or shareholder returns, these are hardly served in either case.  And in the Enron case in particular, ethics clearly fell by the wayside.  You may find the path through "Santa" frustrating, but there will be a lot to learn.

For the Business Strategist:

    You might have the most fun of all.  As its title implies, Santa, CEO is about corporate governance.  You'll get inside the head of someone who is obviously magical, but both his magic and his long years of experience help him little as he struggles against the machinations of a Board he himself set up.  Is Santa taking the business in the right direction?  Or is he, as he calls himself late in the novel, a "dinosaur" like Easter Industries' Rabbit?  Even worse, is he nothing more than a "paper-tiger" chairman, to use scheming elf Groomer's words?  Is the ouster wrong, or necessary? How do you know?  Where would you take the business?

    So roll your sleeves up, remember every scrap of business acumen you've been taught, and go to it.  I'd love to see what you come up with.  I think you'll have a blast.

For Someone with an Idle Interest:

    There are plenty of reasons why you might find yourself wandering through these companion pages. You might have enjoyed Santa, CEO and now find yourself hungry for additional information about Santa's world.  You might have an interest in business, without the formal grounding in a business curriculum, and you want a deeper understanding of the struggles facing the characters.  Or perhaps you're not familiar at all with the business world, and you'd like to learn more.

    Whatever the reason, you'll find both answers and questions on these pages.  



© 2004 David Soubly

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