Don’t Buy The Datsun B210- Plan For The Future


October 14, 2009

Datsun B210

I read an article recently that said that the Datsun B-210 was voted one of the ugliest cars of all time.  Now, just looking at the picture, it would be hard to argue that it is not one of the ugliest cars.  I’m not sure why they have it pictured with a train, because it certainly was not faster than a train- not even close.  And the color choice?  That 1978 burn orange is really attractive, if you’re into pumpkins.

I know it wasn’t the most attractive car of all time.  But, it certainly had its good points.  My dad actually owned a car just like the one pictured.  It was small and had no frills.  No air, no power anything.  It did come with an AM radio, but that was all.  I’m sure he bought it just to get to and from work.  He was a plant manager at a zinc refinery so it was definitely not a place you would want to take a nice car.  The chemicals from the plant ruined the paint on every car in the lot.  The reason I had the pleasure of riding in the car was that my dad thought it would be the perfect fuel-efficient mode of transportation one summer to travel from St. Louis to St. Petersburg Beach, FL.  That had to be about the longest, hottest, 21 hours in a car I can say I have ever had.  But, it got us to our destination and back home again.

We only kept that car for about two years.  Sure, it was practical at the time, but with a growing family it just didn’t make sense.  And based on the amount of time spent in the car, my parents realized that they needed a few perks and upgrades.

Really, the car is symbolic of choices each of us make every day.  In human resources, are we no different.  The economy is bad.  Is your company in the market for new HR technology?  A new recruiting tool?  Do you need help from a consultant?  I know the tendency is to shy away from spending.  But, that is only good in the short term.  If you buy the “practical but cheap” technology, you can bet you’ll be sorry in a year or two.  The economy will rebound.  Your business will grow.  Then, you’ll be back at square one and having to pay much more than if you negotiate today.

Some people will disagree, but I feel strongly about this.  Invest NOW in your company.  The time is right, the pricing is right.  Think about your next five to ten years, not just about today.

What do you think?  Is your company keeping spending on hold?  Are they spending but buying the practical or cheaper technology?  Or, are they visionaries who are taking a little risk and investing in the company’s future?  I’d love to hear in the comments.


  • Great points, Trisha. Saving a little bit now doesn’t always pay off. And as true as that is around technology and cars, it’s even more applicable to our people.

    For the record, I think the Ford Pintobean has to be one of the ugliest cars of all time!!!!!

  • Definitely time for a good swath of small to mid-size companies to come kicking and screaming into the 21st century and away from paper-based systems and Excel spreadsheets.

    Couldn’t agree with you more about companies truly investing in their futures – kicking the tires and test driving.

    I had a Fiat X-19. Fun and cute and almost killed me. But that’s another story.

  • Wow, that is one sexy car. (I hope you can hear the dripping sarcasm in my voice)

    I think the same goes for downgrading tech too. I have a friend who’s company is downgrading almost everything from payroll processor to 401k providers. They had good technology and vendors in place for their needs and they’ve cut away all the fat and have started cutting into muscle, so to speak. When things pick back up they’ll be spending double their savings to bring equal technology back.

  • While I agree that organizations need to take the long view regarding tech resources, at the end of the day it still comes down to people. THAT’S where the investment dollars should be allocated, especially skills training.

    Quality talent trumps quality tech; the competitive advantage that technology offers gets lost as competitors adopt similar practices.Meanwhile, companies like Zappos and Southwest Airlines provide services that aren’t easily duplicated, and reap the financial rewards.

  • Great comments. I agree that the Pinto was one ugly car but when I was younger I definitely wanted a Fiat X-19. I have heard of companies holding the line and not spending money but not actually downgrading their systems. They must be seriously hurting for money.

    I think you have to have a balance between spending money on Talent versus Technology. These days, top talent is expecting top systems to support their jobs. You might be able to recruit and invest in top talent but the tools and systems are bad you might not be able to retain them.

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Datsun B210
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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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