Note: The following was written on Jul 5, 2003

I wrote about “modern Pharaohs” in last December. Here is two quotes to refresh your memory.

“Modern Pharaohs do not build tombs but grandeur office buildings. They are the CEOs and executives of big corporations.”

“Call it the edifice complex or the headquarters hex. There is an uncanny link between the unveiling of a glorious new facility and a nosedive in a company’s fortunes.”

Now episode II….

Best Buy, a nationwide electronic store in the U.S., has just built a US$160 million campus in Richfield, Minneapolis, MN.

The campus consists of 4 big buildings in the shape of an ocean liner, with top levels bigger than the foundation (just like a boat!) and a sharp edge (boat spine) point outward. Each building points to a different direction.

There is a big fountain in the west (rough estimate by watching sun shadow, not measured) and an artificial pond in the east. The whole campus sits inside a big circle, with Hwy 494 encircles part of it.

When Best Buy begins moving into this new headquarter last April, they started their first layoff in corporate history.

Last week or so, they announced their first quarter loss in corporate history. They have dumped their Musicland group (consists of over 1000 Sam Goody, Gold coast and MediaPlay stores) free to another financial group for assuming the real estate leases and liabilities. This Musicland subsidiary has been bleeding money like hell for Best Buy.

Coincidence or what?

Without using any fancy Feng Shui theory, just by looking at the shape of Best Buy’s HQ, one may deduce that big shots in the company are getting too ambitious without a big enough foundation to support their ideas. Then with 4 big ships sailing at different directions, one may deduce there may be internal discords and constant switching focuses. They has just changed their advertisement to attract older age group consumers and redesigned the layout of their stores to high end consumer electronics and cut down on software titles.

However, the land form of the whole campus is good because everything is inside a circle, esp. the Hwy 494 side that has over 100k vehicles passing by. So the company could still be prosperous in the future.

Oh, I do not even bother to mention the effects of the fountain and pond yet.

Ken Lai