The Danger of Big Men
Posted by Corelin
Currently there’s a bit of a row going on with Men’s Wearhouse, which ousted its founder over… something anyway. The company is being pretty cagey about it. The man literally built the company himself. He’s been the heart, soul, and visual representation of the company for longer than I’ve been alive. Ousting him has given a body blow to the stockholders, and created a lot of unnecessary drama. Fortunately it’s a robust, well put together company with plenty of names on the board, but it is pretty clear that ousting Zimmer was not a brilliant move.
So how does this apply to EvE? Let’s talk about the Mittani. He has become the face of Goonswarm. Without him the councils that run the swarm would just be another faceless mass lacking charisma and influence. The Mittani wears a mask allowing him to be “Big Brother” for the swarm. They love him, they are excited by his presence, and they are strengthened by his speaking, even if it’s anything but brilliant.
So… what happens if he leaves? What happens if he burns out HARD on EvE? What happens if his wife gets jealous of the real mistress? What happens if he tires of Goons but not EvE? This isn’t Darius Johnson. This is Mittens. This is THE goon. Losing him would be bad. Having him turn on them, as George Zimmer is turning on Men’s Wearhouse, would be a disaster. Partisans for Mittens would be torn, people that just wanted to be Goons would be angered at how he’s now killing the “brand”
Big men offer a huge benefit, but letting them get TOO big, letting them become the brand as it were, puts the brand in danger. The Mittani represents a huge resource for the goons, but as a lone leader he represents a weak point. He has to be Mittens all the time, he has to wear the mask, maintain the aura, and show up for the dog and pony shows.
This was shown up recently when Mittens declared war on TEST and then went to E3. He had a blast but the spin machine spun out of control, fleets were whelped and things just didn’t look right. Without the conductor waving his wand the orchestra played badly. Goonswarm needs to take a look at its face. Internally they have a council, they have leaders other than Mittens, but there’s no face but Mittens. He’s like a Big Brother who can royally fuck up, get drunk, hammer himself and get exorcised. He’s a Wizard of Oz who doesn’t even have much of a curtain at the moment.
The problem is figuring out how to do a better organization. Go with a Troika? Nominate a successor and have him stand up a bit more? Have the council members step up a bit more and really water things down? It’s not an easy solution. There’s downsides everywhere. I know one thing though, Goons needs to look long and hard at their options right now and prevent a disaster down the road.