91 Comments

Comments

Lord Westfall says ...
Ha! I had wondered why you had remained silent while all this nonsense was going on...it seems in your nature to confront such absurdities. Anyone who has even a hint of critical thinking skills would realize that posting on a stock message board has no effect on the stock price of a major company...it is truly amazing that anyone can even think this. Of course this whole issue wouldn't have even came up if the FTC hadn't placed absurd demands on WFM and then gone on a fishing expedition trying to find something negative about you. What was that all about? Anywho, I have a question for you. If you were posting on OATS' board claiming the stock was overvalued, why then would you turn around and pay a premium to aquire it a few months later...and a large premium at that? As a shareholder, I'm a bit concerned that OATS wasn't worth $18.50/share, and some of the posts I've read indicate that you felt the same way earlier. Did the value of OATS really change that dramatically in such short time? Regards, Lord Westfall
06/01/2008 5:52:45 AM CDT
chris macrae says ...
Your business and leadership is one of the few that wholly excites curiosity among students and practitioners of future capitalism -let's hope it becomes a favourite open source case when Paris' unlearning MBA starts this fall http://www.hec.fr/hec/eng/news/news-detail.php?cle=74916&num=1213
06/01/2008 9:20:57 AM CDT
Debi A says ...
Has being a public figure or just your life experience brought you any clarity on this issue that I bring? I have noticed just how much I adore and embrace validation... and how bruised and hurt I get from being judged 'unfairly'... when in all reality, neither should affect me one way or another. And in all reality either one can give false feedback of what is right and true. Correct? (an example being the Enron finance people were being immoral and getting validated, and the people within the company trying to do the right thing were being villianized. ) What has having the spotlight on you, and being in this regulation laden arena brought you on this?
06/01/2008 9:31:31 AM CDT
Brian Johnson says ...
Hey John: Great post! I'm thrilled you're back to blogging as your posts completely transformed my consciousness as an entrepreneur when I first started reading them a few years ago. Can't wait to see what's in store (no pun intended :)!! -bri
06/01/2008 11:27:18 AM CDT
John Mackey says ...
To Bragi Valgeirsson, No deal was cut between the government (the SEC) and either Whole Foods or me. After investigating my posts they concluded that no enforcement action against either Whole Foods or myself would be recommended. My blog posting wasn't reviewed by a "team of lawyers" as you claim. For the record: I am sorry and I am moving on. To Chistopher Andrew, You seem to still be confused about the rahodeb postings. I strongly urge you to spend some time reading what I actually wrote instead of simply judging me from media reports that you read or heard. "Mackey" did not openly criticize Wild Oats on Yahoo! A small number of posts by a character named rahodeb criticized Wild Oats. Those criticisms had absolutely no effect on Wild Oats stock price. I seriously doubt that any postings by anyone on Yahoo! has any effect on any company. No one took my comments on Yahoo! seriously because no one knew who I was. I wasn't "hiding" my identity on Yahoo! I was participating in an on-line community the same way that everyone else does who participates on those Yahoo! does--with a screen name. That is the normal custom and I see no reason why that custom applies to everyone else but not to me. To Bryan Bergmann, I look forward to meeting you when I visit the Nashville store. I believe that will be next March when we have our Annual Meeting, but perhaps before. To Maryel Mckeown, Well said. I agree with you about Whole Foods pricing. We are competitive with anyone out there when comparing products of equal quality. Unfortunately our critics see what they want to see instead of the way things really are. To J.Peron, Thanks for seeing things clearly and sharing your clarity here. To Lord Westfall, I urge you to go back and read my detailed reasons for acquiring Wild Oats that I made a year ago and posted on my blog under the title of: <a href="http://wholefoodsmarket.com/socialmedia/jmackey/2007/06/19/whole-foods-market-wild-oats-and-the-federal-trade-commission/#2" rel="nofollow">Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and the Federal Trade Commission</a>. I won't repeat the reasons here again. The main point for you to understand is that Wild Oats had a certain value as a stand alone company and a completely different value as a part of Whole Foods. As an independent stand alone company Wild Oats had lost $97 million over a 20 year period. Think about that--in 20 years they not only didn't make any money, but they lost $97 million. By almost any objective valuation metric Wild Oats stock wasn't worth that much IMO. What held the stock price up, despite its continued losses, was the collective belief of the Market that someone else would eventually buy it. Indeed, the billionaire supermarket takeover expert, Ron Burkle, had bought 17% of the company and the Market believed there was a good chance that he would buy the rest of the company as well. The Market also believed that someone like Whole Foods, Safeway, or Kroger might buy them. So why was Whole Foods willing to pay $18.50 a share if I believed (posting as rahodeb) that Wild Oats was worth considerably less? The answer is what Whole Foods will do with the OATS stores under our management. Whole Foods intellectual, operating, and cultural capital in managing natural food stores are all huge. We've already shut down most of the Wild Oats stores that were losing money and we are systematically improving and upgrading the stores that remain. Whole Foods stores average $917 per sq. ft. in sales while Wild Oats stores only average $450 per sq. ft.--only 50% as much. We believe that we will be able to increase Wild Oats sales per sq. ft. over the next 3 to 5 years to be approximately equal to Whole Foods stores. If/when that happens then the Wild Oats stores are going to be exceptionally profitable and the acquisition will be strongly accretive to Whole Foods profits. Was Wild Oats worth $18.50 to Whole Foods? We think it was or we wouldn't have done the deal. However, it takes Whole Foods superior store operating abilities to unlock the hidden value that exists within Wild Oats. That hidden value was not realized by Wild Oats previous management as their $97 million in cumulative losses clearly demonstrates. Would we like to have paid less than $18.50? Of course! However, that was the best price we were able to negotiate.
06/01/2008 3:34:59 PM CDT
John Mackey says ...
To chris macrae, I've spoken at about a dozen MBA programs around the United States over the past several years. Without exception the students were quite excited about my message about Conscious Capitalism (see my blog posting on Conscious Capitalism). I believe that 21st century business is going to undergo a tremendous transformation on the lines of the message that I outline in my blog on the subject. These young MBAs as well as thousands of young entrepreneurs will transform our society for the better over the next couple of decades. Hopefully young entrepreneurs in France will be part of this larger movement of transformation. To Debi A., I have Zero desire to be in the public spotlight and avoid it as much as possible. I do not need or seek "validation" from the public. I urge you to read my <a href="http://wholefoodsmarket.com/socialmedia/jmackey/2008/05/21/bentley-college-commencement-speech/" rel="nofollow">Commencement Address at Bentley College</a> on my blog, which gives many of the lessons I have learned over the previous 12 months.
06/01/2008 3:47:22 PM CDT
C says ...
Gosh, using a moniker in an online forum. What will people think of next. =)
06/01/2008 6:00:52 PM CDT
Reed Burkhart says ...
Hi John, Welcome back. In the "<i>other topics</i>" column, I wonder, John, if you may like to comment on other current Conscious Capitalism-related happenings -- especially the current Ebay suit against Craigslist. Craig Newmark appears to use his personal profits, in part, to promote truth-telling to power. In one interview, Craig mentions (paraphrasing from memory), "<i>and then there is this idea that what we are doing [our approach to business] is part of something bigger.</i>" If a common understanding is to come about of what Conscious Capitalism might best mean, it will likely happen from dialogues between and about those who are making the new waves -- perhaps such as you and Craig Newmark. Incidentally, the universe seems to be set up in an amazing way. It seems, perhaps, to direct energy in just the right direction for each of us: a) pushing Mackey towards his humbler side (a quality that Newmark appears to exhibit well)* b) pushing Newmark to consider and discuss his own practice of capitalism with deeper articulation (where Mackey has perhaps shown unparalleled leadership)** * I wonder if humility may be a key prerequisite for advancing a coherent movement towards an evolved practice of capitalism – and I wonder if cultural evolution (and business culture evolution) might be inextricably tied to both personal, and collective personal, growth. ** I wonder if collaborative refinement of concepts and practices of Conscious Capitalism may be prerequisites to Conscious Capitalism, because prerequisite to establishing winning arguments for economic theory, public policy, etc., which may be required to support the collective advance to truer and more durable business culture (and general culture). Thanks, John, for being you. A friend once asked why I would ever try to change anything in the universe, on the grounds that everything was already perfect. It seems to me that while there is perfection in all of us today, that today’s perfection cannot equal tomorrow’s perfection – if life, itself, would have any meaning. So here’s to a practice today that works towards more perfect practices tomorrow: more perfect practices in business culture, and more perfect practices in human culture – acknowledging that with all our latent imperfections today, there is still something perfect about it all, even today. Regards, Reed
06/01/2008 8:20:29 PM CDT
Zhjondon says ...
Hey John, it's good to have you back on the blogging scene. I must say that I really respect the fact that you have taken out time to respond to most comments on here, even the malicious. I personally don't see why you have to justify your actions to anybody in a capitalist economy where words seem the closest we'll ever come to any moral or ethical substance. The internet has created a forum of equality (of sorts) and if all user ID's or internet monikers where real names, only then would we have justifiable grounds to question your motives. You have built a dynasty I can swear most of these haters can only dream of, so its only natural that the Bragi's, Jay's and Chris' question elements they don't understand. As long as WFM keeps up with the core value of giving back to the community and environment (the Green Mission, The Whole Planet Foundation, The Race for the Cure, 5% Tuesdays, etc) all is well. As a matter of fact "YEKCAM" would be a nice moniker to take on next. Good luck John and may the force be with you! Peace.
06/01/2008 10:12:05 PM CDT
Robert White says ...
I learned and got real value from this post. While I'd prefer to not create the media firestorm you endured, should I ever make the kind of unintentional mistakes you made, I believe I'll be better prepared to take responsibility and to communicate the lessons learned. Good modeling here--thank you!
06/02/2008 4:09:18 PM CDT
Laura says ...
And as we say on the floor "thats how we here at Whole Foods Market like it".This explanation right here... this is why we work for you! Let's continue to educate our team members and guests why it's important to demand knowledge on where, how, and what our food is grown from. For that is the issue at hand.
06/02/2008 8:14:57 PM CDT
Daniela Papi says ...
Dear John - I am impressed with your belief in transparency and your commitment to openly expressing your ideas and opinions. Perhaps those who argued "why such a long post" have never worked to create something that they believed in so passionately that attacks against is almost seemed like personal attack and of course call for a defense when they are undue. I have followed your work through FLOW and other material and I believe that this open dialog is the key to changing opinions and attitudes. If we all left our arguments with "I'm sorry, I'm moving on." or "I'm right, you're wrong." and didn't ever express the WHYS and HOWS of our opinions, how could we all learn from each other? I believe that my generation (I'm turning 30 this month) is in a position to propagate huge shifts in actions: what we eat, what materials we consume, how we pollute, where we shop, where we give - but shifting the ATTITUDES of the consumers and givers, shoppers and polluters, that is where these next generations need to focus their energies in order to make these action choices stick, in my opinion. Your blogging, openness to criticism, admissions of mistakes, and willingness to engage the public in open dialog is a part of this necessary attitude shift. At the NGO I founded (<a href="http://www.pepyride.org" rel="nofollow">www.pepyride.org</a>) and affiliated volunteer tours which fund our work, we have found that the times when critics voice concern over our actions, pricing, and policies are the times we are able to reflect, revise, and revisit our decisions. Criticism, openness to it, and admission of failures and setbacks which are of course inevitable, breath life into new developments and innovations. Organizations and people who openly admit mistakes while also engaging in open dialogue over criticism, rather than ignoring it, are much more trustworthy to me than those touting a clean bill of actions. Finally, when it comes to critics of pricing, something many organizations working to offer quality products and services, human capacity building, and thoughtful decision making face, I will now defer them to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdrCalO5BDs" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdrCalO5BDs</a>. "Some things cost more than you realise" and higher prices aren't always a bad thing. Thank you for sharing with us John. I admire the model of transparency and dialogue you are setting and I hope it influences others to follow your lead. - Daniela PS - To be fair, I don't even consider your actions a "mistake" as, had you blogged with your real name, THEN you would perhaps have been able to influence markets slightly. Changing attitudes towards the belief that "the successful businessman is always in the wrong" might be where we need to start ;-)
06/03/2008 2:33:56 PM CDT
Tony Kvale says ...
Thank you for taking time to explain this situation, we've been wondering about it. It is rare to see authentic humility and apology in today's leaders, and I applaud your bravery. The thing most striking is that I think I might've been doing the same thing in your situation! (uh-oh, now I've alerted the SEC to watch me closely!) Best wishes to you, John! Kvale Good Natured Games
06/04/2008 12:50:57 AM CDT
Millie Serat says ...
Yeah everything here is sugarcoated and Yahoo terminated your ID for abuse of terms of service didn't they? Next time abide by TOS.
06/05/2008 7:30:02 PM CDT
chris macrae says ...
It may sound melodramatic to say that the sustainability of the human race will ultimately depend on whether we can reinvent true media, but 2 generations of my family have pretty well made that our life's exploration. When it comes to critising sugarcoated uses of media, we'd propose making a hall of shame out of mass media incident abuses before we rush to judge who are the shames and the fames of new media's use. It amazes me that here we all are nearly a decade into century 21 and we have no transparent and cross-cultural educational curriculum to help kids debate the differences between the whole truth, the inconvenient truth and the downright evil uses that mass media has been repetively put to. Where is the olympic games of 21st C reality competitions instead of ones where tv image-making conquers the world spun by arbitrary games ruled by balls, sticks and short-distance timelines?
06/06/2008 7:48:30 AM CDT
Boake Moore says ...
Subject: Conscious Capitalism: Creating a New Paradigm for Business Dear Mr. Mackey - I own and started a coffee company 2 years ago to help local homeless children in Atlanta and orphans around the world. Since it is a "side" business we decided there would not be any overhead or salaries all the profits would go to help the impoverished children. For the past 2 years my business has grown through both on line orders and through the sale at churches around Atlanta Georgia. I recently approached WFM - Southeastern Corporate Office about selling my coffee in the local stores. The easy answer would have been no - I don't have any brand recognition and WFM already has so many great coffee vendors. However I was pleasantly surprised to get the response: you are a small local vendor and we like to support the small guys; and you are helping our community with your projects and we are an active member in helping our community so we would like to partner with you. I can proudly say I received my purchase orders this past week and my organic coffee will be on display this week at the 7 Whole Foods Markets in Atlanta. Doug Alvarez and John Simrell have been tremendous at helping me set this up and very supportive in believeing in my vision to help homeless children. All the proceeds from the sales will go to a Family Crisis Center in Atlanta - where moms and children are left homeless due to spousal abuse. So your customers get to try a great new organic coffee while we get to help hundreds of homeless children. Doug and team are helping me setting up samplings and marketing so people will try a coffee that no one knows about - because as he says weat WFM are all about community. Thank you. But it gets better. While we were going through setting up the paperwork and them teaching me about the WFM - John Simrell told his financial team about our new partnership. Well your employees on their own had a quick on the spot "lets help" campaign. Your employees brought in hundreds of clothes, books, shoes and toys for the Family Crisis Center - so much I have carried 2 large truckloads so far. We haven't sold the first bag of coffee yet but WE are already making a difference. So many companies talk the game of helping community but its been truly amazing to see the WFM culture and spirit at work. I recognize the risks your SE Office is taking in giving me an unknown some shelf space but its so refrshing to see a company do what they preach. Again thanks for your new "Conscious Capitalism: Creating a New Paradigm for Business" - its very alive in Atlanta Georgia. Sincerely, Boake Moore Mission Grounds Gourmet Coffee "The Coffee Helping Children"
06/08/2008 10:09:01 AM CDT
Eric Pinckert says ...
This "BlogGate" is a tremendous distraction to the business of running global company that pioneered many industry best practices we now take for granted. Instead of addiing to the war of words, Whole Foods needs to sharpen the saw to maintain its brand and market leadership against competitors fine-tuning strategies straight of the WF playbook. My two cents: http://www.brandculturetalk.com/2008/06/06/
06/09/2008 11:40:58 AM CDT
Peter says ...
John The concept of a "do over" is fruitless and distracting from the fact that one always reaps what they sow. In other words, each of us controls the energy we put forth and it's important not to have any pre-conceived notions about what will blossom. The trick is to learn from whatever is reaped and keep on going. The biggest mistake one can make is not to learn from so called failures.
06/08/2008 10:44:53 AM CDT
Red Elk says ...
Welcome back to blogging John! I appreciate the challenge of vigorous debate that you have offered in the past, as I have read nearly all of your past posts, but more importantly, I look forward to your future conversations. I've never responded to your conversations in the past, but I want you to know that I have appreciated your thoughts and learned much about the core values in action from you. Thank you for offering the transparent communication --Red Elk
06/10/2008 9:32:53 AM CDT
Mary Harris says ...
Thanks John. We all knew it was hokey pokey:) See you next time in CHP. Faithful Team Member It's awesome believing in this bigger thing:)
06/10/2008 7:03:19 PM CDT
Joshua Wallis says ...
Great reading your posts again. I can't wait to see what Whole Foods is going to look like in 10 years with you at the helm.
06/18/2008 12:26:23 AM CDT
Arobind says ...
Hi John, First time reader of your blog. I have recently become a vendor to Whole Foods (La Jolla. Will be in Hillcrest soon). Well, I did not know that you had a blog and that all this has happened! Probably was living under a rock. I'm sure that it was not a pleasant experience, but now that it's over, it makes a rather interesting read. I hope to learn more from your experiences and comments in the future. Keep chugging, mate.
07/11/2008 5:47:52 PM CDT
Gayla Dreith says ...
I am in upper management also, I believe in Freedom of Speech and no better way than the internet. So, continue on my friend.... I find it so interesting that I am going to make a point to stop in at a Whole Foods Store and shop. Have a great day!!! P.S. Let the Board know that you have gained a new customer......
07/13/2008 11:26:17 PM CDT
New Cars India says ...
Hello John, I was looking for blog marketing and I came across your blog. When I read your blog I was shocked that how much time you people spend on the blogs. How can you manage to reply for the blogs with your busiest schedule? All the best for your future.
08/09/2008 12:31:56 PM CDT
Voyle Glover says ...
Like your style, John. More, I like your ethics and what you've done. Winston Churchill summed it up for you: "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." You're writing your own history by your good work. Keep on keeping on.
08/09/2008 1:02:23 PM CDT

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