WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

In today's market, you must ignore the hype

I was a 14 year old Washington Bullets fan when they won the NBA championship in 1978 over the Seattle Supersonics. Wes Unseld remains as my favorite basketball player of all time.

The playoffs that year gave birth to a great expression: “The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”

As I watch the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat battle for the O’Brien trophy this year, I’m reminded of that expression with each game. Through five games, neither team has won two in a row, and neither team seems to carry over any winning momentum from one game to the next.

But one thing I find interesting, and something that can apply to government contracting, is that Capitol Hill and policy making, in general, is the doom and gloom that follows each game.

Listen to the majority of commentators, and they paint a very black and white picture of what’s going on in the series. Whoever wins is anointed the presumed champion, and the loser is on the brink of collapse.

The fact is that, in the very next game, the roles of the teams are reversed; however, the commentators often continue their "all good" and "all bad" comments. One commentator even admitted that he and his compatriots were “intoxicated by the moment,” or words to that effect.

It’s a good objective lesson for the rest of us. No matter what company wins or loses a contract, nor what policy is debated on Capitol Hill, the ultimate impact is always much more subtle than what is indicated in the fresh aftermath of an action.

You can take your pick of issues and do a reality check, and you’ll find that the results aren’t the extremes we often talk about.

Usually no event by itself has the impact predicted in its immediate aftermath. Too often, we fall victim to the hype.

Sequestration hasn’t been the end of the world. Lowest price, technically acceptable contracting isn't going to lead to a rush away from government work.

When it comes to our current market conditions, the fat lady hasn’t even warmed up her vocal cords yet, so who knows how this opera is going to end.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 17, 2013 at 9:52 AM

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