On the face of it, a cover story about Ted Turner in Inc., the bible of small to medium-size businesses, seems absurd. As your February cover story ["The Mouth Will Rise Again," John Anderson] illustrates, Turner is a billionaire many times over who can start any business from a strong capitalization base.
But this story is perfectly suited for Inc., because what's fascinating is that Turner is returning to his roots--to a time when he wasn't a world-famous media mogul but a savvy entrepreneur from Georgia. He is an extraordinary man, and his vision of peace and goodwill between nations is worthy of great praise. I've had the pleasure of meeting him on two occasions, and I can tell you that he is unsurpassed in his enthusiasm to promote a better vision for the world. His gusto for life and willingness to put his money where his mouth is have no equal. Time Warner made the greatest mistake of its corporate existence by showing this true visionary the door.
Santa Monica, Calif.
You Say Arbitrate, I Say Mediate
In her February article ["A Win for Arbitration, But Do You Ultimately Lose?"], Lora Kolodny makes an all-too common mistake in equating arbitration with mediation. These two terms should not be used synonymously. An arbitrator listens to both sides and eventually makes the final decision on how to resolve the dispute. A mediator, on the other hand, assists disputants in finding a resolution but does not make the decision for them.
For ages, most people thought the only way to resolve disputes was to run to court. But litigation is usually the most severe and expensive way to resolve the issue. Arbitration was developed to avoid the pain of litigating, but it has grown so formal over the last century that many arbitrators identify the process they offer as a "trial." Mediation, which is more informal than either litigation or arbitration, is an incredibly powerful process not well-enough known in this country. It should not be confused with arbitration.
Raymond W. Patterson
Director of Communications & Dispute Resolution
Civilian Complaint Review Board
New York City
If You Educate, They Will Pay
I enjoyed "Flexing Your Pricing Muscles" [February, Nadine Heintz] and found it to be very relevant to business owners debating whether or not to raise prices. However, the article failed to emphasize one important point: Customers will shop based on price only when they don't have any other information to help them make a purchasing decision. If you educate customers about why they're better off buying from you than from the competition, often they'll gladly pay a higher price. That's the function of good marketing: Give customers the information they need, so that they can make an informed decision--to purchase from you!
Toluca Lake, Calif.
On page 22 of the February issue ("A Win for Arbitration, But Do You Ultimately Lose?"), we misspelled the name of Arthur F. Silbergeld, a partner in the law firm of Proskauer Rose.
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