Friday, October 22, 2010

Enron - How?

Doing what I do, the story of Enron and its collapse like a house of cards into a sea of oil was the most incredible story of our times. It was all the more remarkable that it took business magazine journalist Bethany McLean to first ask the question that no-one else would - is Enron overpriced?. Not an analyst, a regulator, a bank, or even a whisteblower from within, but a magazine journalist from Fortune.

The story has been made into a feature length documentary and a stage play. I saw it at the Lowry last night and it's terrific. A brilliantly staged production with some powerful devices to tell the story - the monsters in the cellar to represent the off balance sheet SPVs that Andy Fastow set up, for example.

It's a test for us as storytellers to make these tales compelling, but a test too to keep asking questions. Ironic that one of Enron's slogans was "Why?" the question that keeps being asked retrospectively is "How?"

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