What’s your problem?

April 5, 2019

There are good problems and bad problems to have when you’re in business.

In this edition of Texas Inc., we bring you discussions of both.

Astros President Reid Ryan’s problems are keeping fans happy and winning championships. These challenges are by no means easy, but they are good problems to have.

“The business model for the Astros, really, our goal, is to win championships,” he tells Texas Inc. “That’s why we’re here. Nobody works with the organization to try to finish third. We want to win World Series. ... What’s great about my job is that I’m entrusted with making sure that our fans have a good experience.”

Also in this edition, Robb Voyles, the acclaimed general counsel of Halliburton, talks about fending off billions of dollars worth of lawsuits against the oilfield services company. Clearly, a lawsuit is not a good problem to have. But it’s good to have an experienced legal hand on board when one gets filed.

Voyles, who is 61 years old, tells our legal news partner Texas Lawbook that he spent half his career defending Halliburton against a class-action shareholder lawsuit that alleged Halliburton executives had lied about cost overruns, hid information about liabilities related to asbestos litigation and covered up allegations of corporate misconduct. He just wrapped it up a few weeks ago, and had he lost, it would have cost Halliburton dearly.

Can you imagine coming to work every day for 18 years with litigation like this hanging over your head every day? And it’s your job to make it go away?

Also read real estate reporter Nancy Sarnoff’s piece on Houston’s Lower Westheimer. What was once a street lined with tattoo parlors, seedy bars, thrift shops and failing retailers such as Radio Shack is evolving into one of the cooler places to go in Houston with new shopping centers, high-end boutiques and some of the city’s most popular restaurants.

Turns out the grittiness of Lower Westheimer has become an opportunity to build something unique.

“That is what makes this area so special relative to the rest of Houston,” developer and real estate broker Mark Davis tells Texas Inc. “It is not like every other suburban strip.”

Count your problems as blessings and they’ll keep you in business for a long time.

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