Last month we wrote about the adventures of Apollo 13 (where else but in Financial Director do you read about Apollo 13?). In our article, we drew an analogy between the grounding of astronaut Ken Mattingly (above, front) a week before the launch (he had been exposed to measles and was causing concern among Houston’s mission controllers) and the way venture capitalists sometimes insist that one of the management team in an MBO be bumped off.
It was a cautionary tale, but one with a happy ending – for Ken Mattingly, at least. We reported that, though he missed out on the perilous flight that was the subject of the second most famous sound-bite from space – “Houston, we have a problem” – he did get to fly on Apollo 16 in 1972.
But it has also been pointed out to us that Mattingly was the one member of Apollo 16’s three-man crew who had to pilot the command module as it orbited the moon, while his commanding officer and another guy got to walk on the lunar surface. Typical, snorts one of our number: he gets the team to where it wants to go then the mission boss and his sidekick get to grab all the glory. How many under-appreciated FDs have looked on while their CEOs and marketing colleagues basked in the limelight in similar fashion?