Stupidity

by Mike Masnick




Laughing All The Way To The Bank

from the executive-compensation-silliness dept

News.com has an interview with a "compensation expert" (I wonder how you compensate a compensation expert?) concerning the state of executive compensation in Silicon Valley. Over the past year there have been a ton of stories about ridiculous CEO payouts even as a company was collapsing. Remember Webvan and George Shaheen? How about Pets.com giving out millions to the team who shut the company down? More recently AOL tried to hide the "lavish" stock option bonuses they gave execs by claiming they gave no cash bonuses. The compensation expert thinks this is all very bad for the industry. It used to be that people went to work for tech, and took a risk. They got a lower salary and lots of options to increase the upside if it worked out. Now, they're demanding lots of cash salary, huge optiong grants, and ridiculous severance packages. In other words, they have little incentive to do well. The article also discusses the potential impact of having to expense stock options (something most tech companies are violently against, but which increasingly sounds like a good idea). The fact is that accounting for them as an expense is much more accurate - and the point of financial statements is to get the most accurate picture possible of the state of the business.

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  • identicon
    Chronic Blunt, 23 Apr 2002 @ 9:38am

    yet another News.com story

    Is it me, or does it seem like 90% of this site's posts are links to News.com articles?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 23 Apr 2002 @ 10:10am

      Re: yet another News.com story

      It's actually less than 20%. If you don't like the stories we post, why do you come here?

      Anyway, my thoughts on the story selection:

      (1) News.com is generally one of the best sites out there for tech news. They write (usually) very good, very detailed, very well researched articles. I find that I have less problems with their articles than other sources.

      (2) They've very fast. Generally speaking, a good news story appears there before it appears elsewhere. Not always true, but often true.

      (3) They (unlike plenty of other sites) don't do any of the following:
      - require any registration
      - use any pop up advertising
      - archive away old articles
      - change the URL of old articles
      So, for readers, News.com stories are generally less burdensome.

      (4) On an regular day I check well over 150 different sources (yes, I've counted). News.com consistently has better news than the other sites. Trust me, if those other sites were providing as useful articles, I'd post to them too. I still check them, every day, but News.com has useful stories.

      (5) Techdirt (if you hadn't noticed) isn't just a list of links, but our own commentary as well. I think people come here to see what we have to say. The links are simply useful additions to that.

      (6) As stated in the past, there are easy to find feedback mechanisms on this site. If you have general feedback about Techdirt, you are encouraged to use those methods. People who don't, and tend to post general feedback to specific stories lose a lot of credibility. People who don't leave real names or email addresses when criticizing someone else not only lose credibility, they lose my interest... quickly.

      I like constructive feedback that is helpful for me. Your comments are not constructive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Chronic Blunt, 23 Apr 2002 @ 10:30am

        chill dude

        whoa dude, take a chill pill. I wasn't trying to slag you or nothing. just offering what I feel is some constructive criticism. As far as posting my feedback to this thread... well, your feedback form probably goes to your email address, correct? That means there is no public forum, and that is where I want my comments to be posted. It's not my fault you can't handle a little constructive criticism without getting all huffy and defensive. anyway, your site is cool, no offense intended...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike (profile), 23 Apr 2002 @ 10:46am

          Re: chill dude

          Constructive criticism I like and appreciate and encourage. Posting your own opinion in a negative way to three different articles in the course of 24 hours is not constructive criticism. Exaggerating your claims is not constructive criticism.

          Suggesting that we might want to look at other sources is constructive criticism which we do value. I did use my response to respond to that part of the criticism... but if you're going to be rude about how you post the criticism, then you should expect that I will take you to task for that as well.

          I'm glad you like coming here, and I'm glad you like reading the stories, and I do appreciate that you felt the need to make some comment concerning our story selection. However, in response, I was just letting you know that your methods for getting your point accross were not appreciated. If you had simply sent a feedback request asking why, I would have responded clearly explaining the reasons (as I did in the comment above). Instead you chose to post it three different times in incresasingly rude ways. There's no need for that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gene Hoffman, 24 Apr 2002 @ 12:05am

    Option Expensing

    If a company pays its employees nothing but stock options, generates $1B in free cash flow, and the employees start exercising and selling options two things happen. 1. The company still generates $1B in free cash flow, but the EPS continues to decline. 2. The stock price should either go down or the companies value continues to increase by the price remaining the same and the number of outstanding shares increase.

    How does expensing the stock options paint a more realistic picture? The free cash flow is still $1B and the downside is that EPS decreases - aka shareholders are diluted. I have no sympathy for the argument that we should make P/Ls less accurate simply because folks can't easily understand dilution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 24 Apr 2002 @ 8:45am

      Re: Option Expensing

      Interesting. That's a very good point and you've got me thinking a lot about my original position.

      However, I still see it as an expense in some form and here's why: any equity that the company has they have the ability to sell in order to raise money. In giving away an option, they are giving away something to employees, that otherwise would cost money to anyone outside the company. Thus, they are losing the ability to sell that equity to an outside an investor - and that's the expense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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