Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Cycling and Newspapers

So what is it about cycling and newspapers? After writing that last post, it occurred to me that one of the most popular cycling events in the U.S. -- the RAGBRAI -- is sponsored by the The Des Moines Register. Once my children are old enough to ride along, we are going to make that ride.

When I read a story about the RAGBRAI recently, it showed pictures of Iowans on their porches watching the cyclists pass. The whole notion of cycling as a spectator sport is a bit silly, really. Unless you are driving alongside the cyclists (or watching a television picture by someone who is doing just that), the most you can see is a few seconds, perhaps a few minutes on a mountain stage. Still, people line up in Normandy and Cedar Rapids to see just that. Strange.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Strategy and Corporate Governance -- Part II

Here is a thought prompted by my preparation for the Directors' Summit (see immediately below): if entrepreneurial firms have different strategic needs from other companies, should their corporate governance system also be different? Of course, privately held firms will necessarily be different from firms whose shares are publicly traded, but is corporate governance a "one size fits all" affair for publicly traded firms? My intuition tells me that there must be important differences among firms, but I don't think we have really confronted this issue as a regulatory matter. Stay tuned for more thoughts on this topic as things develop.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Strategy and Corporate Governance -- Part I

Since last fall, I have been at the University of Wisconsin, working with a group called the Initiative for Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship (INSITE). They have quickly become some of my favorite people, and I am learning a lot about entrepreneurship.

Last week, Anne Miner, Mason Carpenter, and I met with representatives of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) to discuss their upcoming Directors' Summit. Mason and I will be doing a panel entitled, "Governance practices as strategic assets." Or something like that.

The main focus of the panel will be the relationship between corporate governance and corporate strategy. With all of the talk about monitoring in the wake of Enron, Worldcom, etc., we may have lost sight of the relationship between corporate governance and corporate strategy. My first paper as an academic was a study Kmart's decision to fire its then-CEO Joseph Antonini. While I am not sure that I still agree with everything I wrote there, I still think that shareholders should have a limited role in determining corporate strategy. I am afraid that all of the efforts to improve monitoring will result in more opportunities for shareholder mischief. And that would be a shame.