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The Visible Man of the Market - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
The Visible Man of the Market
Sure, Steve Jobs may be acting more and more like the _______ that some people have long implied that he is. But his friend Bill Gates is not averse to _______ moments either:
In a speech peppered with predictions, politics and digs at Google and Apple Computer, Gates also said he wished that Microsoft had never used stock options to compensate employees.

"I actually regret that we ever used them," he said, adding that "the approach we're using now is just a better approach."

Options are now frowned upon by investors, but in the late 1990s they transformed the Seattle area, funneling up to $8 billion a year into the economy, raising real-estate prices and creating a new class of young and often philanthropic millionaires.

Microsoft dropped its options program in 2003 and now grants smaller packages of stock awards that are redeemable over time.

Gates was not available to elaborate, but his comments came after a weekend spent with his friend Warren Buffett, a longtime critic of stock options.

The revelation resonated in Seattle, where Microsoft options made the last economic boom and recession more extreme, said Roberta Pauer, the state's regional labor economist in Seattle. She agreed that it would have been better if they were never used.

"It might feel good at the time, but it is never good to have an overheated economy," she said. "It's like too much cotton candy at the fair."'
By all means, keep those investors gay and your employees on the straight and narrow. Letting your rank-and-file workers attain real wealth is like letting them do what they want in the bedroom. Too much sugar and they'll forget their proper place.
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Comments
cpratt From: cpratt Date: May 3rd, 2005 11:53 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Microsoft gives stock grants, not stock options. Grants are generally better because they'll always be worth something, but stock options can and do go underwater.

Sadly, when I joined Microsoft in 2003, they were still handing out stock options. This means that mine are worth about $240 as of this writing; it doesn't help that Microsoft's stock price has been essentially the same for about five years now.

You'll note that Apple still doesn't expense their stock options in their financial statements.
tpratt From: tpratt Date: May 3rd, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

I've had worse employers

The company I work for is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, who is controlled by Warren Buffett. Surpluses of funds are distributed amongst employees who have been with the company over one year at the close of the fiscal year. Like I was talking to you about (albeit briefly) when I saw you in Carlsbad, this last year was surprisingly strong, and my regional office's share was 24% and change. That was 24% of my annual salary. The first 10 percent automatically was deposited in my 401(k) and the other, heavily taxed portion I received in a check. That went for everyone where I work, from the cafeteria personnel to the Regional Vice President. I'll go out on a limb and state that Buffett's got more of a backbone when it comes to currently unpopular societal stances, too. Snopes has an article about Berkshire Hathaway companies being targeted by red staters because they support the right to kill unborn babies. Overall, I don't have much of a problem with the guy, or the company I work for. I do think Gates shit the bed on that whole gay thing, though.
cpratt From: cpratt Date: May 3rd, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: I've had worse employers

Gates had nothing to do with the gay thing. It's complicated, very stupid, and not something I can talk about publicly.
tpratt From: tpratt Date: May 3rd, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

D'oh

I knew I shouldn't have said anything. Now I feel like a real dope. Why do I have the impression that he did something, or responded to something, that made it worse for GLBTG employees? Then again, you just said you couldn't comment...
Oh well.
cpratt From: cpratt Date: May 3rd, 2005 08:52 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: D'oh

Don't feel like a dope. So far, Gates' contributions to the ongoing train wreck is him openly musing about whether or not Microsoft being for or against anything has been politically effective; specifically, he referenced his historical support for gun control legislation, which had no effect on its passage [that is, it didn't pass].

It's all very lame, very incompetent, and somehow very Microsoft.
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