Fireside Chat, More Polls, and Thoughts on Current Events

I attended a session of the San Diego chapter of the Financial Executives International organization at the La Jolla Marriott on Thursday, February 21. This was a well-attended meeting with over 100 people in the audience. I was the keynote speaker. The moderator of the fireside chat was Steve Fisher, treasurer of SAIC, and Mary Ann Beyster served with me on the panel. I was asked to comment on many of the principles and practices of SAIC, including: why there was so much employee participation, how the rewards were shared, why the rewards were shared that way, how we set expectations for the rewards, how we monitored the business to make sure we weren’t breaking any laws, what our profit expectations were in terms of after-tax profits — and why they were so low — and how the employee ownership program evolved over time. The moderator focused his questions in two areas: employee ownership and managing from the bottom-up. In addition, the audience asked several questions. The audience was generally sympathetic; however, only 15 books were sold. About 20 people told me they already had the book.

Latest Polls

Here are a few more questions to add to our poll.


Current Events

I’d like to make some comments on current events. First the resignation of Fidel Castro. It’s not clear to me how his brother running the country will impact U.S. relations. It couldn’t be worse than it’s been for the last 50 years, so my belief is that Raul Castro will be more realistic and try to reach some sort of détente with the U.S. What do you think?

Second, I for one was happy that the Navy shot down the defective spy satellite last week. Not only did it accomplish its mission, but it also showed the fantastic capability which the Navy has to protect the country against weapons in space. It was a bold and successful demonstration of what we could do if we had to and it will provide a strong deterrent against weaponizing space.

Finally, there was a mention of the book in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, February 21, on page B6. It is listed in the section titled: “Books You Can’t Put Down.” I am happy to see the book finally getting some national recognition.

— Bob