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Comment Re:Power efficiency is good in some places, not al (Score 2) 333

Where I work we have lots of customers that *need* more processing power, and efficiency be damned.

I assume most customers who need extreme processing power have learned over the past 10 years that faster individual processors are not coming. Algorithm design plus parallel processors is going to be the source of perhaps all performance increases in the foreseeable future. Until we move away from silicon that is.

Are there even supercomputers out there which have faster processors than the fastest Xeon processors out there? I may be wrong, but I believe there really hasn't been any non-parallel based performance increases for a long time.

Comment Re:She makes mistakes, and punishes laid off worke (Score 1) 217

I'm sure the simple fact I asked question has caused you to begin thinking on possible risk mitigation solutions, hasn't it?

No, it hasn't. Because risk mitigation solutions can only limit risk or create backup plans, not eliminate risk. And when it comes to the possibility of going to prison, that is one risk I want as low as possible. There is no way I would ever invest in any company if I risked jail time for the behavior of all employees at that company. And I would never start a company where I would have to hire employees if I knew any one of them could potentially send me to jail if they broke the law.

Even if mitigation strategies could eliminate all risk, your proposal would mean all startups would need to have their first employees be a watchdog group to set up controls so every future employee could never commit a crime. Startups would immediately be nearly impossible to create, and certainly impossible to bootstrap. Small businesses would stop being formed all over the country. Starting a business is already incredibly high risk, and you are adding risks that are almost immeasurably more severe.

All this would do is make any country which enacts these policies noncompetitive to all other nations. The number of extra employees it would take to turn our companies into a police state capable of ensuring no person was ever even capable of breaking a law in their professional dealings would grind our economy to a halt. An elimination of 95% of our GDP would not be an exaggeration. It is a laughable scenario.

Immediately disregarding suggestions like this is not a sign of intellectual laziness. It is a waste of time on the level of comparing the pros and cons of playing Russian roulette to decide what to have for dinner tonight.

Comment Re:The 0.01% (Score 1) 217

Apply the argument to any non-executive in the same company. Oh, I hear the roars of protest already! "We can't compare non-executive salaries to executive salaries, the percentage of revenues isn't the same!" However in any other context, the "percentage of revenues" argument isn't used. At all. Ever. So why is it relevant when discussing executive salaries? Answer: It isn't relevant. Next question!

Good job shooting down the straw man argument you proposed. Why would calculating the ROI of an employee be restricted to only executives? An employer should be considering the ROI when hiring any employee, from a fast food cashier to a CEO. I am only a senior level software developer / technical architect, but my pay is still closely tied to the ROI I can provide compared to my employer's other options. During initial salary negotiations my current employer tried reducing my requested salary by mentioning they had another candidate who was asking for $30k less. I was being hired to improve their CRM system, and my primary argument was their salespersons' opportunity close rate would be significantly impacted by whoever they hire. $30k was a negligible amount, so they should make their decision on who they feel will do a better job. Considering my very significant merit raise and bonus after my first year, they likely felt they made the right choice.

No, what is relevant is the issue of Value Added. Is the executive Value Add, worth the sums we pay them? And I say it isn't. No one has ever made a cogent argument, based upon inarguable facts, that paying the CEO $1 million versus $23 million, results in better performance. Let alone 23x better performance.

First off, you don't have to provide 23x better performance to be worth 23x as much. You just need to be add more value than you are paid. Those are wildly different targets.

Second, I will agree that I have never seen a good study showing if highly paid CEOs do better or worse than lower paid CEOs. There are some studies that only track company performance and compare it to CEO pay, but that ignores the possibility that companies in crisis would pay CEOs even more to correct their problems or join a company where their job is to manage losses instead of creating gains.

One more thing. When we as shareholders continue to pay millions of dollars in compensation to executives, and the company performance is flat to negative, what kind of messages are we sending there?

Shareholders are sending the message that they cannot do any better themselves, or they would put their money somewhere else.

Put it into pure, hard-nosed economic terms. Imagine someone offered to sell you office paper for $1000/ream, and told you that you had to do it to remain "competitive", and that you needed the "right kind of paper" because you "just don't get the same quality of document" unless all your correspondence was printed on "hand-crafted, 100% organic, all cotton, artisanal blend from disadvantaged youth in Bolivia". What would any sane person say in response to that? They'd say it might be a nice notion but seriously, bugger off. It isn't affordable, it isn't practical, and the economic value added just isn't there.

If you think the quality of paper a company uses is as significant to a company's success as the quality of their workers, there isn't much point to discussing this with you. I'm assuming that is not what you meant to say, but it is all your analogy is implying. Although just to be clear, I agree that paper is not important enough to a company's success to ever be worth 100x the price of standard paper. I simply disagree that this is analogous to the value more qualified employees can bring to a company.

Comment Re: She makes mistakes, and punishes laid off work (Score 1) 217

Taking stupid risks, and that's what this was, with other people's lives and livelihoods needs to be punished and not rewarded.

Everyone harmed by Yahoo's actions is immeasurably more responsible for their lives and livelihoods than Marissa Mayer or anyone on Yahoo's board of directors. Shareholders have not been harmed since the stock price has risen 88% since Marissa Mayer took over (it increased over 200% before dropping in late 2014). Any existing employees have had plenty of time to leave and all new employees knew what they were getting themselves into. Yahoo has been very open about its intent to take huge risks and try to turn itself into a growth company again. Owning Yahoo stock or working for them should have been considered a high risk investment for some time.

No one has been taken advantage of here.

Comment Re:She makes mistakes, and punishes laid off worke (Score 1) 217

The simple and easy solution to this is to completely eliminate the shielding that exists between investors' personal assets and the concrete results of corporate policies.

This is the exact type of simplistic and unreasonable logic that allows people to believe these are easily solvable problems if only the world wasn't corrupt.

No matter how good controls would be, there would be no way to stop some middle manager from trying to cut a corner and fudge an earnings report. Are you going to put thousands or even millions of people in jail because some manager committed fraud trying to hit his quarterly numbers? All he has to do is profit over $500 from the fraud for it to be a felony, and now all investors of that company just committed a felony because one guy committed one illegal act. It is simply silly.

Comment Re:The 0.01% (Score 1) 217

If you ruined the company you would be fired and get nothing. When she ruins the company she gets her severance package and another nice C level job destroying something else.

The difference is, at her level incompetence is not only free of negative consequences, it's actively rewarded. Why can't I be rewarded for being shit at my job?

Negotiate a contract with your next company to pay you $X dollars if you are fired. You will need to convince them your future earnings would be negatively impacted if you fail, and the risk of failure is too high to take a risk on their job offer otherwise. I doubt you are in a position to negotiate such a contract, but then again there are people in this country who can't negotiate a $9 hourly wage.

Comment Re:The 0.01% (Score 4, Insightful) 217

And you might also want to think about pay in terms of productivity. Since 1973 it has gone up by about 100% in the US. And yet wages for many people have fallen in real terms. Median household income should be double what it is and perhaps more given that the number of working adults per household has increased as women have gone to work full time.

That depends on why productivity has risen in the past 40 years. In the mid 1900's I would attribute most of that to educating the middle class. From 1900 to 1960 the number of college graduates rose from about 7% to 25%, over a 200% increase. From 1960-Today it has only risen to about 30%: a 20% increase. In the mid 1900's the workers were seeing increased wages along with their increased productivity because it was their increased skills that made them more productive.

For the past 40 years, however, I believe most of the increased productivity has come from increased investment in equipment, such as computers and robotics. Therefore now the benefits of increased productivity is going to those who invested in that equipment, not the people who use them. That is only a theory but I think it reflects the economic reality very well.

In terms of finding 'good people'. I have personally met outstanding people who not only are smart and well educated but have excellent communications and people skills. They made good money - mid six figures. I am certain they could have done a better job than Marissa Mayer running Yahoo and they would have agreed to do it for a mere $1 million. Yet they are never seriously considered because of the tight knit and self referential world of executives.

One of those people may have done a better job than Marissa Mayer, although of course it is only with hindsight that we believe Marissa did a poor job. The important thing to remember is there isn't much of a difference between a CEO making $1 million per year or $23 million. You are comparing 0.02% of Yahoo's yearly revenue with 0.5%. If for whatever reason I thought a VP at a $200 billion company could improve my company's revenue by 2% more than one of your middle management $150k salary friends, I would gladly pay that extra $20 million per year.

I believe you are correct that a vast number of skilled people are passed over for executives positions because they are never considered. But just like I want a plumber or my house who has worked on a residential home instead of just commercial buildings, a company board wants someone from senior management in a successful multi-billion dollar company to run their multi-billion dollar company. They don't want to take a chance the best SMB printer sales manager in Ohio. I can't really blame them, because when I hire people for personal or professional reasons I also want someone who's current career trajectory shows they are a good fit for the job.

Comment Re:The 0.01% (Score 3, Insightful) 217

I totally agree with what you're saying. Here's where it breaks down. Mayer has a bunch of money due solely to incredibly good luck and timing. Nothing more. It has nothing to do with her abilities (obviously), education, or any of that. She was in the right place at the right time.

So she's in a "class" that's occupied by people who made a bunch of money at business, and powerball winners. Although she made her money in business technically the reality is that she's on the "powerball winner" side of the aisle, if you catch my drift. So it's not terribly surprising that when you put her into a position like this she falters.

I also agree with you that Marissa Mayer was not up for this task. I thought it was a bad decision in 2012 and I still think that now. But I do think it is unfair to lump her in with "powerball winners", even if just metaphorically. She was certainly lucky to have the opportunity to be rewarded for her skills with hundreds of millions of dollars. But it was her accomplishments that earned her the job with Google, and it was her accomplishments that allowed her to succeed at Google. Not all of the 18 employees hired before Marissa or the 20 or so employees hired after her had the same level of success. A large portion of the credit for that success does go to Marissa.

That said, if she re-lived her life 100 times with slight modifications she is probably only a Senior VP at some company in most of those lives. But that could be said for the vast majority if not all of the world's self-made wealthy elite. There is always a hefty amount of both luck and ability involved in making hundreds of millions of dollars. If you treated every successful businessperson who had a lucky career as a "powerball winner", they would probably all earn that distinction.

Of course, she is in an impossible position, anyway, but the company should have pulled a real entrepreneur in if they wanted to have a radical turnaround.

Most "real entrepreneurs" were just as lucky as Marissa Mayer when achieving their success. That includes Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Yahoo could have certainly chosen other startup founders / early employees, but something about Mrs. Mayer made them think she was the right person for the job. That may have been a bad decision, or someone else may have failed even harder. It really is impossible to know for sure.

Comment Re:The 0.01% (Score 1) 217

"salaries of people in completely different classes of society is not very useful."

So someone is in a different class of society just because of their paycheque? Presumable when (not if) she's fired she'll be back down the class ladder when her salary is zero?

Her income will most likely never be zero again. Her net worth is high enough she can count on at least a $5-$10 million yearly income for the rest of her life. Her current salary is not the primary reason she is in the wealthy class. It is her net worth.

Comment Re:She makes mistakes, and punishes laid off worke (Score 1) 217

Management taking responsibility for their actions means THEY take the brunt of the results of the actions, not the laid off employees.
Since the management have no skin in the game, they're not responsible.

How do you propose to make C-level management take the brunt of the negative results of their failed policies? If the management is fired along with the employees, they are not taking the brunt of the negative results because they already had a significant net worth before taking these positions. If they required these managers to invest significant amounts of their own money in the company before taking the job, they wouldn't take the job in the first place because it would always be a horrible investment from a diversification standpoint.

You have to face facts that once you make a certain amount of money, you will never be "punished" in the same way as regular people unless your actions are criminal (and often not even then). There is no way for them to ever put as much "skin in the game" as rank and file employees ever again.

Employees are assets, not only expenses. Get rid of assets in a company, the company's value drops.

Employees are assets, but companies only rent those assets. They don't own them (that has been illegal since 1863 in the US). Once the return on investment of renting those assets becomes negative it is a very good decision to fire them. The company's value will drop even more if the company continues to pay for the use of assets when there is no plan to effectively use them in the future.

When the storm hits, the good Captain says "all hands on deck" - NOT "let's throw the sailors overboard."

They already did all hands on deck back in 2012. It didn't work. Now they will all drown, including upper management, although your analogy falls apart there because in this case "drowning" means different things for different workers. Some easily find new jobs, and some never recover. It depends on their individual value to society.

Comment Re:She makes mistakes, and punishes laid off worke (Score 1) 217

She is not responsible for her actions. So she holds the laid off people responsible by laying them off.

Keeping her current job is probably not Marissa Mayer's primary motivation. She was worth $300 million before she started working at Yahoo. She could have retired, started her own company, became a full time VC, etc, but she chose to become a CEO of a huge Internet company. It is very likely this means she wants a career running large companies. So Mayer's primary motivation is probably doing a good enough job to be given other similar or even better opportunities in the future.

The more things stay the same at Yahoo, the less likely she will make a successful career as a big-shot CEO. That is how she is taking responsibility for her actions. Comparing firing Marissa Mayer with firing rank and file workers is useless. The impact of being fired on her life compared to the impact on her workers' lives are not comparable. Even if there were no golden parachutes. She was already in a position where financial penalties are not very significant before she started working at Yahoo.

Layoffs are always done by bad management who won't take responsibility for their actions.

While that is often true, it is not always true. For growth companies layoffs are often a sign of management admitting they are no longer growth companies. The layoffs can signal they realize becoming a stable profitable company is more realistic than becoming 10x larger in a few years. That IMHO is taking responsibility for their actions

Comment Re:The 0.01% (Score 3, Insightful) 217

Doesn't it burn your ass to know that if she were to get fired, she'd walk away with tens of millions of dollars?

Why would it? To the class of workers Marissa Mayer belongs to, tens of millions of dollars is not a huge sum. Her net worth was about $300 million in 2012 when she took the the Yahoo job. Tens of millions of dollars to her is more like a tens of thousands of dollars to me, which would be a very reasonable severance package to someone in my position.

Just like you probably make far more money than people working in third world slums, Marissa Mayers makes far more money than you. Comparing the salaries of people in completely different classes of society is not very useful.

Comment Re:Think? (Score 1) 522

Each of those are very specific in their prediction and do not start with a scenario where anyone would reasonable assume an explosion in adoption.

2008 5% of people had MySpace accounts
2015 47% of people had MySpace accounts (no, no-one did)

In 2008 Myspace was on the decline. An assumption closer to the one in question (more people needing faster broadband) would be that in 2015 50% of people use social networks. I'm not going to look that one up but I think its likely.

1988 2% of cars could do 300km/h
1997 58% of cars could do 300km/h (no they couldn't)

I am not aware of any predictions in the late 80's that speed limits would be increased to 180 mph in the next few years. To my knowledge no one even had a use case for how that would be helpful. Perhaps if the US had just lifted all speed limits on interstate highways there would have been predictions of far more cars able to hit 200 km/h, but I am not aware of any realistic discussions of the US abolishing speed limits.

In the case of faster broadband, technologies such as 4k television streaming, increased teleconferencing, and IOT devices make higher speed broadband penetration a much more likely prediction than 300 km/h cars becoming ubiquitous.

2012 3% of people own boats.
2018 45% of people will own boats?

Boats have been around for thousands of years and have never been a widely owned device. It is quite obvious the 3% of people are not early adopters.

Comment Re:Think? (Score 1) 522

But generally this top 1% shows what the next 50% will be doing 5 years from now.

Got any examples?
I just thought of a few and none of them worked

1995 3% of US households use the world wide web
1999 40% of US adults use the world wide web (number of households would then be above 40%)

2004 3% of US homes have HDTVs
2010 46% of US homes have HDTVs

2000 4% of US households have broadband
2006 42% of US households have broadband

2005 2% US smartphone penetration
2012 46% US smartphone penetration

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