Integrity

|
All sales incentives are incentives "to do bad things"

Last week, Wells Fargo was fined $185 million for fraudulently opening new deposit and credit card accounts. Wells Fargo employees opened these accounts for customers without their knowledge. Why would the Wells Fargo employees do that? Because their compensation incentives were tied to opening new accounts. When they couldn’t make enough legitimate sales to hit
Read More

|
Losing perspective will threaten your career, and maybe your life

Sanjay Valvani, a 44 year old married father of two daughters, killed himself this week. Valvani was a partner at a hedge fund, and had been accused of insider trading. Prosecutors were seeking a prison sentence up to 65 years. This story rocked me. I’m married and have two young boys. I take my career
Read More

|
Advertising agencies show why transparency and simplicity are so rare

The Wall Street Journal published an article on Tuesday about the shady practices of advertising agencies. In order to appreciate what’s happening, we need to understand the business model of advertising agencies at a high level. When it comes to large-scale advertising, we have three interdependent entities: The company that makes a product or service
Read More

|
My newborn son, Antonin Scalia, and the curse of notoriety

My wife gave birth to our second son last week. It was one of the best days of my life. Our oldest son is almost exactly 18 months older than his brother. As we slowly get used to being a family of four, tons of thoughts float through my head. I think a ton about
Read More

|
Debating the evil of Enron versus Bernie Madoff

Today I published a post on LinkedIn titled “Who’s more evil: the Enron folks or Bernie Madoff?” I started thinking about this topic after my wife and I watched the Madoff miniseries on ABC. I was most surprised by how easy it seemed to build up a multi-billion dollar fraud, Madoff-style. I then compared Madoff’s
Read More

|
Rise above the politics of an apology

You probably heard about the U.S. boat that mistakenly entered Iranian waters this week. Iran captured the boat, held the US Navy personnel overnight, then released them all the next day. Part of the coverage was an article from The Wall Street Journal titled “U.S. Denies Apologizing to Iran Before Release of Sailors”. What? The
Read More

|

We all think the stakes are high. Our culture is sensationalistic. Everything is either the best or worst thing ever. Things have to happen now or they’re meaningless. It gets exhausting. If we’re not careful, extreme stakes can inspire horrible decisions. Think of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. For whatever reason, folks thought the stakes were
Read More