Dixon: The Stock Market As Greek Tragedy

Making an interesting comparison between the characters on HBO’s The Wire, and those caught in the confines of the modern day stock market expectations machine, Chris Dixon paints a somewhat tragic picture of what it’s like to run a big, publicly traded growth company these days…

From cdixon.org:

This blog is mostly about startups so let me tell a true Wire-like startup story. There is a large, publicly-traded company we’ll call BigCo. BigCo has a new CEO who is under heavy scrutiny and expected to get the stock price up over the next few fiscal quarters…

All this means the CEO is fixated on growing BigCo’s revenues while keeping operating expenses down. A great way to do this is through acquisitons, which analysts consider one-time expenses (CapEx)…

Once the deal is closed they immediately start planning how to cut operating expenses from the newly acquired company. They decide the best way is to move the engineering offshore. This rips the heart out of the engineering-driven culture and as a result morale drops, product quality falls, and key people quit…

The dialogue here is a classic example of what corporate execs feel like they must do to keep and justify their jobs, even though a misguided move like an expensive acquisition is often the result.  Dixon’s point is that just like on the last decade’s best TV show, in the stock market most of us do not overcome the strictures of the institution in which we toil.  The machine almost always wins…that’s just how it evolved.

Get over there and read the rest, it’s an extremely sharp post…

Institutional Failure (cdixon.org)

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