The “Fish Rots From The Head Down” Board

[Extract from Chapter 9 of Realpolitik "Fixing Broken Boards] Whatever your Board challenge your Chairman is likely to be the first port of call – after all apart from “it [the Board] is his job” he really should have vastly more experience of Boards than you. As a founder/CEO in a sense you’d like to delegate a lot of the Board functioning to the Chairman in the same way you’d like to delegate Marketing to a CMO. You want to retain involvement in input in both but you would really rather someone more experienced and better at it than you did all the heavy lifting

The Entrepreneurial Board – Poetry Regardless Of Metre (LLPs, LLCs, Corporations, Ltds, PLCs et al)

As I noted in a prior blog: “You an have LLCs or Corporations, Listed and Unlisteds, Limited Liabilities and Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships. In France a quick Google tells me you can have SARLs, EURLs, SELARLs, SAs, SASs, SNCs. The list goes on and on. Spend too much time looking at it and you start thinking that maybe it's time for the Good Lord to send a new flood and wipe the slate clean so we can start over.” Of course that was a simplification as even in the US laws/rules vary from state to state as to exactly

By |2021-07-23T11:58:25+01:00November 5th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Short Articles|

Business Regulation in 1000AD

In previous posts we have looked at how Business Regulation worked 4,000 years ago and how the first English Companies were governed nigh on 500 years ago. This week we land in the middle with a look at how business regulation worked a thousand years ago. Mind you even recent copies of the core text will cost you £198 right now. So maybe a peep will be good enough? Note the simplicity and clarity of both regulation and punishment - something that we have totally lost in the 21stC - as a consequence of which much human activity that

If You Didn’t Have Board Meetings Then, Apart From Not Being Part Of A Chain Gang, What Two Key Things Would You Miss Out On?

The legal aspects of Boards differ from country to country and in some cases from State to State. There are LLCs and Corporations, Listed and Unlisteds, Limited Liabilities and Partnerships or indeed Limited Liability Partnerships. In France a quick Google tells me you can have SARLs, EURLs, SELARLs, SAs, SASs, SNCs. The list goes on and on. Spend too much time looking at it and you start wondering whether it isn't maybe time for the Good Lord to send a flood and wipe the slate clean again so we can start over. It would certainly provide a different answer to

By |2021-07-23T11:58:56+01:00October 22nd, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Longer Articles|

You Never Buy “A Fruit” So Never Hire “A NED”

You never buy "a fruit" so never hire "a NED". The Engine of Growth Board will be designed to complement the skill set of the executive team, to fill in gaps. This can be a challenge in itself if you have a super-controlling VC who sees the Board as a mere vehicle for them to maximise their control and not actually to improve the Company. But that's a separate topic for another day - the simple summary being that VCs don't just come "with money" but as "a package" and you need to be savvy enough to compare packages, or

By |2021-07-23T11:59:05+01:00October 15th, 2020|NEDs, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

The IPO-Ready Board: When Two Tribes Go To War

The cultural transformation of the Board from an Unlisted Board to a Listable Board is one of the more painful phase shifts a successful founder has to undergo. The successful founder will have hand-crafted a Board that, yes, does the Corporate Control Thing, but one which is rooted in the vital Corporate Creativity mentality. As we saw Prometheus and the Muses are essential to inspire and to create something that never existed before - an extraordinary metaphysical achievement possible only for Gods and Man. This commercial value-add-centric Board vibe will, in all likelihood, suffer the fate of  a Canadian seal

The Sole-Trader, Indie, Micro-Business Doesn’t Need A Board. But What Does It Need?

Of the millions of small businesses in the UK the vast majority are not “businesses” per se but “company-wrappers” for individuals, sole-traders - be it butchers, bakers, candle-stick-makers or modern “consultants” - where in effect over a couple of decades MegaCos have got round the complex employment benefits and protection rights by reducing staff and then hiring countless “consultants” who don’t benefit from the many hard-won rights like sick-pay, holiday-pay and so forth. These “companies” are of course legal companies - the MegaCos won’t deal with people amongst other things due to this desire to keep away from employment

By |2021-07-23T11:59:28+01:00October 2nd, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Short Articles|

How The First English Companies Were Governed

How were the first English Companies governed? Actually far better than today's companies are but that is a much longer story. Who invented the two-tier Board? I bet you can guess but everyone I have ever asked has got it wrong. Let's go back to 16thC England and have a look. [Excerpt from Realipolitik, numerous footnotes sadly extracted as they don't work well on a blog (too much paging up and down)] "A thousand years ago the Italian merchant states of Florence, Venice, Genoa et al were far ahead in business. They utilised Commenda and Societas, partnership structures that date all the

A Short Overview of Business and Regulation 4,000 Years Ago

The origins of business as we know it are deep as is the regulation that always surrounded business (though in successful societies never smothered it as it is beginning to do today). Two short extracts from Realpolitik, where the topic is covered in more depth on the ancient history of business and the jelly mould - regulation (today internal = Board, external = zillion regulators) - that shapes it."The earliest surviving written records of any sort are cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia ~3200BC by which time civilisations had demonstrably existed in that area for some two thousand years. Tablets were predominantly

What Founders Need To Know About Boards Well Before They Have One

One of the most interesting things about speaking, as of now, to over 100 unlisted Board folk is how important ones initial frame of mind is to so many things that one meets on the journey of growth from idea to substantive company. As we discussed in “Prometheus the Muses and the Startup” your whole enterprise grows from a single creative seed which arises in your mind and which must be nurtured. Separately a thirty-year VC emphasised to me that it is what the founder thought long before they decided to raise capital that makes all the difference. Indeed one can

By |2021-07-23T12:00:24+01:00September 10th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Longer Articles|
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