16thC Entrepreneurialism – Martin Frobisher And America’s First Gold Rush

By |2021-09-17T07:28:45+01:00September 16th, 2021|Company Governance History, Longer Articles|

“Frobisher was back in England in September and embraced at Elizabeth's court, where the news was that he had returned with ore to the value of anything between £80,000 and £100,000. Rewards and a knighthood seemed certain. He had pushed through into ‘Meta Incognita'. And in those 'unknown limits' was fantastic wealth waiting to be gathered in. At an audience with the queen herself, Frobisher spoke of the riches he had brought home ‘and so great promises of the infinite treasure of this new land, whereof he would possess her majesty surmounting the treasure of the Indies of the king

A Super-Valuable Board Book – “Directors’ Dilemmas” Patrick Dunne (270pp, 2000)

By |2021-08-12T14:07:23+01:00August 19th, 2021|The Board - Theory and Practice, The CEO/Founder, The Chairman, NEDs, Capital Providers, Fixing Broken Boards, Company Governance History, Book Reviews, Longer Articles|

This book is a must-buy second hand guide for any serious Chairmen, CEOs, Founders, NEDs or Investment Directors. The various editions are now out of print but it’s a steal at less than £5 second-hand right now (eg Amazon or AbeBooks). Different editions are variously subtitled “Tips and Techniques for Dealing with Day-to-day Problems” or “Tales from the frontline” both of which are equally descriptive. Patrick Dunne was at the time Group Communications Director at 3i, then Europe's leading venture capital company and wrote three Board books over a decade (interestingly after a gap of over a decade in 2019

Business Structures Before The Invention Of “The Company” – Guilds

By |2021-08-12T09:26:45+01:00August 12th, 2021|Company Governance History, Longer Articles|

“Here in the City of London there are so many richly endowed livery halls to remind us of the long and illustrious histories of so many London guilds that we can be forgiven for forgetting, or perhaps even being unaware, of the vast network of guilds that once existed throughout the country. I have chosen the title “The Rise and Decline of Guilds in Great Britain and Ireland” because those guilds still in existence are mere shadows of their former selves. More significantly, the vast majority of guilds, thousands of them, have disappeared altogether, with little now known about

Learning From Boardroom Battles – Pistols At Dawn in Calcutta, 1780

By |2021-07-23T11:57:29+01:00July 9th, 2021|Fixing Broken Boards, Company Governance History, Longer Articles|

Boardrooms notoriously, if unsuspectingly for the naive, can become Cauldrons Of Emotion. Power, betrayal, plotting and deceit can become the order of the day. But it’s probably been a while since they were resolved by pistols at dawn… In the late 18thC there was a long-running saga involving Board conflict between the East India Company’s perhaps best-ever Governor General in India, Warren Hastings, and a State appointee to a newly-formed “Board of Control”, Sir Philip Francis. This was a classic example where Board frictions superficially arise from personality differences. However as in many such cases there are underlying organisational issues

Business Regulation in 1000AD

By |2021-07-23T11:58:45+01:00October 29th, 2020|Company Governance History, Regulation Then and Now, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

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

How The First English Companies Were Governed

By |2021-07-23T11:59:48+01:00September 24th, 2020|Company Governance History, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

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

By |2021-07-23T12:00:14+01:00September 17th, 2020|Company Governance History, Regulation Then and Now, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

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

Go to Top