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

Capital Providers – “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them?”

By |2021-08-12T14:31:40+01:00August 26th, 2021|The CEO/Founder, The Chairman, Capital Providers, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

<Extract from Chapter 8 of Realpolitik “Capital Providers”> So there you are, minding your own business (sic) when one day you decide that some more dough would help. At which point, in all likelihood, you’ve addicted yourself to a drug and with the highs come the lows. One shot will not be enough and will leave you wanting ever more.In this context, and back to the days of Timothy Leary and LSD, the “set and setting” makes a huge difference. What your mindset was and is and the circumstances in which you start this part of the journey are key

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

Never Hire “Just A NED” – Hire One Of These Nine Types Of NED

By |2021-07-30T12:25:53+01:00July 30th, 2021|NEDs, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

<Extract from Chapter 7 of Realpolitik “NEDs”> Never hire “just a NED” – hire a certain type of NED that fills a gap for your Company and your Board. We take a look at nine types of NED – which do you have? Which don’t you have that you would like to have? What do you want from your NEDs? ... “Where is the value-add? Intros? Mentoring? Raise capital with you?” “Don’t just put anyone on the Board – people see it as a status symbol.” The most important aspect is to build a balanced team on the Board: “On

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

The “Fish Rots From The Head Down” Board

By |2021-07-23T11:58:09+01:00November 12th, 2020|Fixing Broken Boards, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

[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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

By |2021-07-23T11:59:15+01:00October 9th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

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

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