The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Saturday, May 10, 2003

I have criticized Steven Den Beste for posting extremely long and unfocussed essays. (One from last week was Den Beste's noodlings on atheism; I knew within two sentences that I had to eject. Had I not done so, I would still be reading it.)

Another of Den Beste's faults is his naivete. Den Beste starts a perfectly reasonable post on Apple's woes with this statement:

But Steve Jobs' first duty is to Apple's stockholders. That's not just an opinion; it's a matter of law. Jobs' job is to increase stockholder equity. In many cases the interests of stockholders and customers are congruent, for the obvious reason that you can't have a successful business without lots of customers, but there are many ways in which they run counter and in such cases Jobs has an obligation to put stockholder interest first. If he does not, the stockholders can sue him, and I mean sue him personally for his own personal wealth.

I figured, whatever, Den Beste is just clearing his throat. But later on he reiterated his belief that Jobs will soon be listening to music on a Walkman because the repo man took his iPod:

It ain't a great solution, but it's better than resigned acceptance of commercial death, which in any case might lead to lawsuits against Jobs personally.

Maybe there is some law that says that Jobs can be sued personally for poor performance as CEO. But here on Planet Earth, I have never heard of such a thing happening. There is a very good reason why such lawsuits are rare: it would be impossible to prove whether the CEO's strategy caused the company's decline.



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