Episode #208: Free-Rider Friday - August 2018

Ed’s Topics

Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting

Ed and Ron both made the list, along with VeraSage Fellow Michelle Golden River, and from Sage, Jennifer Warawa, and friends of VeraSage, including:

  • August Aquila

  • Gary Boomer

  • Jim Boomer

  • Jim Bourke

  • David Cieslak

  • Angie Grissom

  • Tom Hood

  • Allan Koltin

  • Mark Koziel

  • Gregory LaFollette

  • Taylor Macdonald

  • Stan Mork

  • Jody Padar

  • Hitendra Patil

  • Darren Root

  • Marc Rosenberg

  • Donny Shimamoto

  • Geni Whitehouse

  • Jennifer Wilson

  • Joe Woodard

Ron was also voted #6 among the Top 10 Most Influential, coming in one vote less than Donald Trump, possibly due to Russian collusion.


Should Commuting Count as Work?

We noticed this post in LinkedIn and it was picked up absolutely everywhere. 


Our Patreon Site

Have you ever wanted to listen to the show commercial free? Just think, no Greg Kite commercials! Not only that, Ron and Ed record weekly bonus episodes and share their conversations during the commercials. All this can be yours for $7 per month.

Nudging: Should We Be Wary of the Latest Fad in Behavioral Economics?”, Donovan Choy, FEE, September 1, 2018

Check out our show from August 2014, Episode #8: Mr. Spock and Homer Simpson.

What’s wrong with “nudging”? Two problems:

  1. Policy makers suffer from the same biases that the rest of us do

  2. Political institutions are plagued by inefficiencies

Tucker Carlson Feeling the Bern Illustrates Conservatism’s Hostility to Free Markets,” FEE, August 31, 2018, Tom Mullen

Tucker thinks Amazon, Uber, and Wal-Mart start paying their people more so the taxpayers don’t have to subsidize these workers. We this he is way wrong on this one!

Ron’s Topics

 “The Son Kingdom,” The Economist, May 12, 2018


Masayoshi Son, founder SoftBank, Japanese telecoms/Internet

  • The Vision Fund = $100 billion venture capital fund

  • Alliance with Muhammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, $45B + $5B Apple

  • Exceeds $64B all VC funds raised globally in 2016

Masayoshi’s bet on Alibaba paid off, but in the dot.com crash of 2001, he lost 99% of SoftBank’s market value.

Less than 5% of companies that pitch receive funding, slightly more generous than most VC firms. He gives them 4-5x more than they ask for! Startups perish more from indigestion than starvation. Wants to create an ecosystem and take them into Asia, etc.

The fund invests in 3 areas:

  1. Frontier: singularity, IOT, AI, computational biology, genomics

  2. Bring new tech to old industries (ride-sharing, WAG! Dog walking uber)

  3. Technology, media, and telecoms

If Steve Jobs brought to Apple an understanding of technology and art, Son’s formula is technology plus finance.

The bigger the VC fund, the harder to make high returns

Even if he loses, the fund will shape technology in future, frontier technologies. It will offer startups an alternative to cashing out to giants (FB, Google, etc.)

Bartleby: “Taking minutes, wasting hours,” The Economist, June 30, 2018

In 1957, C. Northcote Parkinson came up with the Law of Triviality: “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved.”

Bartleby’s Law: 80% of the time of 80% of the people in meetings is wasted.

Corollary: After at least 80% of meetings, any decisions taken will be in line with the HIPPO, or highest-paid person’s opinion.

Start with the most contentious item first, and make sure everyone understands what was actually decided.

I jumpstarted my productivity in 15 minutes—and you can, too!” AICPA guest blogger, July 13, 2018, Brock Gaucette, Manager, Corporate Communications, AICPA

How a firm got more productive by reading more books, through: increased focus, confidence in communicating, improved memory, and a new, improved addiction—reading.

Elizabeth Warren’s Batty Plan to Nationalize…Everything,” Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, August 16, 2018 and “Elizabeth Warren Looks to Make Cronyism Great Again,” Daniel J. Mitchell, FEE, August 25, 2018

The Accountable Capitalism Act: Business with more than $1B in revenue would need permission from federal government (the act establishes within the Commerce Department an Office of US Corporations to review & grant charters). The act would also regulate:

  • Dictate composition of boards

  • Internal corporate governance

  • Compensation practices

  • Personnel policies

This act is unconstitutional (takings clause), unethical, immoral, irresponsible and utterly bonkers, according to Kevin Williamson of National Review.

Companies are already accountable for everyone they exchange with: customers, employees, suppliers, govt, etc.

This is simply Elizabeth Warren staking out the most radical corner for her 2020 presidential run.


Apple’s shareholders are, collectively, the largest taxpayer in the world. Should we seize those earnings? Isn’t that covetousness and envy?

Businesses don’t have to put up with this? Nearly 50% of the S&P’s companies revenue is from overseas. The USA is home to 64% of the world’s billion-dollar privately held companies, and a plurality of billion-dollar startups.

Economist William Nordhaus estimates that innovators keep just 2% of the social value of their innovations.

“The thaw,” The Economist, June 30, 2018

A new show, “The White Crow,” currently in production, Rudolf Nureyev, a Russian ballet dancer who defected in 1961.

Also in production, a six-part adaptation of John le Carre’s “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,” a British spy’s assignments in East Germany, also in production

Simon Cornwell, le Carre’s son, got into the Stasi archives, just like The Americans, creator Joe Weisberg (a former CIA officer), got into the Russian archives.


Ed Kless

Ed Kless joined Sage in July of 2003 and is currently the senior director of partner development and strategy. He develops and delivers curriculum for Sage business partners on the art and practice of small business consulting. Courses include: Sage Consulting Academy, Business Strategy and Customer Experience Workshops. Ed is the author of The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy, a compendium of a few of the episodes of his VoiceAmerica talk-show The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy with Ron Baker, founder of the VeraSage Institute where Ed is also a senior fellow.