Episode #111: Free-rider Friday - September 2016

Ed and Ron recorded this show live before an audience at the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada 2016 Ignite Conference in Richmond, BC, Canada.

Ed’s Topics

Wells Fargo Gets What it Measures

Some 5,300 Wells Fargo Bank (WFB) employees opened a couple of million fake accounts, since their compensation system was designed around opening up accounts. This created an incentive for otherwise ethical people to perform an unethical act. It’s hard to be a good citizen in a bad country.

The Best Critique I’ve ever Received

“This presenter, should he be brought back for a session in the future, should be dressed appropriately, and that is, as Clarabelle would appear at a children’s birthday party complete with red bulbous nose and horn, remaining silent otherwise.”

Watson Creates a Movie Trailer

For Morgan, a new suspense horror film.

Uber goes to 1.8x during NY Bombing

Did they price gouge? Hell, NO! What would happen if Uber were ruled to be illegal. It creates $6.8 billion in “social value,” roughly $20 per person per year.

Hey Vancouverites!

If you have tickets to Louis CK’s show, don’t scalp them! I love Louis CK, but he is a terrible pricer and even a worse economist. Charge more and give the money away! 

Department of Transportation Policy on Driverless Cars

Whadd'ya know, it makes sense!

Ron’s Topics

EU to Apple: Pay $14.5 billion in Taxes to Ireland

EU accuses Ireland or “providing illegal state aid” to Apple, and says the company owes $14.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said the Commission can have taxes or they can have jobs, but they can’t have both. Ireland claims there was no “special deal” with Apple, and the tax rates were always statute-based.

It’s hard to have employees without successful employers. It’s time to take the corporate tax to zero, since corporations don’t pay taxes—only people do!

Another asinine regulation from the EU, this one on American winemakers: They must relabel their bottles for export because they list alcohol content to one decimal point more than the EU deems permissible.

Don’t Buff it up

Warren Buffet loves to talk about the rich not paying their “fair share” of taxes. But his company, Berkshire, pays the equivalent of 13% of its pre-tax profits, making it one of the lightest taxpayers among big firms.

More Bootleggers and Baptists

Alcohol and pharmaceutical companies are funding the fight against legalized pot.

In Plain Words

In analyzing more than 135 years of speeches in the Congressional Record, in 1990, the probability of correctly guessing a lawmaker’s party from a one-minute speech was 55%. By 2008, the probability jumps to 83%. We’ve become more partisan, a linguistic divide.

Leaked Email from DNC

From Bernie Sanders to former DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, "I hear from people you are planning to attack me and say I do not believe in an all-wise, benevolent creator with a glorious beard and a love for all humanity. If so you are vile and this is beneath you. I do believe in Marx."

(Thanks to James Lileks, who writes the “Athwart” column for National Review.)

Vancouver’s Ghost Neighborhoods

Many Chinese are buying up condos and not living in them. This creates a reverse “tragedy of the commons,” as cities depend on people actually living in them. Same thing is happening in Israel. These countries are going to start taxing non-resident buyers. Does government have a right to do this? Rabbi Daniel Lapin thinks so, because businesses in these cities depend on populations living there.


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.