Taxing the tall?

It has been known for some time that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts (if you don’t believe it, just read this article). As sad as it sounds, there is not much that can be done about it, right? Well, that’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about the bad news (I am not very tall), but Harvard professors Mankiw and Weinzierl’s newest work puts a (theoretic) end to the social injustice by concluding that tall people should pay higher taxes than short ones. Isn’t that just genius?

Dividing ownership in a startup

“Experience is a good school, but the fees are high?”
– Heinrich Heine

It is the lesson of the true cost of recruiting the wrong founding team in a startup. You fill a role out of desperation, or even worse, recruit a friend or family who will do for now but never was quite the right fit. There are moments of convenience and other times, rationalization, for hiring people you trust, forgetting to foresee roles and consequences. Hiring at the top of a pyramid, the bottom grows over the years even when founders leave. And then the recruit in turn takes the organization down the garden path, hiring more of the wrong people, perpetuating one error to final destruction. The good old adage for entrepreneur CEOs – hire the very best for your life depends on it – we have heard it all, many times. And again, to do it in reality, even the brave will falter.

How does an entrepreneur divide equity among co founders?
Should I divide the equity in my startup equally?
How do you do it?

Maverick Leadership/Ricardo Semler – I

Ricardo SemlerImagine a company where managers set their own salaries! Middle management utopia, who wouldn’t like to be here? But this is also a company where “if you put your salary too high, and people don’t put you on the list as someone they need for the next six months, you’re in more trouble than you would be at General Motors”.


Ricardo Semler is my idea of a great leader. In the context of modern entrepreneurship, the task of a CEO is to get customers, cut costs and convey value to shareholders. A leader CEO however is one who doesn’t get so obsessed with these ends that he glances over what still remain the fundamentals of any business – trust and relationships. Semler built an organisation on trust. Or did he?


I think what he did by initiating policies based on trust, and I will not go into them here, was to create more leaders. In fact, if every SEMCO employee is welcome to a board meeting (of course, she has to be one of the first two to arrive at the door!), Semler created an organization where everybody potentially can influence the direction the organization takes. That is what leadership is all about – creating more leaders.

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