[Multimediator] Equity Pizza

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From: sramjee@hss.hns.com
Date: Tue Jul 25 2000 - 20:32:41 PDT

The whole thing of Employee Stock OPtion as a lure to
attract 'talents' reminds me of this parable...

An ESOP fable

In India we have had a proven method for catching
monkeys. A half coconut would be hollowed out and a
hole made that was only large enough to let a monkey's
open hand pass through. The coconut was then pinned to
the ground and tempting food placed beneath. A monkey
would approach, intent on getting hold of food beneath
the coconut, but alas, as soon as it grasped the food
in its fist it found itself unable to pull out its hand
and food, free of the coconut shell.

Imprisoned it would stay, caught by its own
unwillingness to open its fist.

...and here is an interesting mail snippet from
Multimediator's bitstream list...

Equity Pizza
By Bart Steward

There is no denying that we work in a fascinating
industry. Billion dollar mergers and the convergence of
traditional and new media entities paint a fascinating
picture of an evolving Canadian new media landscape where
opportunities abound. These are indeed interesting times.

They can also be turbulent times.

No sooner is one IPO completed when along comes another
company peddling its asset-less stock to the world. These
are largely hollow promises, based on the potential of
bright futures that nobody can really predict. It's all
lunacy if you ask me. Companies appear and disappear with
astounding rapidity. "Here today and gone tomorrow," could
be our industry motto.

This leads me to the heart of the matter. I have noticed
that the attitude of job seekers is changing. Maybe not in
a prevalent fashion yet, but the trend is there.

A recent job applicant asked me to describe our company.
As I answered his question, one thing I said struck me as
hollow: "We have an employee profit-sharing plan," I heard
myself saying. Now, don't get me wrong. We are a
successful company and all is well. But even as I spoke
those words I realized that I had heard them before,
spoken in just this situation, only I was the interviewee.
And it occurred to me that in my entire new media career I
have not once benefited from a profit-sharing plan.
Despite having worked many late night crunches while
eating pizza at my desk, I remain fiscally challenged in
the world of employee profit-sharing.

Hollow promises indeed.

And it was clear that this candidate was equally
unimpressed by our offer to share our good fortune
with him. This of course is not the first time I have
observed this new attitude. People are increasingly
unimpressed by the lure of IPOs, stock options and profit-
sharing plans. Cash is where it's at these days. What's in
it for me? Eating pepperoni pizza at midnight no longer
cuts it as an equity stake in this business.

Personally I find this new attitude refreshing. It offers
a change from the pompous, self-aggrandizing bull which
floats around our industry. Give me a break!

Sometimes I fear we are becoming another garment industry,
with only slightly more aesthetic trappings. Coke machines
dispensing free cans and billiard tables in the common
room. A great place to eat equity pizza.

So here's a message to the sweat shops of the Canadian new
media industry: You are about to receive a rude awakening.
The talent pool is getting very shallow of late and
quality people are harder to find. Witness the successes
of several high-tech recruiting companies. At a 25-35%
commission, they're laughing all the way to the bank on
our backs.

This recent candidate's resume read like a war story.
Sweat shop after sweat shop. I didn't bother to ask for
details. To be honest, I'd heard it all before. It's my
own story, only the names and dates are different.

I will end with a simple warning for the tailors of new
media. There are too many companies in our little
industry, each vying for a slice of the limited customer
pie. Competition for talented staff is becoming fierce. Be
careful of the promises you make. They may come back to
haunt you.

Bart Steward is happily employed as the vice-president of
production at MMSG, where pizza and profit-sharing abound.

MultiMediator's BitStream - ISSUE # 24
[-- July 26, 2000 --]

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