Corporate transparency (was: MS remedy, usenet for all time)

Russell Turpin
Fri, 14 Dec 2001 03:22:38 +0000

Jeff Bone writes:
>I think this perspective misses the value of some kinds of corporate 
>information.  "Competition based on different
>beliefs about which strategy best supplies future needs" for instance:  
>eliminating all corporate secrecy would take this from the realm of belief 
>into the realm of forecasting;  simple tracking of performance in a given
>market would enable you to pick which forecasters to trust, then simply 
>access their market sizing, product strategies, sales strategies, etc. and 
>use them to compete *before* they had gained any advantage from them. I.e., 
>it totally levels the playing field, pushing competition to happen only on 
>a cost basis and eliminating the incentives for competing effectively. ..

That sound uncannily like a description of what the Internet
was supposed to do to business. And we all thought that it
was a good idea because of that.

>Relationship competition is largely eliminated, as all goods are the same 
>and the only difference is price. ..

I suspect there are other ways to create relationship

>Execution competition still happens, but then you simply get a totally 
>amped-up corporate culture where the goal is to deliver before the other 
>guy...  Not that we don't
>already have that to some degree, but the pressure is magnified 
>TREMENDOUSLY if everybody knows exactly what and how you're about to so 
>something before you've even had a chance to do it.

Of course, that means the corporate culture has to have
enhanced competition review and decision making.
Interestingly, many companies today don't take advantage
of all the information available about their competitors,
so there may be other factors here, also.

>On the whole, I'm particularly conflicted about all of this. ..

I have not totally sold myself.

>Perhaps it should be reserved for companies of a certain
>size / status --

Or maybe that is a way to phase it in.

>say those with a greater market share than x% in some market (who defines 
>markets, and on what basis, and who
>provides authoritative share numbers?) --- or perhaps
>it's a public company thing.  I'd guess that eliminating
>corporate secrets would take away every last incentive
>for many early-stage businesses;  there's already a big
>enough problem with, say, Microsoft stealing good ideas
>from smaller players ..

There is an interesting interaction between this idea and
IP. Large companies are certainly more able to leverage
IP rights, while startups spend an inordinate amount of
resources developing those same rights, so that when the
gorilla comes calling, they have something to trade.


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