CEO’s are dangerously underpaid

I read that some CEO’s get 500 times more than the lowest paid employee. That’s outrageous! CEO compensation should be 10,000 times more than the lowest paid employee. CEO’s are dangerously underpaid.

wolf-of-wall-street
The image of CEO’s as evil scammers is everywhere. Above: The Wolf of Wall Street.

Skills

I lead a pretty good life. Travel all over the world, stockpile of money, limitless options to what I can do. Right now, I can do ~50 different jobs that make 6 figures per year, without additional training. I know several dozen different programming languages/frameworks, multiple advertising channels, professional gambling, and normal things like sales.

And CEO’s have me beat by a mile.

Some CEO’s have a broad range of top-tier skills, while others are the top 0.1% in their field. Elon Musk is known for doing an engineers job for them if he’s unsatisfied with the work (and then fires the employee). Steve Jobs was involved with almost every facet of designing the Mac, right down to the typography.

90% of new businesses fail because the owner has to do everything at the beginning: accounting, marketing, HR, development, IT, etc. The learning curve is really high. But the average employee will always say things like “That’s not my job”. A CEO doesn’t have that luxury. They have to do 7 jobs at once. And that’s why they get paid like it.

Network

An Uber driver asked my opinion on college. College [itself] is a scam, but there’s one redeeming factor: networking. It was worth a lot to my career that I was surrounded by people who would later go on to work for companies scattered around the country. Getting jobs and clients from your network is a very real thing. Was paying six figures for a network worth it? Doubtful, but it’s certainly a bonus.

Even if a CEO isn’t right for the job, their network alone can be worth it to the company. Tesla and SpaceX recruit the top talent out of colleges because it’s cool to work for Elon Musk. Mark Zuckerberg could bring limitless value to a company just by introducing them to government officials around the world. Kanye West and his wife can bring worldwide legitimacy to a brand just by Tweeting about it.

A normal person might ask a friend of theirs to help them move.

Risk

The average person refuses to quit the job they hate. So they work 40 years in a terrible career, self-medicating with drugs. That’s how much normal people avoid risk. Most people throw away their entire lives rather than try something new.

The average person is scared to ask that guy or girl out on a date for fear of being embarrassed for 30 seconds. Embarrassment isn’t even real. It’s a tiny chemical reaction in your brain. You can’t even prove that your embarrassment exists. But it stops people from doing anything remotely interesting with their lives.

CEO’s try new things all the time. And when it doesn’t work out, they get dragged through the mud after being unceremoniously fired. And then the CEO gets up, dusts themselves off, and gets immediately rehired because 99% of people hate taking risks and doing new things is what it takes to succeed.

Perseverance

The gym is filled in January and empty by March. All of the “New Year’s Resolution” people fail before they even get started.

The average working career is 40+ years. Why not spend 5-10 of them trying new things to make sure the other 30 years are stellar? Very few people are willing to commit several years to something that might not work out. But here’s what happens: the time passes anyway and these people who never tried are in the exact same spot.

Amazon.com has never been profitable. Yes they do a lot of business volume, but the profit the company makes is put back into the company. They are on a 20 year timeline to profitability.

Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. His companies Tesla and SolarCity, which won’t have made a profit in their first 10 years of existence, are merely stepping stones to exploring space. It’ll take another 20 years to get colonies on Mars.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, works 16 hour days. 8 hours at Twitter and then 8 hours at Square. Neither company is profitable or looks to be profitable in the future. He’s been doing this for 10+ years.

CEO’s have 10, 20, and 30 year plans where they devote their entire lives to the cause. The average person can’t use a treadmill a few times a week for a couple months.

“What would you do with a million dollars?”

If you answered “two chicks at the same time” or “invest and live off the interest” then you will never be rich by your own efforts. The people that have money are constantly working, improving, and pushing themselves. We lived in one of the richest areas of Minnesota (Lake Minnetonka), and the lights on all the houses were dark at night. Those expensive lake shore properties rarely threw parties or saw the boats get used. Because the owners of those million dollar homes were always working.

It’s popular to hate on CEO’s

The world is better than it has ever been in human history, by any metric: health, wealth, or peace. CEO’s like Elon Musk are solving the energy problem by converting cars and homes to solar. CEO’s like Bill Gates are curing Polio and Malaria. CEO’s like Steve Jobs gave the average person with a smartphone more computing power in the palm of their hand than the entire world had in 1980.

Do you really think these people are underpaid?

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