Bill Agee, from the Harvard Business School Class of ’63, gets money. Hell, he gets life:
It may seem too easy for someone who has achieved relative financial success and a significant degree of material comfort to say in retrospect that this no longer really matters. It does matter, in that this form of success provides for safety and security, comfort and freedom.
However, I believe that each person must define an optimal amount of financial success. This is the point at which money is no longer a great motivator.
Once our economic needs have been fulfilled, it is time to give back — to seek out those whose basic needs have not been met, whose human rights to shelter, food, and safety have not been satisfied.
One of my friends from Seeking Alpha, Robert Allan Schwartz, recently pointed out to me this article in the Wall Street Journal that was sharply critical of IBM as a long-term investment, with the brunt of the criticism aimed at IBM’s monstrous buyback program, which typically retires 1-2% of the company’s shares outstanding in a given quarter. You should probably read the article yourself, but the gist of the piece was this: when IBM invests into its business, it achieves growth of 18.1%. When it does buybacks, it achieves growth of 6.5%. The commitment to buybacks at the expense of fresh investments in the business is a form of corporate cowardice that exhibits “playing not to lose” thinking and resting on laurels, rather than the boldness and imaginativeness you’d like to see in order to achieve significant corporate growth. Very provocative article.
Since I’ve written a lot about IBM in … Read the rest of this article!