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“创始人独裁”股权架构是好是坏?乔布斯:有机会我也这么干

Adam Lashinsky 2017年09月25日

对于创业来说,没有哪种架构是唯一正确的。

众所周知,乔布斯生前只持有很少的苹果股份,这是因为八十年代中期他被赶出苹果时,将他持有的大部分股份卖掉了。后来有人曾问过乔布斯,他对年轻创业者经常用来控制公司的双级股份结构怎么看,乔布斯说,他真希望当年他创办苹果时,这种操作就已经流行了起来,这样他就能从中获得不少好处。

双级股份结构多年来一直备受抨击。拉里·佩奇和谢尔盖·布林就是用这一招控制着谷歌。谷歌上市时,他们还曾告诉投资者,如果他们不喜欢这种安排,就不要购买谷歌的股票。最近几年,“创始人独裁”已被认为是企业家的一种恶习。成功的创业人容易染上傲慢和自大病,而且他们对股东的利益也不够关心。

这种逻辑本身无疑是正确的,不过它也可能并未触及到问题的实质。《财富》编辑艾琳·格里菲思最近撰写了一篇专栏文章,称硅谷的“创始人友好型”股权架构或许将成昨日黄花,取而代之的是愈加严厉的企业监管。她在文中列举了Snap和Blue Apron的数据,这两家“创始人独裁”型的公司的股价都出了问题。而Uber也是由于CEO、联合创始人特拉给斯·卡兰尼克的恣意妄为,而导致公司遭受了负面后果。

我对她的分析并不是很认同。首先,她这篇文章中的因果关系可能是不成立的。我不认为Snap和Blue Apron之所以业绩不佳,是由于他们的创始人不害怕被董事会炒鱿鱼的结果。虽然这种可能性是存在的,但也有可能是他们做出了某些长期赌注,只不过迄今为止还没有看到效果——当然也有可能永远看不到他们期望的效果。其次,好的理念终归是好的理念,跟企业治理是紧是松没有关系。谷歌和Facebook的投资者并不介意佩奇、布林和马克·扎克伯格的“独裁”。Facebook早年间经历过惨不忍睹的IPO,甚至还犯过几乎将公司葬送掉的战略错误,但这并不影响他们现在的成功。

对于创业来说,没有哪种架构是唯一正确的。投资人掌握一定的控制权,可以有效地避免公司出现一个“昏君”。而“创始人独裁”则能确保长线思维的正确性,从而避免公司因为短视而频出昏招。当然,反面情况也是有可能发生的。总之,你掏了钱,就要接受你的选择。(财富中文网)

译者:贾政景

Steve Jobs famously owned very few shares of Apple, partly because he divested his stake when he was drummed out of the company in the mid-1980s. Asked later what he thought of dual-class stock ownership structures that younger founders used to keep control of their companies, he said he wished the technique had been popular when he co-founded Apple (aapl, +1.81%). He would have taken advantage of it.

That technique has been under fire for years. Larry Page and Sergey Brin used it to control Google (goog, +0.22%), and when it went public they told investors not to buy the shares if they didn’t like the arrangement. More recently founder control has become an item on the checklist of bad behavior by entrepreneurs. Along with their arrogance and insouciance, founders are considered insufficiently mindful of the concerns of the people from whom they are raising capital.

This is undoubtedly true. It’s also very likely beside the point. Erin Griffith, the estimable author of Fortune’s Term Sheet newsletter, has a new column out that argues that the era of "founder-friendly" ownership structures will soon give way to better corporate governance in Silicon Valley. Her data points include Snap (snap, -0.13%) and Blue Apron (aprn, +0.37%), two founder-controlled companies whose share prices have cratered, and Uber (uber), another outfit where the CEO, co-founder Travis Kalanick, let things run amok.

Here’s my problem with this analysis. First, it suggests a causal relationship where one might not exist. I’m not convinced Snap and Blue Apron have performed poorly because their founders didn’t fear being fired. It’s possible. But it’s also possible they made long-term bets—as controlling shareholders will—that haven’t paid off so far or never will. Second, a good idea is a good idea no matter the governance. Google and Facebook (fb, +1.50%) investors seem pretty pleased Page and Brin and Mark Zuckberberg are in control. Facebook even endured a horrible IPO and a near-death strategic miss early on.

There’s no one right way to structure a startup. Investor control can be critical for getting rid of bad operators. And founder control can ensure long-term thinking that avoids stupid short-term moves. Or the reverse might happen regardless. As the saying goes, this time literally, you pays your money you takes your choice.

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