Archive for November, 2009

A Shareholder-eye view

I went to my first corporate shareholder’s meeting today – for Microsoft in Bellevue. I never went while I was an employee, we used to joke that it was at 8 am specifically to dissuade programmers from attending. I checked with someone afterwards and the content of the meeting is public, in fact you can watch it in webcast from the shareholder information section of the website at www.microsoft.com/msft. It was, in many ways, smaller than I expected. Sections were short, simple and to the point. The entire meeting, including shareholder resolution presentations, a short discussion of the business from Steve Ballmer, plus Q&A, was only an hour. Attendance was maybe 400 people? I ran into someone I knew from working there afterwards and he said in the past meetings have been much larger.

Most of the attendees were older folks, I’ll hazard a guess that the average age was at least 65. In fact on my way out one gentleman was seated in a chair and being checked over by emergency personnel. The attendees seemed primarily like direct shareholders from their questions in the Q&A. Before and after there was a product fair with stations demoing flagship products of Bing, Windows 7, the phone, Zune HD, and maybe one other. I snagged a Bing pen and watched the Microsoft person help two foggy-voiced gentlemen who wanted to search for “1970 chevy engine rebuild”. He showed them how to play around with quotes or not quotes to better their results, and was patient when one seemed to need to be 2 inches from the screen to read it.


Read Full Post »

Reading the Equal Exchange Blog I learned they have a member who is getting a masters in cooperative (and credit union) management. It’s an online program through St Mary’s University of Halifax, Nova Scotia. According to their Spring 2009 newsletter “It is the only Master’s degree in co-operative management offered in English by an internationally accredited business school.” I’ll speculate Mondragon University may offer a degree but in Spanish.

Read Full Post »

I’m not generally a breaking-news blogger, but This Just In courtesy of David Smathers Moore, founder of the Teamworks Cooperative Network in San Francisco. Mondragon and the United Steelworkers union have signed an agreement to work together and develop hybrid union-cooperative process. Initially the unions will seek to implement Mondragon-style share ownership options when collective bargaining (as opposed to agreeing to ESOP structures), and Mondragon cooperatives will integrate the union collective bargaining structure into their governance structure. Baby steps, but very interesting ones!

Read it from the USW here!

Read Full Post »