Friday, 24 April 2015

Two and three quarters cheers for Dan Price


It would be really churlish to sing anything but the loudest praise for Dan Price. And yet this blogger is falling short of raising three cheers for him.

Dan Price is the CEO of a privately held small company called Gravity Payments with about 120 employees. About two weeks ago, he called all his employees for a huddle and told them that he was raising everybody's salary to $ 70,000 a year, because that will make a big difference to their lives and help them be happy. Simultaneously he also announced that he would cut his own salary from $1m to $ 70,000. Considering that the average salary in Gravity was $48,000, he certainly made 120 people very happy. To read more about this heartwarming story click here.

In a world of cynical CEOs, astronomical pay differences , of treating employees like (pallets, or worse, shit, ) this is a refreshingly good story. Mr Price must be commended for what is undoubtedly a noble act. He is a CEO with a difference, unlike the many who sometimes don't seem to belong to the species we normally understand as Homo Sapiens.

And yet ............... , this blogger, while praising Price's actions to the sky, thinks he is wrong to do this.

People who are employed, even in Walmart, actually have a good deal in today's world. They have a job. They earn a salary, which while seeming to be inadequate, is at least something. They have the government looking out for them in terms of labour legislation designed to ensure that they are treated fairly. They have the unions watching their back. Although they may not believe it, they actually are in a great position.

Consider the larger number of people who are unemployed. They have nothing. Nobody looks out for them. They are called scroungers and worse. Its damned difficult to get a job. Nobody who is not unemployed can understand the feelings of worthlessness, desperation and worse.

Mr Price - you have a heart and are a good man. If you had not raised anybody's salary, but instead employed 120 more people,  you will deserve to be a saint in my books. Those who have a job should be paid fairly - I know that there will be a big dispute as to what constitutes fair pay, but pay them fairly by whatever standards you consider appropriate. But even more important, hire lots of people. Give them jobs. Give them a hope in life.

10 comments:

  1. eagerly waiting for sriram sir's response for this red font but black dyed post :D

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    1. Shall watch the gils/sriram mutual rasikar manram with great interest :)

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  2. orey emaaththam enakku ... gils intha mathiri aangilaththila comment? chee-chee, ulagam kettu pochchu!!! ;)

    Am not sure if Ramesh, or Gils, or both will be disappointed or happy (have I covered all the possibilities?) with the comments that follow ;)

    My grandmother told us a story back when I was a kid, when one of us grandkids expressed something like "my stomach is so full that I don't think I can eat for a few days." The story that she narrated, which you would have heard as well, was about a rich guy who had such a wonderful meal that made him so content and happy that he figured he will not get hungry ever again and gave away all his wealth to the poor. The following day, he got hungry and had to beg the formerly poor to give him some food!

    This CEO's act is no wiser than that rich guy. Good intentions alone don't work. This CEO's answer to what fair pay is seems a tad sophomoric. But, hey, at the end of it all, it was his money--a privately held company. And, therefore, his problem now.

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    1. Really ?? That's the most unexpected of points of view. Give the guy some credit in the age when CEOs are only interested in fattening themselves to the point of clinical obesity.

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  3. Anne in Salem1/5/15

    I wonder about actions such as this - or an increase in minimum wage to (ugh) $15/hour. Giving people extra money won't make them any happier, though it will undoubtedly reduce stress, which is important.

    Will raising the pay of so many people really do any good? Will they be responsible stewards of this windfall by saving for a crisis or retirement or by paying down debt or by contributing to charity, or will they just spend, spend, spend, and end up in the exact same position they are in now - spending beyond their means and living paycheck to paycheck, getting deeper in debt? I know the economy is driven by spending, but saving is more practical and much wiser in the long run. Except then you get taxed to the hilt for having interest or capital gain income, which you won't have if you spend, spend, spend, but that is another rant altogether.

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    1. Interesting perspective. Is increasing salary under any circumstances sensible without a corresponding increase in responsible living ?? I wonder. Never thought of it this way.

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  4. TheMillionMiler1/5/15

    hmm! on the one hand we have this 'philanthropic' CEO and on the other we have the zero hour contracts. There is this raging debate about what is called a "living wage". The minimum adult wage in NZ is 14.75 an hour. The bleeding heart left liberals reckon this should be 22 bucks an hour. The realists reckon that over 70% of small/medium businesses will fold up if they pay this wage and putting most of these people on minimum wage out of work (and presumably on Govt. dole). What is right, what is not?

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  5. @Kiwi - I am against even the concept of a minimum wage. It rarely works in the intended way - preventing the exploitation of the vulnerable worker.

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  6. Look at it this way, if you were a share holder, the value of the stocks would appreciate if the company does well, if u as employees have really put your heart and soul, is it wrong to be a bit socialist and share your gains with your people - I still support this. All business doesn't have to be capitalist. After all, he is not giving away his share holder money, it's his business.

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    1. Oh there is little doubt that Dan Price has to be commended. Remember, I gave him two and three quarters cheers (instead of the proverbially more used two cheers !). All I wanted to do was to muse that he could have done even better.

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