Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

How Dell Moved an Exec Across Texas for Only $9,655 a Mile

And while we’re speaking of Dell, another news item on that company caught my eye this morning. Footnoted, the Morningstar-owned blog that specializes in the meatier details of regulatory filings, noticed a few interesting facts from Dell’s proxy filing made yesterday.

Among the items worthy of note:

  • CEO Michael Dell’s compensation package came in north of $16.1 million, or more than three times what he made last year. This despite consistently missing forecasts.
  • Stephen F. Schuckenbrock, whose title is “President, Services,” received $1.9 million in relocation benefits in order to move from Round Rock, Texas, to Plano, Texas. Okay, except Footnoted looked at a map and noticed the distance between them is only about 200 miles, in which case the move works out to $9,655.19 a mile. And while the filing concedes that the benefits included a cash payment of $1.5 million to compensate Schuckenbrock for the loss on his house, even excluding that amount it works out to $2,079 a mile. That must have been a really nice moving truck.
  • Also, Dell’s directors, like those at other tech companies like Apple, got free stuff. Nine Dell directors got Dell Vostro computers, which the company valued at $903 each, based on Dell’s actual cost. While it sounds reasonable, try as they might, the Footnoted folks couldn’t push the price of a Vostro above $1,500 without throwing in a lot of extras like printers and backpacks. It certainly doesn’t say anything good about the apparent gross margin on that particular model.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work