What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: As a board member who has perhaps been involved in setting pay levels for executives, what is your view of executive compensation? (Mark Thoma, Economist’s View)

John Allison: I think executive compensation ought to be set by the marketplace. Boards do make mistakes sometimes in the executive compensation process. I think there have been some obvious abuses of executive compensation in a few cases, but I think the more generic problem is not that people could be paid well, but the measurement of performance is not right. And I think the two errors that have been made, one, a lot of time performance is measured too linearly, it doesn’t include the comprehensive performance, and secondly, a lot of times performance is too short term. So I think that boards should be setting compensation, I think highly performing people ought to be paid very well based on market conditions, but I think boards should do a good job and I think, frankly, I think our board has done a good job being sure the compensation is not just linear and being sure it covers a long period of time, not just what happens over a short period.

Question: Is giving shareholders more control over the level of compensation that executives receive an answer to the problem?

John Allison: I think that the shareholders have to select the board members and the board members have to make those kind of operating decisions. I don’t think shareholders have enough information to make concrete operating decisions. They can put the board in the position--they simply couldn’t attract the kind of talent that they need to operate. We’re seeing that right now with some of the interference by the government in setting executive compensation. I do think shareholders should be very careful in selecting the board members. I would say this though; I don’t think shareholders have been un-guilty, particularly institutional shareholders, in what’s been going on recently, because a lot of shareholders are very short term oriented. And so they encourage short-term performance and they give executives that act in a short-term manner. So I think if shareholders want a different long-term result, then they need to invest for the longer-term perspective and that’s a really important responsibility versus micro managing the board process.

 

Executives Deserve to Be Pa...

Newsletter: Share: