Shareholder Equality

Posted on October 5, 2018

Description:

We have a problem.

Like the “Congrats, you have an all male panel!” tumblr, my top 25 shareholders are all men. Women shareholders are woefully underrepresented in the KmikeyM project, which combines two male-dominated fields, finance and technology. This is bad.

  • Catalyst.org estimates that women make up 35% of investment banking and securities dealings employees, and 16.7% of senior-level or executive management.
  • Wired.com reports that 31% of Facebook and Apple’s employees are women. White men continue to dominate college computer science departments.
  • For women in startups, the equity gap is worse than the pay gap. Women made up 35% of employees with equity, but only owned 20% of equity dollars.
  • Lack of diversity is the keystone problem in tech — “from its recklessly expansionist zeal to the ways its brightest companies keep stepping in problems of their own making.”
  • It’s insane that we’re still talking about women earning 80 cents for every dollar a man earns.
Beyond the moral stance of gender equality there are financial incentives for diversity. Research from Wake Forest University found that corporations with more diverse boards of directors were less prone to take risks and more likely to pay dividends.

Many companies have instituted diversity programs. California recently passed a law which requires publicly traded firms to place at least one woman on their board of directors. Similar measures are common in Europe.

This is a proposal to develop financial incentives within the KmikeyM system to fight our own gender imbalance. A yes vote means we will look for practical ways to directly address and correct the gender imbalance of the shareholder community.

This is not a proposal for a specific solution, but a vote to tackle the problem. My initial ideas are around shareholder grants, compensation for the pay gap, and changes to the code that encourages women to buy and hold shares. If this proposal passes I’ll be reaching out to the shareholder community — and especially the women within our community — for ideas.



Past Discussion

MrKleinBottle (1 shares, voted yes)
Positive discrimination eh?
jrg3 (0 shares, voted no)
I don't understand... can't women just buy more shares? It seems to be more of a lack of interest from women in respect to this project than any inherent diversity or discriminatory issues.
Mike Merrill 🎖🌮🌴
Not sure what “positive discrimination” is. But this is about encouraging participation. Why would women be less interested in this project? They make up half the population! And the point of this proposal is to find ways to encourage them to buy more shares.
Mike Merrill 🎖🌮🌴
Unsurprisingly, gender disparity exists in the crypto space as well. An article from today: https://cryptodaily.co.uk/2018/10/the-troubling-crypto-gender-disparity/
A J Cole (2 shares)
I put forward a one-time motion to accept donated or buy discounted shares to boost my standing amongst the throng of male shareholders! In return, I will make an attempt to recruit new female shareholders and document my efforts. I support this effort to address a systematic problem. @jrg3 may be unaware of the root causes leading to gender inequality in capitalism. A lack of interest is preceded by a lack of understanding. Women and girls are perpetually disregarded in investment education. In the simplest of terms women show up less because they're invited less.
justdorkin (20 shares, voted yes)
i think it is a good idea to get more people interested in the project. no matter what gender they are. one way that it can be done is to do more women centric podcasts, influencers, bloggers. i dont like the idea of discounted shares,especially since the prices are low right now anyway. i dont think share cost is the issue.
Josh Berezin ☕️💯 (662 shares)
Mr. Dorkin makes an interesting point — do we know anything about what factors contribute to the lack of participation by women in this project? Do we have evidence that cost is a factor? Did more women participate when share prices were lower?
void (43 shares, voted no)
Trying to enforce equality of outcome with overt sexism is against anything free markets stand for. The structure of this investment already provides equality of opportunity, anything more invites moral and financial hazard.
flebbebe (31 shares, voted no)
Your point that the investors are biased by the fields you intersect with indicates you do not have an actual problem. Alternatively... if you plan on "advertising" (or appealing) to what you feel is a growth market, and you've identified that growth market to be women, I could be persuaded to vote yes. Otherwise, any financial incentive to specifically bring women into the space will, I suspect, come at the cost of stock price.
flebbebe (31 shares, voted no)
As a side-note regarding your proposal: I find your discussion of other companies and the industry extremely underwhelming. I did not invest in other companies. I invested in you. I believe in *this* project. If *your* project is sexist in some way, I want (1) for you to inform me; (2) to know why; (3) to have an actionable plan fixing it. Otherwise, I'm not very concerned. As much as I believe in the good this project can demonstrate, I do not expect you to fix all societal ills. At least, not directly :)
EyeScream (5 shares, voted yes)
I voted yes just because I think diversity of all kinds makes this a more interesting place. I have found it slightly frustrating that my opinion on a lot of the votes has left me feeling a bit of an odd man out, so to speak. It's less about my specific amount of shares/power, and more that it seems like there's a real single-mindedness of thought that makes things both predictable and a little tiresome. Part of that is likely gender, and part of it is probably the overabundance of people with similar jobs, influences, and location. I'll say that I personally bought shares just because it seemed like an interesting art project; the tech and financial aspects are rarely on my mind (I've got real money in the stock market for that), and I frankly have never assumed I'd get my money back. I've always viewed the shares as "tickets" to a really weird show that borrows its structure from the stock market. Could be that I really am the "odd man out" here.
void (43 shares, voted no)
"We have a problem." - Now do we? Or is it merely what the media you consume suggests? Failing to acknowledge natural biological differences and enforcing ideology upon it is, not for lack of another word, dangerous. Have a look at this map of all industries of Germany I created: https://void4.github.io/Germany Good luck enforcing gender equality in all industries, given that there are more than twice as many men as women in the full time workforce. "Research from Wake Forest University found that corporations with more diverse boards of directors were less prone to take risks and more likely to pay dividends." - Less risk is not automatically good. How much risk is appropriate depends on the circumstances. Less risk also implies less progress. "Many companies have instituted diversity programs." - Political reeducation and sexual favoritism by coercion doesn't really have anything to do with free markets. "compensation for the pay gap" - Your investors are more international and diverse thank you think. There will be no correct metric and there will be no means of protecting against its exploitation. What if there is no wage gap in my country, or if government benefits offset it? What if I identify as female or let someone purchase shares on my behalf? What if I hold shares for someone else? I invested in this project because I wanted to see if the concept of free markets could apply to more fine grained human decision making. This proposal takes the "free" aspect out of it.
ted (18 shares, voted yes)
Understand the “no” comments and would want to see what comes out of this discussion/thought process... voting “yes” under the assumption that any actual proposal around this would be put through a new, separate vote, just like any site/life change has been historically. I, and I believe other shareholders, would be disappointed if this or ANY major change to the KMikeyM structure were implemented without a shareholder vote, and obviously ownership and market prices would reflect that. I don’t see why a proposal to start to consider new ballots should be opposed. At any rate, I’d imagine Mike being a man and likely having a man-dominated peer group (some of whom have become key shareholders) impacts the types of ballots he creates, so at this point, I think allowing shareholder input on ballot questions and leaving more room in that regard for women to be involved would make for more interesting votes and in turn drive shareholder engagement and market price increases that benefit all shareholders. Seems like a win-win with this sort of mechanism based on my initial take.
curtiszimmerman 🎖💯 (203 shares, voted no)
Demonstrate to me these claims without making appeals to authority or popularity, without drawing conclusions based on intuition, and without conflating correlation with causation. Every time I follow these claims to the source, I find one of these errors. Every time. Other problems: Tiny sample sizes. Claims made by people that are not researchers doing research, but policymakers with a clear bias, or companies selling a product or service, or racists and/or sexists with a political agenda. All I want is clear-cut, reproducible research by qualified, unbiased researchers with no financial or political conflicts of interest, who also have at least a cursory understanding of statistical analysis. I've invested a ton of personal time chasing mountains of links upstream to their sources, and all I've found are unsubstantiated claims and *intense* hostility for questioning them. You really wouldn't believe how much hate gets piled on when all I'm asking for is science.
aktienmichi (16 shares, voted no)
I'm all for equality. But interfering in the market goes against the principles of capitalism. And if we're really going to talk stimulus, why not some QE to encourage trading all across the board? Hobestly, how many women are really interested in wasting precious time trading kmikeym shares, with or without incentive?
Mike Merrill 🎖🌮🌴
Aktienmichi: I have to admit that I have no formal economics training and am entirely self taught, so I am not familiar with the principles of capitalism as a formal structure. (But I’ll google it and learn more!) Curtiszimmerman: I’ve been collecting articles about gender disparity in tech and finance for a while and the ones I posted were some of the more recent, or references made by people I follow in social media. I’m not sure I can logic you into understanding how I feel when I read these stories, but also, that’s why I’m putting it up for a vote! A no vote based on sloppy evidence makes sense.
krickeyb 💯 (365 shares)
My vote right now is to abstain. I am leaning toward a "No" but I feel that would show me as not in support of equality, when I would hope it shows me not in support of this specific proposal. Why are there no specifics outlined for how to address shareholder equality? With the vagueness of this vote, what is to say no specifics ever come forward? Why just focus on women? Why not up level this to a more general push for diversity and inclusion within the shareholders? (I do think targeting women is awesome, and support that being the first group to focus on, for example.) What if the lack of diverse shareholders represents the lifestyle and beliefs of the actual asset? What is kmikeym doing to ensure they actively seek out and include a diverse set of social connections in the real world?
awnelson17 ☕️🌮🕴 (10 shares, voted yes)
Of course you did look into this and get more women to invest. As long as there is no financial incentives, outside the norm, then this is a no brainier.
curtiszimmerman 🎖💯 (203 shares, voted no)
That's actually why this is usually a lose-lose for everyone involved (except for the insiders of the faction which successfully defeats their political opponents): The people who oppose this must clearly be against equality or diversity. And so once the outsiders have been purged, it becomes a contest of who can agree with the other position more than anyone else and/or make it appear as though their opponents are failing to agree with as much heart, and therefore lump them in with the supremacists. This proposition sounds totally reasonable on the surface, and I'd bet if you went around to random streets in random places around the world, you'd find almost universal agreement that equal access is a good thing. But the problem isn't well-defined, and actually has many different and conflicting personal interpretations (which can't be properly debugged since merely questioning the assumptions of a position is the surest indicator of a supremacist). What is your desired end state? And how will you know when you are there? If it's to have 50% female shareholders, then seize all of the issued shares, and redistribute them to a group that is half female. Problem solved, right? But now you've outed your cis-privilege, and you have a new problem which, as you just clearly demonstrated, you cannot handle. How will you know when you're starting to make non-obvious mistakes that lead to catastrophic failure? This is an *incredibly* complex issue that not even enormous and diverse multi-national corporations and governments have "solved" -- "What if I told you there was no solution?" said Morpheus.
curtiszimmerman 🎖💯 (203 shares, voted no)
That being said -- and I must make it perfectly clear that this is not an accession to whoever will be the one to purge me in this process -- I think that of all the places to run an experiment, this is the most appropriate. No one's livelihood is on the line, but there's enough capital locked up in the shares to keep people invested in the outcome.
Oskar 💼☕️ (60 shares, voted yes)
The ban on female shareholders should probably be lifted
wandersean (83 shares, voted yes)
I'm very interested in seeing the specific proposals that come out of this. Personally, I probably wouldn't have a problem with one-off financial incentives to under-represented groups because I believe that a more diverse community and shareholder base would be a big positive. That said, I think some research needs to be done into why those groups are under-represented in the current situation -- as someone pointed out earlier, the financial bar to entry ($5-10 to throw away and a credit card) isn't that high...