Foul ball, penalties and salary changes: this CEO gets a pay decrease for the new year

A lot of people like to do, “New Year’s Resolutions,” and the last few years, indeed, most of my life, I’ve had a habit of doing, “New Year’s Planning,” instead. What I mean by that is I reflect, pause and try to grow as a person.

Highlights this year were on-boarding my team, Adam and Hans :)

Low-light this year was missing plan, given we’re a month behind schedule.

So, given that, “I touched it,” I own it – CEO means buck starts, and stops here. Some companies have a saying, “Sh!t rolls down hill.” I’ve always hated that idea.

Image via wikimedia commons.

Image via wikimedia commons.

Effective in our financial models for the business (still an LLC, but, we’re following plan) immediately, I’m dropping my salary to be the lowest on the team. Also, a lot of reflection went into our salary plans and levels.

However one thing that sounded great, because I got the idea from Buffer, was to increase pay based on what, “Expensive,” city or location you’re in.

Well, that’s also getting kicked out the door. The reasoning is simple because long term, I don’t see myself living in an expensive area. Talent might not live in a large city, but it might be found in unexpected places, that I know. After all, I’ve been importing talent from Nepal, India, China, Costa Rica, UK, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Ukraine, Maldives and many other countries for years.

The plan personally was never to hire in any given place. Learning from my parents growing up, I realized that, “Buy low, sell high,” was a great idea. Ask any good American, “Neo-colonialist,” and they’ve been pushing product production East, towards India and China.

That’s a fantastic strategy and until now, the very best engineering team I’ve ever worked with was from China. Fate gave me an awesome chance to work with a great guy, who grew to become an even better leader and, well, I’d love to say friend.

Consulting is good. It’s great, in fact, especially when you have awesome clients. I’m a tinkerer at heart though, and will only ever be truly satisfied when I have ample time for, “Work,” and what I call, “Play,” or what other people call, “Chatting with the best engineers and standing in awe as they make dreams come true.”

Besides which, this is a short term move. I’ve got next year, and the next, to do a better job. Improve performance. Enable the team to hit the group goals. Also, once we hit massive profit, I can’t underpay anybody on the team due to IRS rules about base pay and using somebody’s past experience and salary as a guide. Otherwise, I’d be able to slip myself a bunch of bonus money, along with the rest of the team, and lower my overall tax burden artificially – that’s a huge no-no. The only reason I’m able to do this is because, frankly, I missed plan. Sucks but whining won’t fix it. :)

I’d also like to take a moment and challenge other CEO’s whose teams were perhaps fired to drop their salary to be the lowest on their executive team. Both in cash and in stock, which is what I’m doing.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now, for those who aren’t the “boss,” of the company, like me. Ask the friends and families you see this holiday season, who perhaps have been hit in the face by corporate greed. Or been the unwitting victim of a colonoscopy.

Ask them if they think they deserved to get screwed. Or maybe, just maybe, the rich, the powerful and the influential should hold themselves to the standards I’m putting up.

You know, a humble, nobody guy like me. Somebody you’ve never heard of, haven’t met, and that can’t do anymore harm than a butterfly, right?