The Great SOX Fleecing of America

According to a Financial Executives International survey of 321 companies, however, firms with greater than $5 billion in revenues spend an average of $4.7 million per year to comply with section 404.

That quote pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with SOX, compliance with zero value creation. The next time you buy something, think about how many cents in the aggregate supply chain go to SOX compliance.

The ironic thing is that if you add up the aggregate SOX compliance costs incurred by global businesses operating in the U.S., the amount would surely dwarf what was lost in the corporate scandals that precipitated this curse.

Of course, this Do Nothing Congress is no better than the last Do Nothing Congress, while there are broad issues that both parties can agree on, like SOX and AMT reform, they choose to spin their cycles on meaningless measures (of the 25 bills signed into law under this congress, 12 have been to rename federal buildings, post offices, and 1 recreation area.

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What’s in Your Bag

The Irregulars had two interesting discussion threads over the last few days discussing what we carry when we travel and what our software kit looks like. A few observations that proxy larger trends.

  • We’re split PC-to-Mac users about 60/40, which is interesting for a bunch of enterprise guys/gals. This is not insignificant and somewhat connected to a bigger trend that I’ll highlight below.
  • Lot’s of Blackberry users and a few soon-to-be-iPhone users, the common thread is that those of us (I’m a BB Pearl guy) look at these devices as a way to reduce bag clutter with fewer devices. As an iPod user I can see Apple’s logic on the iPhone, but for reasons I can’t quite articulate that is not a powerful motivator for me, in fact even if I had an iPhone I think I would still carry my iPod. Weird huh?
  • Firefox dominates IE by a significant margin, which is opposite of the broader market.
  • Everyone with Firefox has a nice bundle of extensions they rely on. I suspect they use FF primarily because there is a broad library of purpose specific extensions available.
  • For blog editing everyone uses some offline editor, even if just a text editor.
  • Insofar as applications that are used, the biggie was Microsoft Office (which I use, after dumping NeoOffice). But the other interesting thing is that even the most dedicated of MS Office users were using some Google App. What that tells me is that Google’s "death from below" strategy is working and they are eroding Microsoft’s position
  • Web application use is standard among this group, in fact there were very few "on premise" apps beyond MS Office. The most common include Skype, Adium, Windows Live Writer, iTunes, NetNewsWire, and Quicken.
  • Lastly, while finding the Mac/Windows split interesting, it’s entirely logical given that people are increasingly using web applications as opposed to installed applications. Microsoft’s platform advantage has eroded much faster than I would have expected at the hands of the web browser.