CEO Currency — Getting Paid

CEO currency, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a brightening Austin morning, y’all. On Earth as it is in Texas!

So, The Boss gets a call from a CEO pal and they get into a chat. Chat takes a turn toward the philosophical.

CEO sayeth, “I need to get paid.”

The Boss says, “Have I ever shared with you my views on CEO currency?”

“No, but something tells me that’s about to change. Bring it.”

CEO Currency

CEOs have to take care of themselves in the running and funding of their companies. The Board and the VCs are not going to manage your career, CEO person.

The Big Red Car likes a CEO to have an Employment Agreement, both for the CEO’s interest and to ensure the Board and the CEO are on the same wavelength.

The Boss has assisted numerous CEOs in making this happen. If you are a CEO and don’t have an Employment Agreement — get one. If you need help, call me.

The Employment Agreement should have a structured compensation including: salary, benefits, short-term incentive comp, long-term incentive comp, and “something special.”

Read about it here:

The Design of Compensation Packages for C Level Execs and Senior Management

There are two other forms of currency with which a CEO is paid: ego enrichment and self-esteem nourishment. You could get an argument to whether they are the same or closely related, but not with the Big Red Car.

Ego enrichment and self-esteem nourishment

When you are a CEO, you are feeding a type of insanity which folks don’t like to talk about in polite company. You want to do great stuff because you want to be a “maker.”

As an entrepreneur, you might recognize this sentiment: “I’d rather be the captain of an ocean going dory, than the third mate on the Queen Mary.”

You want that whip in your hand. OK, you know that’s true.

When you are successful, you can say, “I built this. I did this. I am this. This is what I am capable of doing.” [We’ll talk about the team and other things later, but now give into your own ego for a few minutes. The world will teach you otherwise soon enough. Right now, wallow in it.]

And, in that moment, your mother’s son or daughter will know something — “I’m special because not everybody can do this stuff.”

The Boss built and renovated some great buildings — Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark type buildings.

Italy1 624

Haha, dumbass, that’s the Roman Coliseum. The Boss did NOT build the Roman Coliseum. The Big Red Car is goofing with you. Are you paying attention? You thought The Boss built the Roman Coliseum?

OK, here’s a building The Boss actually did renovate.

Norwood Tower internet resolution

The Norwood Tower is famous for its empty clock rosette. The clock contractor jumped off the building during the Depression. The building on top of the bank portion is the original Austin Club. The Boss’s office was in that building. There is a lovely penthouse on top of the building.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

When you are a CEO, make sure you have your Employment Agreement taken care of, but recognize you get paid in other ways also. When The Boss goes downtown in the ATX, he talks to his buildings. Here’s the thing: they talk back.

“Hey, Boss, thanks for renovating our stuff. You did OK by us. Hope you have good memories of it.

“Oh, yeah, Littlefield Building, I’m filled to overflowing with self-esteem nourishment and ego enrichment. Thanks for the memories, y’all.”

Do you catch the ego talking? Yeah, that’s right.


Hollywood & Vine in the ATX occupied by the Littlefield Building. Lyndon Johnson had his Senate office in this building. There is an artesian well in the basement.


The Big Red Car talks CEO currency.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Hey, CEO, you’re something else. You’re what makes America great. Get some! Do not be ashamed for wanting some ego enrichment and self-esteem nourishment because they will be cutting your underwear up for rags if you mess up.


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