Strategy Forum / Panelist

Yael Hochberg

Jones Graduate School of Business

Rice University

United States

Professor Hochberg’s research and teaching interests are focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the financing of entrepreneurial activity. Her research focuses on the venture capital industry, accelerators, networks, and corporate governance and compensation policies. Her research has been published in top-tier journals, including Science Magazine, The Journal of Finance, The Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financial Economics.

Voting History

Statement Response
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s proposed ban on noncompete agreements will impact innovation and entrepreneurship outside of existing technology hubs. Neither agree nor disagree “Noncompetes have been shown to impede the departure of wage employees to new startups, either as founders or as employees. Historically, noncompetes have also been nonenforceable in California, so we have a reference point for what might happen. In states where noncompetes were enforced and prevented employee departures for new startup formation, we likely will see an increase. Whether that will be “outside of existing technology hubs” is unclear since the mechanism has always been leaving a big company in the same space (tech) to start a startup — which suggests the need for a technology hub, or at least a tech incumbent firm, for spillovers to happen via employee migration to startups. So we may simply see more activity in existing tech hubs where noncompetes were enforceable up to now.”
Digital platform companies like Uber and Netflix have lost their first-mover advantage. Neither agree nor disagree “The answer? It depends! Uber and Netflix are very different types of platforms. Netflix faces much more direct competition than Uber, and it benefits less from network effects. I think it has lost a lot of its first-mover advantage. Uber, in contrast, is still benefiting today from the first-mover advantage of having built up a massive stable of drivers and riders, which makes it harder for a new entrant to break through the noise.”
New salary transparency laws will cause companies to increase bonus pay and other nonreportable perks as a share of total compensation. Agree “To the extent that companies wish to use compensation to attract and retain top talent (while acknowledging that not all talent is top talent), they will need approaches to increase pay for certain employees that do not affect the base average for standard workers in a job category or title. Using nonreportable bonus pay, etc., will be attractive for this purpose. A standard base pay can be used that represents appropriate comp for a particular job function or title, and that will be public, while other forms of comp will be used for retention, attracting top recruits, and so forth. Academia has been doing this for many years to retain top professors.”
Charging for user verification will lead to increased user engagement and trust on Twitter. Neither agree nor disagree “On the one hand, charging for user verification will deter many people from getting verified. Most Twitter users today are not verified and do just fine. The vast majority will not be interested, and much of the interaction will continue as it is today with unverified users. On the other hand, it will make it easier for legitimate public figures to get verified, relative to the rather arcane process used today, which does not make it easy to get a blue check mark. This might help a small population of users get more engagement.”
The era of dominance for Tesla in the EV market is coming to an end. Disagree “While other EV companies and even the majors are finally entering the market, Tesla has established a significant lead and has years of reliability data, whereas the new entrants are all on version 1.0. In a few years, as the majors work out the kinks, the balance may shift, but we are not there yet. Tesla will likely remain a significant competitor in the future as well.”
Sanctions against Russia will cause multinational companies to consider human rights protections in supply chains more broadly. Disagree “Multinational companies are unlikely to consider these issues except in situations where true conflict and disruption seem imminent. Or another way of thinking about this is, if they consider these issues, they will likely determine that it is not worth making any changes unless war and sanctions are immediately on the horizon.”
Blockchain is more likely to be a sustaining innovation than a disruptive innovation in the financial sector. Strongly agree “Ultimately, blockchain is a ledgering system. It will be adopted by existing players as well as new players, it’s unlikely to be an innovation that puts incumbents out of business by creating “good enough products” that serve an underserved niche. Instead, blockchain will be adopted by everyone in order to provide a more secure and better product offering.”
Relaxing the rules around physical presence in the office will improve employee productivity and firm performance. Neither agree nor disagree “For some types of employees, this is emphatically true. For others, not necessarily.”
The COVID-19 pandemic will lead companies to relocate infrastructure and employees away from dense urban locations. Disagree
In the wake of recent climate-related disasters and related events, such as the bankruptcy of PG&E, corporations are now planning for the increased operational risks and potential liabilities caused by climate change. Strongly agree
The Business Roundtable’s new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation indicates a shift away from shareholder value maximization as the sole purpose of the corporation and toward a broader view of value creation.
This shift will have material impact on the well-being of U.S. workers.
Strongly disagree
“So long as activist shareholders remain focused on returns, this statement is unlikely to have an effect. Without aligned incentives, it is hard to see how CEOs can avoid bowing to shareholder pressure.”
In the next decade, we will see the first sustainably profitable private commercial activities in space. Strongly agree
A hard Brexit will have a significant negative impact on many businesses, even if they do not have a U.K. or European presence. Strongly agree “Effects will be felt in labor supply [and a] shift of center of financial gravity for Europe to other cities. Economic uncertainty may lead to reduced consumption overall.”
China is no longer the most attractive growth opportunity for Western multinationals. Disagree
In the next five years, the blockchain will have a transformative effect on finance in emerging markets. Disagree
Amazon’s new $15 per hour minimum wage will force other companies to follow suit. Neither agree nor disagree
Restrictions on skilled immigration will cause US firms to to shift more operations overseas. Agree “Restricting skilled immigration will lead to high-value R&D and technical work being shifted to countries where the skilled talent exists.”
Uber has to develop self-driving cars in the next 10 years in order to remain viable. Agree “Uber needs to be able to replace their fleet with driverless vehicles to be sustainable. Someone else can develop those vehicles, though.”
A trade war will be more disruptive to business than to consumers. Neither agree nor disagree “Depends on whether the tariffs are on final or intermediate goods and on the consumers’ price elasticity of demand for final goods.”
Concern over consumer privacy will fundamentally limit businesses’ ability to use big data. Disagree “Big data encompasses much more than just the type of data that has raised concerns over consumer privacy. But some use cases may wind up restricted.”