All The Options That Are Fit To Print?

The New York Times writes-up the Wireless Generation situation in New York. The state’s comptroller declined to approve a contract with Wireless Gen because of the larger issues consuming News Corp. It’s unfortunate that Wireless – a genuinely innovative company – is getting caught up in problems that have absolutely nothing to do with it and also worrisome in terms of the future of the company and the shadow the NewsCorp problems are casting.

But one part of the story jumped out at me as incomplete in an important way:

New York will still work with Wireless Generation indirectly, as part of a consortium of states building a shared data framework known as the Shared Learning Collaborative. Financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the $44 million project, awarded to Wireless Generation in June, is being directed by Stacey Childress, a former board member at Wireless Generation. She stepped down and sold her stock in the firm before taking the position at the Gates Foundation, a Wireless Generation spokeswoman said.

That’s all accurate but it’s not the entire story – and I have a little visibility into this aspect of it. Childress had about 30,000 options on Wireless stock when she left the company’s board because Wireless paid board members in options rather than cash.  Her options were priced at $2.50 and $2.75.  When she went to the Gates Foundation Childress sold them – using a conservative valuation method – for $1.33, roughly half of their book value.  The exact price per-share Childress (and other board members) would have received when Wireless was bought by NewsCorp is not public information but a reasonable estimate of her share’s worth is $300-$400K.

In other words, she left well more than a quarter-million on the table in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest and do the right thing.

What’s more, Childress declined to do cash-for-service consulting for Wireless because she taught a Wireless Gen case in her course at Harvard Business School and didn’t think it was appropriate.

Let’s be clear, Childress will be able to put food on the table while working at the Gates Foundation and in the future but, still, that’s a lot of money to pass on in order to take a job where you think you can have social impact. And it’s a good example of how people have to navigate complicated situations and make tough calls. So the next time you hear someone braying about how everyone is just in education reform to make money, remember this example.  Plenty of people do the wrong thing (in every industry) but in our field plenty more disadvantage themselves and their families in an effort to do the right thing.

Disclosure: Bellwether has worked with Wireless Gen but we were not involved in the News Corp acquisition and don’t hold stock or options.  Bellwether also works with and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

6 thoughts on “All The Options That Are Fit To Print?

  1. steve f.

    It’s revisionist investing from Eduwonk today.

    Maybe the shares were worth half the book value when she sold them?

    And, maybe they would have been worth less had the company not been bought by News Corp.?

    Who knows?

    Did Ms. Childress know Wireless Gen was being sold to News Corp and still sell her stock for $1.33? If so, then one can give her credit and maybe question why she was teaching at Harvard Business School, as it doesn’t sound like good financial management.

    But without a timeline and dates for all these stock options and buying and selling – your information here is selectively presented and misleadingly generous to Ms. Childress.

    Maybe her $1.33 was the best deal offered and the best deal she thought she could get? Who knew King Murdoch was lurking?

    Maybe only Mr. Klein.

  2. phillipmarowe

    Let’s be clear, Childress will be able to put food on the table while working at the Gates Foundation and in the future but, still, that’s a lot of money to pass on in order to take a job where you think you can have social impact.

    I will genuflect to her selfishness.

  3. Janis

    “she taught a Wireless Gen case in her course at Harvard Business School”

    Would that be the Montgomery County Public Schools – Wireless Generation secret no bid deal where Montgomery County taxpayers invested $500,000 in WG but lost their shirts?

    Childress also co-authored a book about the Montgomery County Public Schools, but it was never disclosed to the public that she was also on the Board of Wireless Generation, a vendor receiving about half a million dollars a year from the school system (in addition to $500,000 investment in company).

    http://parentscoalitionmc.blogspot.com/2009/11/ask-congress-about-mcps-investiment-in.html

    http://parentscoalitionmc.blogspot.com/2009/11/ask-congress-about-mcps-investiment-in.html

  4. kishan-----TRUE EDUCATION IS THE BEST CHARITY AND PROFESSION ALSO

    SUB: TRUE EDUCATION IS THE BEST CHARITY AND PROFESSION ALSO

    IN SCHOOLS / SOCITIES SAYS DONOT FIGHT & BOOKS OF GOD SAYS FIGHT & INSPIRE OTHERS TO FIGHT.

    WHY PEOPLE DONOT WANT TO GIVE TRUE EDUCATION ARE THEY BAD THEN ANIMALS’. I DONOT KNOW HOW THEY THINKS THEIRSELVES EVEN AS A HUMAN BEING.

    WAY TO ONLY TRUTH EDUCATION

    After finishing the EDUCATION doesn’t Marry & become A SAINTS’ to avoid all diseases & All corruptions.***** WHY TO MARRY & WHY A CHILD OR A MALE CHILD TO BE KILLED / SLAUGHTERED IN THIS ANIMALS’ WORLD???***BY THIS, THE CHILDREN WHO WILL MARRY AND WHO WILL NOT MARRY BOTH / EVERYBODY WILL HAVE FULL OF KNOWLEDGE from Schools / Childhood >>>>> Educate a CHILD always, how to follow TRUTH, So many stories are there. IF A CHILD HAS MIND OR SENSIBILITY TO THINK BECOME A BEST DOCTOR / SCIENTISTS TO SAVE HUMANS’ OR THINK ON TRUTH ONLY.

    NEXT STEP WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY KNOWN BY CHILDREN / EVERYBODY, IF THEY THINK ON TRUTH.

    IF YOU ASK FROM PEOPLE WHO TELLS ABOUT GOD, WILL TELL YOU SOME WORDS AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL TELL YOU FRASES & START SINGING OF SONGS. THEY WILL NOT TELL YOU ANY THING STRAIGHT WAY THAT GOD IS LITRATE WORD FOR CRIME AND CRIMINAL IS COMMON WORD.

    HOW PEOPLE CAN CONVERT BAD TO GOOD BY SINGING A SONG OR BY TAKING BATH IN GANGA RIVER / KUMBH.

    Learn from animals’ / dead bodies / WORLD to discuss as doctors’ learn to save humans and scientists’ learn for developments & safety.
    KISHAN JALAN, INDIA:-0651-2200166 &033-22597321-09831822701

  5. kishan-----TRUE EDUCATION IS THE BEST CHARITY AND PROFESSION ALSO

    IF YOU CAN THINK ON TRUTH FOR ANYTHING
    YOU WILL KNOW ALL THE TRUTH OF EVERYTHING

    1st Part of education is study or reading, 2nd most important part is research & thinking and 3rd Part is the way to success by practical application / discussion / exploration of good views and defends from bad work.

    DEVELOP YOUR OWN MIND AND THINK ON TRUTH
    WHAT IS THE MEANING OR DEFINITION OF
    EASY AND DIFFICULT
    WHAT YOU KNOW IS EASY FOR YOU
    AND WHAT YOU DONOT KNOW IS DIFFICULT FOR YOU OR STILL TO KNOW
    NOTHING IS DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE, YOU HAVE TO THINK
    “THIS IS LIFE SCIENCES”

    If you / we success on 1st step, we will easily know the next step and like this we will reach to the top Having the positive attitude by moving forward in positive way.

    BASIC DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HISTORY AND SCIENCE
    HISTORY IS THE PAST STORIES WHICH CANNOT BE CHANGED
    SCIENCE IS LIFE LONG LEARNING PROCESS TO IMPROVE UNLIMITED

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CRIMINALS
    TERRIORIST / NAXALITES / MAOWADI ETC. AND
    WHY ARE THEY>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    CHILDREN AND EVERYBODY SHOULD KNOW EVERYTHING
    FROM SCHOOLS / CHILDHOOD

    FROM: KISHAN JALAN, INDIA 0651—2200166 / 3279 & 033—22597321 / 7429 & +91 98318 22701

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


5 × = twenty