Now that I’ve been on several official boards of advisors for a few years I can report: boards of advisors are almost never asked to give advice, though they do sometimes offer it anyway. But boards of advisors are usually "boarded", i.e., paid something.
NewsFutures Scientific Advisory Board
It has disappeared into cyberspace.- No more Robin Hanson.- No more Justin Wolfers.-APPENDIX:- Robin Hanson is now Chief Scientist of Consensus Point.- Emile Servan-Schreiber didnt like that too much, for some reason.- Robin Hanson has ex...
PREDICTION MARKETS: Robin Hanson Justin Wolfers
I have been chatting with a prediction market practitioner (I wont tell you who, and no, its not whom you think about) shooting the breeze, and talking about the current state of the prediction market industry taking about t...
Some boards advise over organizations that have separate sections that compete with each other for funding and approval from the group as a whole, with the leaders of the competing groups being codirectors of the organization. In such cases, sometimes such boards actually make decisions regarding which group is to get the goodies over which other group.
Michael, good to hear of your exception - I wonder how common that is.
Richard, it varies.
Chris, there is almost always the appearance of listening.
"boards of advisors are almost never asked to give advice, though they do sometimes offer it anyway."-And when the advisors do "offer" advice, are they listened to?-
Do you pay the advisors in stock, Michael?
Are you usually paid in stock, Robin?
I am a co-founder of a company and several of our advisers really do advise in one case extensively. So do large investors who aren't on our board. To a non-trivial degree in B2B one needs to know, for instance, industry jargon and the connotations of last years fashions in industry jargon. This information is worth paying for and we pay for it as much as or more than the prestige of our advisers, not to mention their personal connections, advice on pricing, etc.
Heh, I thought this was pretty universally understood. I once asked a very successful entrepreneur why he would invite certain academics on the board of a fledgling company, and he replied something to the effect of: "They lend credibility".
However, I thought it was pretty common for distinguished academics to be invited on to boards of directors, not just advisors.
Perhaps the advisors would need some power over the advised. Could the board realistically be given powers such as a veto? Could the advisory board remain fairly independent?
While I agree that boards of advisors probably give little advice and a lot more prestige to an organization, I think you need to combine your two thoughts:
"Our combination of wealth and smarts is enough that these prestigious people will associate with us."
Now for that organization you turned down, you were probably maximizing your income by doing so, and I think others would do the same*. How many other invitations would you receive after associating with clueless people?
(This is reminding me of a discussion of women’s mating value with relation to promiscuity, you don't want to be a board slut.)
*People maximize utility not income, and while it’s possible that your mental suffering caused by being on a board with idiots would have no price, I would think that something in the range of $10^x would change your mind, if only so that the idiots couldn’t be spending it themselves.
You have no idea what you are missing. You shouldn't turn down offers for being on the board. It's not about the money. It's the calendars.
"Miss June's Tatyana Yakubovich, adviser to the chairman of the board"