From the NASDAQ Stock Market’s inaugural annual report in 2002
“Great ideas are inherently powerful. Each of NASDAQ’s 4,100 listed companies derives its power from a core idea—a better way to fill a need, solve a problem or do something more efficiently.
“The powerful idea driving NASDAQ itself is that by operating the world’s largest, fastest, fairest, most efficient, open and transparent stock market, we can represent and amplify the collective energies of our companies, which include many of the most vibrant, creative and essential companies on earth.
“NASDAQ companies range from household names like Microsoft, Dell, Amgen and Starbucks to thousands of less well-known companies aspiring to be the household names of tomorrow. At the same time, NASDAQ helps to energize untold numbers of entrepreneurs and private businesses that dream of going public one day.
“President Jiang Zemin of the People’s Republic of China called NASDAQ “the crown jewel of all that is great about America.” He and other foreign leaders view NASDAQ as the model stock market for nations that want to spur innovation, prosperity and growth of their own.
“As, indeed, we are.”
“…That’s an old story, and I apologize to those of you who’ve heard it before—but let me tell you a much older story that you may not have heard. In the first century B.C., the great Roman statesman, Cicero, sent his son away to school in Athens. Pretty soon, reports came back that Cicero Jr. was not living up to his father’s academic standards. However, in the areas of drinking and carousing, he was a star. Cicero wrote his son a lengthy letter that became what classics scholars know as On Duties. It’s a very perceptive document that gets right to the heart of issues we still encounter every day.
“Here’s a hypothetical situation that Cicero writes about: The city of Rhodes is suffering from a severe famine. A certain ship owner – a businessman of good repute – sails into port from Alexandria, his holds full of grain. `Thank God,’ say the people of Rhodes. `Let’s eat!’
“Now, this shipper knows – as the townsfolk do not—that several other ships of grain set sail for Rhodes at the same time his did. His boat just got there faster. By not telling the Rhodians, he obviously will get more money for his cargo. Whereas, if he spills the beans, he’ll drive down prices immediately.
The shipper doesn’t need to tell a single lie to make a killing; all he has to do is keep his mouth shut.
“So let’s ask ourselves three things: Is it reasonable business practice for this shipper to maximize his profit? Is it ethical? And how do you think the most successful business people today would respond?…”
From an article on speech writing in PR Strategist Magazine:
“An accomplished orator I know sometimes begins a speech like this: `Over the years, I’ve learned that a good speech begins with a strong, compelling introduction and ends with a strong, compelling ending—with the two coming as close together as possible. So in conclusion…’
“He invariably gets a nice laugh. Audiences are predisposed to sympathize with anyone who must deliver a formal speech. It is a task that horrifies schoolchildren when they’re forced to compete on Prize Speaking Day. It continues to horrify 35 or 40 years later when someone graduates to a position of real prominence, becoming, say, chief executive officer of a major corporation.
“Speech writing and speech giving are often among the last concerns of corporate communications departments, taking a backseat not just to media relations but to advertising, electronic media and various other activities that the CEO finds less distasteful. This is backwards. Speeches ought to be among the first concerns.”