Another interesting article in this issue is from James Surowiecki, where he ties high risk behavior from hedge fund managers and many corporate executives to their incentive schemes. Hedge Fund managers make a lot of money when they raise the value of their funds, but their downside risk is much more limited. At worst they make less in a down year, but one good year followed by an equally bad year still nets them a lot on the ride up. CEO's with lots of stock options with a fixed strike price also have an incentive to take huge risks because their options are worthless no matter how far below the strike price the company's stock is at. It's also one reason I think so many startups shoot for the fences and a quick payoff/sellout rather than trying to build a lasting business.