When the late Jack Stephens, co-founder of Stephens Inc., the Little Rock, Ark., investment bank, was chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, he asked my opinion of The Masters broadcast. Because I was a publisher, he thought I might know something about the advertising business, and as anyone who watches the tournament knows, only the final day gets live 18-hole coverage. Jack asked me if live coverage for more days would be better—the appeal, of course, was broadcast money. I wasn’t going to challenge Augusta tradition, and so I told him, “If it ain’t broke…” Jack responded in his trademark laconic style: “In business, scarcity is always preferable to abundance.”
Jeff Cunningham writes about leadership and business, boards and corporate governance. He is the founder of Directorship magazine and currently serves as managing director and senior advisor to NACD. Previously, he was president of the Internet venture firm CMGI, publisher of Forbes and managing partner of the U.K. private equity firm Schroders. He has served as an independent board chair or director of 10 public companies. The views expressed are his own.