Other People's Money (OPM)

Other People’s Money is often too easy to spend and demands ever greater levels of stewardship...

Design Principles:

  • Build shared risk into funding – when you spend OPM+, you also spend your own resources. Align self-interest with shared-interests
  • Independent evaluation+ is crucial – if for no other reason than perceptions
  • Build self-funding and third party-funding into R&D, bringing third parties into discussions whenever possible
  • Tear down the walls – knowledge can be good or bad regardless of its source. Encourage knowledge bartering with third parties. Don’t allow new money to be spent on old knowledge


  • The temptation is often great to use OPM to advance one’s personal goals, using  tit for tat, insider trading, collusion, etc.
  • Individuals with OPM often use it to fund arguments for their greater share of future OPM
  • It’s too easy to delude yourself into thinking you are acting in the best interests of others when using OPM


The directors of such companies, however, being the managers rather of other people's money+ than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private [firm] frequently watch over their own Smith, Adam (1776). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

I take from the rich and give to the middle class. Well, the upper middle class. Danny DeVito, as "Larry The Liquidator" Garfield in Other People’s Money+


Further Reading