Three Laws of (Robotic) Board Members

Originally posted April 3, 2014 as a LinkedIn post.

Just started reading a great new book this morning – Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors, by Brad Feld and Mahendra Ramsinghani.

Their discussion on board member obligations around duty of care and duty of loyalty reminded me so much of Isaac Asimov’s classic Three Laws of Robotics that I thought I would posit … the Three Laws of (Robotic) Board Members:

  1. A Board Member may not injure their CEO or, through inaction, allow their CEO to come to harm.
  2. A Board Member must obey the orders given to it by the Chair, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A Board Member must not neglect their own vested interests and must defend fellow Board Members vested interests unless it is interfering with the first or second rule.

And of course there also needs to be the prequel, the Zeroth Law:

  • A Board Member may not harm Company Stakeholders, or, by inaction, allow Company Stakeholders to come to harm.

Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto [1]


[1] Future posts will cover my belief that most of what you need to know in business can be learned from 70’s classic rock and 80’s hair metal, like this great song from Styx. When ROCK and WORK collide you get WROK.

I wanna wrok!