Letting The Sun Shine In

Our local ‘sun‘ company is in the news. ICP Solar, the Montreal solar panels manufacturer, is going public. ICP Solar is involved in R&D, manufacturing, marketing and sales of leading-edge solar energy products. Its solar panels and accessories are widely used in consumer, construction and OEM markets. Going public would not normally have been sufficient reason for a mention here, but Sass Peress, ICP Solar’s CEO, also provides a good example of how a blog can increase your company’s visibility in this modern age. This modern age is of course the age of the Internet.

His latest post points to a rather surprising initiative championed by another CEO blogger in another ‘sun‘ company. The initiative is surprising only because you would have thought it would be quite unnecessary. That other CEO blogger is Jonathan Schwartz, of Sun Microsystems. He was one of the first CEO business bloggers since his first post is dated Monday June 28, 2004. In a very recent post, Schwartz is pushing for the blog as a valid way of providing information to the public on corporate matters.

Apparently the concern is one of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulations known as “Reg FD“. This is short for Regulation Fair Disclosure, which attempts to ensure no one audience gets preferential access to material non-public information. It’s a great concept, designed to prevent selective disclosure, or actions that might advantage one investor over another. Given the variety of ways anyone can stay aware of breaking news on the blogosphere, this should not really be a concern. Through news feeds or with blog search (Google variety or otherwise), news items are highly visible within an hour of them being issued.

If Reg FD is a concern, then possibly the burden of proof should be on the traditional media to show that they are as efficient as the blogosphere in ensuring non-preferential disclosure particularly in a timely manner. Schwartz mentions that the SEC now has a like-minded Chairman, Christopher Cox. Hopefully the powers that be will recognize the realities of life in the Internet age.

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