Short Lays on Greasy Voyages: Whaling and Venture Capital, with Jonas Peter Akins

Come participate in a presentation of the Harvard Business School case study on the American whaling industry, led by one of the authors.  The American whaling industry, born on Nantucket, was one of the first to address complex issues involving the allocation of capital, questions of syndication, organizational form, and ownership structure, and to find innovative solutions to the problems of incentives, team building, and principal-agent tradeoffs.  Whaling was one of the first industries in which American firms achieved global dominance and rates of return compare favorably to other available options.  Many of the lessons from this seemingly archaic industry are still applicable today and this case study has received wide coverage in the media, including a number of books and a feature article in The Economist.  

A copy of the case will be available beforehand and it is hoped that you might have a chance to read it before attending the presentation.

Jonas Peter Akins teaches history and government at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut.  Along with Professor Tom Nicholas, he is the author of Whaling Ventures, the Harvard Business School case study on the American whaling industry.


The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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