By Kokileswar Bhattacharyya

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The estimated total value of Chambers’s stock and options at that time was a stunning \$566 million. Whether this is good or bad is something that experts may agonize about, but the indisputable fact is that Cisco has been fantastically successful, due in large part to Chambers, and the gains at the top have trickled down, at least to the company’s managers. Cisco uses stock options extensively at the management level, and its employees recently held a collective total of nearly 440 million outstanding options.

That is the indexed stock option, which has no value unless the company’s stock outperforms a designated peer group or market index. Unlike NSOs or ISOs, whose value depends on a rising stock price, the value of indexed options is pegged to a preset index. In a rising market, the standard is a high one. But in a declining market, an optionaire can still cash in, as long as the company’s decline is less steep than that of its peers. The difference in payouts can be dramatic. Take the case of a 1,000-share options grant at \$10 per share that is tied to the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

You can also hold onto the stock, and wait for the price to go higher. Be aware, however, that what goes up can also go down, putting you at risk of wiping out your gain. Here’s an example: Suppose you received options in 1995 at a grant price, or exercise price, of \$10 a share. By 1998, the stock price of your company is \$20 a share. If you exercise your options at this price, you realize a \$10-per-share gross gain. This is the market price of \$20 minus your \$10-per-share grant price. Your final profit will be this number minus taxes and fees.

### An Introduction to Adwaita Philosophy by Kokileswar Bhattacharyya

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