Analysts – What’s wrong with those people?

You know, as an employee of a publicly traded company you’re constantly being told you need to do better to support reaching the company’s financial goals, in order to satisfy the analysts’ demands.

I’m starting to believe (hah!) that’s not such a good idea. I’ve always been a sceptic, but what I read in today’s Handelsblatt is the best confirmation so far:

“Now, SAP seems to be focusing on innovations again, which costs a lot on money and diminishes the operative margins. (Original article in German)”

Are you kidding me? You’d rather have us deliver the same-old same-old and fire development, so that margins go up?

If you want a look into the kind of future that this kind of thinking might create, I suggest you read Douglas Adams’s “The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe“:

“Thank you. Since we decided a few weeks ago to adopt the leaf as
legal tender, we have, of course, all become immensely rich.”

Ford stared in disbelief at the crowd who were murmuring
appreciatively at this and greedily fingering the wads of leaves
with which their track suits were stuffed.

“But we have also,” continued the Management Consultant, “run
into a small inflation problem on account of the high level of
leaf availability, which means that, I gather, the current going
rate has something like three deciduous forests buying one ship’s
peanut.”

Murmurs of alarm came from the crowd. The Management Consultant
waved them down.

“So in order to obviate this problem,” he continued, “and
effectively revaluate the leaf, we are about to embark on a
massive defoliation campaign, and … er, burn down all the
forests. I think you’ll all agree that’s a sensible move under
the circumstances.”

The crowd seemed a little uncertain about this for a second or
two until someone pointed out how much this would increase the
value of the leaves in their pockets whereupon they let out
whoops of delight and gave the Management Consultant a standing
ovation. The accountants amongst them looked forward to a
profitable Autumn.

“You’re all mad,” explained Ford Prefect.

“You’re absolutely barmy,” he suggested.

“You’re a bunch of raving nutters,” he opined.

Couldn’t say it any better, I suppose.

(#disclaimer: I speak for myself here, which should be obvious. But looking at the possible audience, I’d better make it extra clear.)

The worlds most valuable corporation

No, neither Microsoft nor Google.

Today, it was VW.

How did that happen?

” Frankfurt – A shortage of shares in Volkswagen drove the stock price so high Tuesday that the German carmaker was theoretically the world’s most valuable corporation.

If every voting share in Volkswagen had been worth 1,005 euros (1,257 dollars), the top price of the day on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the entire car company would have been worth more than US oil firm ExxonMobil, which is valued at about 334 billion dollars.

[…]

Speculators who had expected the Volkswagen share price to fall were caught unprepared when they sold the stock short.

Short sellers are investors who typically borrow shares and immediately sell them in the stock market at a high price, in the belief that they can purchase identical shares at a lower price at a later date and return them to the lender.

Market sources said 12 to 15 per cent of Volkswagen shares had been subject to short-selling contracts, although less than 6 per cent of the company’s shares were believed to be in free float. “

Next time I hear somebody talk about how the stock market reflects companies’ positions in the market, I’ll laugh in their face. Betting on horses is a more respectable business, if you ask me.

And this is what determines the safety of our jobs.

We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?