Queueing to ask Questions

We had a couple of services minders to help us understand the value of the questions. I have to say that volume is often a good guide, and we may have buried some good/important questions, but John Greaves and Ian White asked people to use the floor mics, and some good questions came in. This re-inforces the fact that many services staff do not have company laptops or mobiles.

Actually I am not happy with this; our experience is that many questions from the floor are self indulgent and of, at the best, minority interest. Have you noticed how they always introduce themselves? Actually the ones I hate are ,

"Hi, my name is xxxxxx xxxxxxx, I agree with everything you say, please could you say some more"

and my second most resented quesion is,

"Hey dude! What are you doing about the stock price?"

The best answer to this that I have heard is,

"What are you doing? I have stopped selling it!"

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Comments:

On the stock price question, I tend to say "I've stopped listening to analysts, and started thinking".

I had a bit of an epiphany, a couple of years back, when two events happened. First, Shell posted the single largest profit in British corporate history - however it was less than the analysts predicted it would be, so the stock bombed. Second, Google grew by "only" 38 percent year-on-year, which was less than the analysts predicted, so the stock bombed.

Also, from personal experience, I had a major spread-portfolio flutter on the stock market a few years back; I bought in, the day that war was declared on Iraq. My accountant thought I was crazy. Over the course of the year, I reckon I made 15 percent clear profit after tax.

The value of a company's stock is, therefore, far more closely correlated with what analysts think, than with how well the company is actually doing. Stop listening, start thinking.

Posted by Dave Walker on October 17, 2007 at 07:15 PM PDT #

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