Best in class: We've redefined the class to include us and people doing worse than us
Market leading: We're not going to say where to though
I was finishing up a few things in the office well after 6.00pm when I got a call from one of our clients, a well-known OEM and off-the-page seller whom I visited twice a year and who readily accepted and acted on advice and ideas. He was due to meet his bank manager the following morning with draft annual results which would …
Long term [anything] = We will make a stab in the dark and pray that mother luck shines on us.
Mid term strategy : Someone came up with an almost feasible idea during one of our 4 hour meetings and we will give the project to a Junior in order that he prepares a long winded report detailing the possible microscopic chance of actually succeeding. It should shut him and the Regional Manager up for a month of two.
Short term strategy : Were panicking to find a solution, so a hurried response is all that is available.
Temporary Solution : Fuck we didnt think about that, so here is a hopeless solution in order to tide things over until the shit really hits the fan.
QBR ( Quarterly Business Report): A large PPT files containing lots of lies that will hopefully discourage the regional CIO from poking his nose into local business.
Future Business Prospects : The chance to have an all expenses paid lunch with people of a similar standing.
[Anyone notice the rather negative tone.......... welcome to the corporate world ]
"Eddie Pacey is a 35-year veteran of the credit industry, spending more than 20 years running the credit function in IT distribution. He is now managing director at channel consultancy EP Credit Management."
Twenty years to execute one function call? There's probably some hefty data in there, but that right there is a candidate for optimisation.
Something I see all the time as an analyst
"After these workforce adjustments we are focusing on market1, market2, and market3"
We laid off people in these three markets because we put no R&D in them. We hope to throw you off the track by pretending these three gashing head wounds are really healthy.
Timing is excellent here as the masters of subterfuge (Cisco) just posted some of this flowery English.
"we anticipate incurring additional debt to refinance our maturing bonds and enhance our domestic cash balances " - > We've got lots of cash, but just not in the US.
"ongoing commitment of returning cash to shareholders" -> Well, you didnt expect us to use this money on our employees, did you?
Tee hee! Thanks for this one: "Non-core business" (Areas we’ve failed in)
I've always liked 'we plan to execute on this area going forward'. As it basically means 'we've run this area like drunken chimps for the last year or two, but have now shouted at the regional manager / vice president in question, in hopes that the useless spanner will pull his finger out next year.'
'Our customers are important to us' - which means "hand over the money scumbags!"
'We continue to invest in our people' means - "Right John. Hire another 1,000 monkeys on minimum wage. I'm just off to treasury to bung another nought on the end of our bonuses."
"We have a 45% customer retention policy." *That was EXPRESSED to me as official policy in 2000 and I am no longer an employee and am NOT making a statement that's their current policy (lol but that's legally covering myself).
=We don't give a crap if we lose over half our customers every year.
Said employee scratches his head and walks away wondering (silently, for once) "WTF they WANT to lose all their customers? they effectively discourage word-of-mouth advertising and never use the media..."
You can get away with much obfuscation if it's expressed graphically: due to a file-naming error in a script one business I worked with used the same dataset for some trend graphs in a major part of its published quarterly financials for a year and nobody noticed. It was only failure of the script when the year rolled-over that highlighted the issue.
Disclosure rules meant that their next quarterly made glib mention of "rendering inconsistencies".
Long-term goals - Wildly optimistic goals and outright faff we lifted from David Brin/Stephen Fry in an attempt to appear as if we can predict the future. Presented secure in the knowledge that by the time they are proven wrong a different board will be in place to take the blame for not delivering the promised rosy future.
Strategic product - We like it, We think it's the best. It doesn't make any money but we're going to keep pouring money into it.
Non-strategic - er, it works, we don't like it. It's not cool but it makes us loads of cash.
Architectural presentation - What you do when you have no product - usually because the developers are still trying to keep up with your fast moving feature list.
Just love the cash burn rate...shareholders wild commitment (will it last)...blind faith in future earnings and key assumptions (in uncertain markets) and going concern assessments. Oh, carries a Company Watch score of 2 - (hindsight in advance). A score of 25 or less is considered high risk. Requires faith in large measures.
It's that most of them were put together by numberblind monkeys.
This is the reason the big 4 have departments that specialise in correcting the accounts before they get signed.
If they do manage to add up? They can't spell (nor can I after half a brick of cider... ) a certain large former building society used to spell mortgage without a t....
For those who have never had the joy of reading a glossy annual report here is a brief run down...
<cynic> Chairmans statement: utter fiction about how good the company is.
Financial review - repeats the back half in words of one syllable for the analysts
Directors report- doesnt tell you anything you need to know - but keeps companies house happy.
Strategic report - This in theory gives you an idea of how the company is doing, however it usually contradicts itself.
The financial statements - tells you how the company did and how likely it will still be in business next year. Pity the numbers wont agree between the notes and the primary statements.
I'm sure this is all, true, but isn't it a response to what must be the most panicky set of creatures this side of a herd of antelope unfortunately dropped off in the lion enclosure at Longleat - investors and market analysts? It seems that the slightest whiff of truth and clarity will send this bunch running for the hills at a rate only previously seen in paranoid cheetahs on crack. They are about as stable as a pyramid balanced on an apex, and the the only consistency they show is the ability to blindly panic when shown anything that doesn't match the impossible dream of endless growth.
Seriously, given that companies have to work within this ecosystem, do you blame them for adapting so as to maximise survival?
Eddie, I'm sure remains the eternal optimist....just sees the fun in reading reports and having a laugh at the all to frequent singularly ugly and verbose attachments to financial statements. Trouble is, if you're publicly listed, you have to find a way of saying things that will appease or at least calm those with vested interest. You cannot afford to touch on the negatives for long.
My current favourite (well for the last 4 years has been the inclusion of 'despite the macro-economic conditions/uncertainty and industry specific headwinds' -wow those last three words can hide a multitude of sins.
The industry confusion of 'transparent' and 'invisible' about 13 years ago. Thus we had our management at Harry and David telling us to make sure that the software change was transparent to the customer--indeedy it was. Fortunately they hadn't told us to make it invisible. As it was, they knew the company and IT screwed up (IT wasn't given any testing time).