Apple had a brilliant last quarter, ahead of last year’s, but not quite up to the analysts’ “expectations.” By any empirical measure, Apple is a phenomenon, innovative beyond the death of its founder, with giant cash reserves, and huge profit margins, a global player making deep inroads in the China market.
But the “analysts” were disappointed because their arbitrary goals weren’t quite met. (Apple stock slightly declined that day, but then went up significantly the next day, obviously from investors taking advantage of the slight dip.)
As consultants, we have to agree with our buyers about what’s reasonable and expected in terms of project goals. We need metrics to both measure progress AND validate that our contribution is making the difference. We also must stipulate the value of achieving the new levels of performance, so that our fees demonstrate a significant ROI.
Don’t allow anyone else—from accounting, procurement, HR, or the owner’s family if a small business—to become the “analyst” making independent and arbitrary conclusions about performance. That’s between you and the buyer, as partners in the project.
I bought Apple stock at $17. “Experts” told me they were a niche player; that they were lucky; that too much of my portfolio was in technology; that Apple wouldn’t be a player without Steve Jobs. I ignored them all, because I use their products and have known people who have worked there. I know they’re the best, both products and people. I’d guess my portfolio is far larger than most of the “analysts.” So is my income.
March to your own drummer. Just make sure you buyer shares the beat. Ignore the critics who claim the music should be different but who can’t play an instrument.
© Alan Weiss 2014