Composing Effective Questions

July 13th, 2008 by · 3 Comments

Earnings season begins soon, and at all public telecoms and internet infrastructure companies we will of course have the obligatory conference calls at which analysts will ask their usual questions.  But in my humble opinion (are bloggers allowed to claim a humble opinion? LOL), most such questions are overly pedantic and do not elicit useful responses.  Now that I have a blog and, hence, a voice that might actually be heard, I want to try to do something more than grumble about it. 

Therefore, I’m going to compose a few questions, and maybe with some help from readers we can hone them into real tools.  First, however, we need to define what we want to achieve by asking them.  My feeling is that a good question is one that provokes an informative response — simple enough, right?  Well, simple to say but not so simple to do.  But at least we can avoid such counterproductive strategies as expressing frustration (understandable perhaps, but not useful), asking for information we know won’t be given (sort of like dodgeball but with balloons), or asking for ‘more color’ on questions that have already been dodged.

So, my thought is to start with questions for the companies I know best which will have CC’s: the nextgen carriers Level 3, TW Telecom, Global Crossing, and Cogent. Of course, XO doesn’t take questions, so no sense bothering there.  For each I will compose a question, and I invite readers to critique it, modify it, or compose questions of their own to discuss, etc.  And when the time comes, perhaps we can find someone to ask them.  Who knows, perhaps the companies themselves will take the hint in advance.  I’ll compose the first question for tomorrow.

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Categories: Financials · Internet Backbones

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3 Comments So Far

  • carlk says:

    Let’s forget the “color” nonsense by boring, uppity, analysts showing off their intellectual prowess, and cut to the chase!

    I want Jim Crowe to identify the status of Bear Raids occuring for some six years now, and opine about his view about fair valuation for his company’s stock which he had done so many times during more dark periods.

    Since Staley Cates states that, he’s going to be looking to the management team’s ideas for where value lies, this is not an unreasonable question for all market participants to hear.

    So, Jim, over time you have commented on Bear Raids assualting your stock’s price. Additionally, you have always been publicly opinionated on the value of your stock, at the same time selling contrary to your words inclusive of recent activity. Also, Staley Cates says he’s looking to you for advice on value and exit strategies. Will you please share with us your views on these two points; Bear Raids and the Fair Value Price of your stock?

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