Tag Archive: Martha Stewart


“The best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores.”– Legendary Marquette Basketball Coach Al McGuire

What strategies can American colleges and universities employ to ensure that more freshmen do indeed become sophomores?

Consider the question this way: The late Intel President and CEO Andy Grove wrote about strategic inflection points in his 1996 best seller, “Only The Paranoid Survive.”

There are a few strategic inflection points in everyone’s life.

Get them right, and life may be a good thing as Martha would say.

Get them wrong, and life may end up simply running out the clock of life drinking PBRs in a dive bar.

What Almost DailyBrett is talking about are those poor souls who fall by the wayside may be directly attributable to the failure to make the transition from the freshman to sophomore year in college.

Based upon the experience of your professor author — more times than naught — is once a student takes time off after the frosh year to take a job, the overwhelming chances are the student never comes back to college.

Worse yet the student may have already incurred an educational loan, ending up with the double whammy of zero degree and crushing debt on the books.

Life is off to a miserable start, and it may only get worse.

Are these former students prepared for the demands of our service-oriented, digital, coding-dominated workforce? You know the answer.

Are they one “bad day” from being unemployed … yet again?

Forget about discretionary income to invest in stocks, bonds and mutual funds, these lowly sods are living pay check-to-pay check.

Sure there are examples of early college drop-outs – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg – who become billionaires, but how many reach the Three-Comma-Club anyway?

Grooving With A High School Diploma

“If you think education is expensive; try the cost of ignorance.” – Former Harvard President Derek Bok

The numbers may be a tad outdated, but the story is still the same.

Pew Research reported in 2014 a startling gap between those who attain a BA/BS degree (let alone a master’s or Ph.D), and those with only a high school diploma.

The percentage of those with a bachelor’s degree in poverty three years ago was 5.8 percent; the percentage of those with a lowly high school diploma in poverty was 21.8 percent or more than one-in-five.

The college grad made on the average $45,500 per year; the high school diploma holder, $28,000 … a $17,500 per year delta. Multiply a $17,500 gap (which most likely will grow exponentially) by a 40-year career and the gulf reaches $700,000.

What does the $700,000 (at least) gulf mean?

This staggering number translates into the college graduate having discretionary income to invest in markets. Since the depth of the 2009 recession, the S&P 500 is up 270 percent. For 2017, the Dow Jones has increased 22.2 percent, the benchmark S&P has climbed 17.4 percent.

Many ponder, pontificate and bloviate about the growing economic separation between those who succeed in our interconnected, digital, service-oriented economy. Pew provides insights into the gap between those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree (about 29 percent of Americans) and those who don’t.

Colleges and universities are rightfully attuned to the percentage of entering freshmen, who graduate within the next five years.

Almost DailyBrett is asking a different question:

If many would-be sophomores are dropping out and co-signing themselves to a meager life (maybe even poverty), including one-bad-day-away from being unemployed, shouldn’t we be more concerned about freshmen retention?

Let’s review the U.S. News & World Report records for freshmen retention of four universities of particular interest to Almost DailyBrett:

  • University of Southern California, 96 percent freshman retention to sophomore year (BA degree in Broadcasting Journalism, 1978).
  • University of Oregon, 87 percent freshman retention rate (MA in Communications and Society, 2012).
  • Arizona State University, 86 percent freshman retention rate (Offered Ph.D Fellowship).
  • Central Washington University, 77 percent freshman retention rate (Presently employed as an Assistant Professor).

Some loss of frosh students because of plain, old life, and that is to be expected.

Losing 10 percent-to-20 percent or more of a freshman class should set off alarm bells.

Will these lost students be tomorrow’s poverty dwellers?

That may sound extreme, but then again it may not.

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/freshmen-least-most-likely-return

https://www.payscale.com/career-news/2014/07/fewer-freshman-college-students-returning-for-sophomore-year

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/11/19/u_s_college_dropouts_rates_explained_in_4_charts.html

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/562419

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/running-out-the-clock/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/the-role-of-college-in-exacerbating-economic-inequality/

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/02/stocks-are-high-but-investor-numbers-are-low.html

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/central-washington-university-3771

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/asu-1081

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When it comes to purchasing a time share, “investing” in an annuity or signing up for a reverse mortgage, please follow these simple, straightforward instructions:

Take a deep breath. Bend over. Grab your ankles.

In all three cases, someone is making plenty of money – without creating any value – at your personal expense. Of course, isn’t that the idea from a salesperson’s point of view?

Almost DailyBrett will gladly admit not being an expert about any of these someone-else-getting-rich schemes other to say, the more your author reads about them, the more he is convinced that commissioned sales dudes or sales dudettes — those reaping huge commissions, charging high annual fees, and serving as loan sharks — are the real winners.

Think about how many in-person pitches you receive on vacation about attending a “free” time-share presentation? Their mission is to get butts in seats and money out of wallets.

Ponder how many ads run on CNBC for guaranteed-income annuities? What the heck is an annuity? You really don’t want to know.

Consider how many commercials starring Hollywood has-beens (e.g., Henry Winkler), extol the virtues of reverse mortgages. Why not sell your house and rent, if you can’t afford the mortgage?

There are entire industries devoted to marketing and selling these undesirable money losers for you that do nothing more and nothing less than tying up your hard-earned money with difficult, if not impossible, escape hatches.

Do you really want to vacation in the exact same place this year and every year? There are 40-60 percent markups for timeshares, which never-ever appreciate in value.

Are these inconvenient facts mentioned by snazzy dressed timeshare snake-oil salesmen/saleswomen? Timeshares remind one of driving a new car off the dealer’s parking lot; you now own a used car (declining in value timeshare) that is extremely difficult to sell with high maintenance fees.

How many once excited folks simply give away their time shares? Someone won in this transaction and someone lost: The timeshare purchaser.

Ready to pay annual 3-4 percent fees for an annuity that was sold to you by a high-commissioned salesperson? How about “surrender” payments, if you change your mind? Is your money tied up for life with an annuity? Ready to wave the white flag?

Can’t one factor-in monthly Social Security payments, and then supplement this amount with your IRA or 401K retirement nest egg? Are you really going to starve to death without an annuity?

Just think about it, instead of paying a mortgage to build equity and gain from inevitable future appreciation in the real estate market, you can instead say goodbye to your equity increases and pay loan fees to a bank, thus depriving your heirs of inherited property.

Does that sound swell to you?

How Can You Beat the Salesperson?

The easy answer is not just saying “no”, but saying “puck no.”

Where are timeshare resorts located? Beachy tropical places or arid desert resorts.

Are surf and turf the only places for vacations? How about the castles and gardens of Europe? If you must have the tropics or the deserts, why not capitalize on another person’s timeshare misery, and utilize that suffering soul’s unit for a fraction of the cost, and no commitment? You can go somewhere else the following year.

Far too many worry about their money running out before they run out, which is a legitimate concern. That’s also the reason why so many annuity and reverse mortgage sharks prey on retirees. Do you really need to tie up your retirement income for life, and pay annual fees to have your own money doled back to you in digestible monthly increments?

Who thinks giving free rein to your money for a fee to an annuity firm is a good idea?

Why not devise a budget, which includes your monthly Social Security pay out, your retirement nest egg and (if applicable) your house, and figure how to manage your money for your own personal benefit and your family too, and not for someone else’s pocket?

And speaking about your house if you can, keep your terra firma in your control. The idea of having a roof over your head ideally without a bothersome mortgage or an aggravating rent to pay to a demanding landlord is a “good thing” in the words of Martha Stewart.

If the editor of Almost DailyBrett was king, we would bid adieu to timeshares, annuities and reverse mortgages. Think of the age-old adage: If something sounds too good to be true, don’t you think that is exactly the case?

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/timeshares-bad-investment-14751.html

http://time.com/money/4322377/retirement-incom-annuities-reasons/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/feeonlyplanner/2015/07/15/annuities-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/#5e453ada7990

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2012/12/11/5-reasons-to-avoid-a-reverse-mortgage

“Sometimes the most obvious question is the question. In Enron’s case: How do you make money?” — Fortune Magazine Reporter Bethany McLean.

bethany-mcleanx140

The simple answer was Enron wasn’t making money; the company was losing money hand-over-fist.

Enron was hiding these massive losses from regulators, investors, suppliers, partners and most of all, its own massively investing-in-Enron-stock employees.

Still investors poured billions into Enron simply because the stock was going up big time. The majority had no idea about how Enron made money in its energy, bandwidth and weather (go figure) trading schemes and didn’t seem to care because the stock was skyrocketing. As Martha would say: “It (was) a good thing.” Yep, a good thing until the house of cards came tumbling down in a 2001 bankruptcy filing, crashing and burning.

What was that about how does a company makes money?

As we head into the next round of hysteria as yet a third social media provider goes IPO (Initial Public Offering), this one, Twitter, under the ticker, TWTR, one needs to contemplate Bethany McLean’s most obvious of all questions.

twitterjackdorsey

How does Twitter make money?

How does LinkedIn make money?

How does Facebook make money?

How does J.C. Penne’ make money? Hint: It doesn’t.

This simple question needs to be posed to and answered by all publicly traded companies, whether they play in the new economy or the old economy.

The need to quickly, credibility and confidently answer this question, preferably in a brief elevator pitch, solidifies the need for well-trained and highly skilled corporate public relations, investor relations, crisis communications, brand and reputation management practitioners.

Teaching upper-division public relations courses, I would flash images of corporate logos up on the screen and ask students how Company A or Company B makes money.

In our quick media world — whether by conventional or digital means — the millennial digital native generation, more than any other that preceded it, has been bombarded incessantly on all sides by brands.

After initial hesitations, the students were quickly and enthusiastically recalling what the brand means in term of how a company makes money, and even “positioning” companies in their respective market spaces (e.g., BMW vs. VW: Nordstrom vs. Macy’s; Southwest vs. United). Starbucks and McDonald’s both sell upscale coffee. They now both offer drive-through windows. They are the same. Right? Wrong.

As mentioned before in Almost DailyBrett, LinkedIn and Facebook are both social media outlets. To Wall Street they couldn’t be more different.

LinkedIn debuted at $45 in 2011 and now trades at $245.13.linkedin_logo_11

Facebook went public at $38 in 2012 and now trades at $51.01.

zuckerberg

LinkedIn has been able to easily answer the how it makes money question (e.g., monetizes social media) by pointing to “connections,” premium services, advertising and the fact that LinkedIn is the choice for recruiters, job hunters, network builders and those seeking business leads.

Facebook is finally starting to gain traction in the market after its disastrous NASDAQ IPO. The company has been plagued by how do “friends” correlate with the legal tender?

Will 140-character per tweet Twitter be the next LinkedIn, the next Facebook or just maybe the first Twitter in the eyes of Wall Street investors?

A CNBC report this week pointed to Twitter’s relationship with the hard-to-get National Football League and CBS in which video supplied by both will be available for tweets. Wall Street may very well see a ka-ching correlation with this deal.

The deal and others, plus the recently announced Twitter S-1 (e.g., company prospectus) may have a direct bearing on what will be the pricing and Wall Street response to the much-anticipated IPO.

As more companies pursue the IPO route, minus the ones that opt to rebuild in privacy (e.g., Dell), that means even more opportunities for skilled-and-trained corporate public relations, investor relations, crisis communications, brand-and-management protection pros.

Conservatively, there are more than 5,100 publicly traded companies on the two major exchanges, the NYSE Euronext and NASDAQ. There are thousands more on overseas exchange, such as Japan’s Nikkei, Hong Kong’s Hang Sang, Britain’s “Footsie” or FTSE, France’s CAC-40 and Germany’s DAX.

Each of these companies, most definitely those in America, has reporting requirements on an annualized and quarterly basis. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) mandates 10-Q quarterly earnings reports; 10-K annual reports to shareholders; 8-K unscheduled “material” information disclosure announcements; S-4 additional share purchases, an annual meeting with shareholders, and of course, an S-1 filing of a privately held company prospectus prior to an IPO.

All of these filings require on-target prose, delivered conventionally and digitally, employing text, audio and video. Who are these message builders? Who will train them? And where can they be found?

As long as a publicly traded company is in business, it must report. It must communicate. It has absolutely no choice.

Quite clearly, the demand for these highly skilled corporate PR and investor relations practitioners outstrips the supply. Maybe that’s why they are compensated at a PR segment high average of $117,233 annually.

Sounds like an upwards-to-the-right market for qualitative-and-quantitative PR/IR types.

Full-Disclosure Note: The editor of Almost DailyBrett at various times owned shares of both LinkedIn and Facebook, only to subsequently sell the stocks. He fully anticipates as a mere retail investor being a late arrival to the upcoming Twitter IPO, if only to follow TWTR on a daily basis…Thank God he never bought into Enron.

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131003191330-270738-with-twitter-s-ipo-5-key-things-you-need-to-understand-about-the-social-ad-revolution

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/10/03/twitter-reveals-long-awaited-ipo-plans-253m-revenue-in-first-half-of-2013/

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/twitter-discloses-its-i-p-o-plans/?_r=0

Edward Snowden

Dear Edward:

Something tells me the Sheremetyevo Airport Transit Zone room service menu is getting old.

How many different ways can one prepare bowls of borscht and/or cucumber sandwiches?

Think of it this way, a prison cell with room service and a view of the parking lot with birch trees is still a prison cell without the iron bars. There is a bar in the hotel lobby with plenty of Stoli, but are you allowed to go there?

For the record, it has been 18 days since your arrival in Russia and counting…and counting…and counting…

Pretty soon, you will forget what day of the week it is. You may satisfy yourself by sending out media statements from the WikiLeaks folks, but soon you will have nothing new to say and the media will cover the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial instead.

One Latin America government after another (e.g., Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia) has extended a welcome to you, but how will you get there? Will Scotty “beam” you up? You can imagine the tropical drinks with umbrellas and the wind-swept beaches (okay not in Bolivia), but you are still stuck Back in the USSR.

Napoleon and Hitler were stranded in Russia as well with winter approaching. It’s amazing how history repeats itself…not that I am comparing you with Bonaparte or der Führer. Maybe you can visit the Stalingrad Museum? Strike that, your passport is not valid.

Bummer.

Another bowl of borscht?

To some in America, you are a whistle-blower and a hero including a collection of voices who together make for very strange bedfellows indeed (e.g., Michael Moore, Glenn Beck, Oliver Stone, Michael Savage).

Maybe one or all of them or the WikiLeaks gang can shell out a few shekels to arrange for a private jet to transport you to a socialist paradise? The sponsoring country could issue you a passport, once you renounce your U.S. citizenship of course. Are you willing to take this step with the knowledge you will never see your native North Carolina or adopted State of Hawaii ever again?

Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul, conceivably could welcome you to their island gulag with palm trees, but is that where you want to spend the rest of your life? Keep in mind; you are only 30 years young. Venezuela may be more inviting, but what happens if there is a government coup d’ ‘etat and the new management honors an extradition agreement with the United States? Ditto for fun-in-the-desert Bolivia?

You may end up Back in the USSA anyway.

Maybe you should think out of the proverbial box, and follow in the footsteps of Martha Stewart?

What if you accept Vice President Joe Biden’s offer of a one-way, fully escorted trip home?

Okay you don’t want to go to prison, but aren’t you effectively eating prison food right now? And how long is Putin going to allow you to stay in Russia anyway?

moscow

Do you think that you couldn’t receive a fair trial back the states? Didn’t O.J. receive a fair trial? Maybe we could fit you with a bloody glove, forcing the jury to acquit? Or maybe not.

One thing I can guarantee you, there will be lawyers galore clamoring to represent you before the glare of the television lights. Greta is always in need of a new trial to micro-analyze. You will set in a motion a nationwide debate about what is the proper amount of government surveillance in this era of global terrorism.

If you head off to Bolivia never to be heard from, let alone ever seeing your homeland again, what have you accomplished? Aldrich Ames is serving out his life in prison. No one cares about him. Who will care about you in Venezuela? Isn’t publicity and attention what you ultimately crave?

Reportedly, you are facing up to 30-years in the slam. Do you really think that is going to be the outcome? Maybe you can strike a deal, preserving your rights to your autobiography and upcoming made-for-television movie?

And just as one Clinton in the White House pardoned the dearly departed tax-evader-rogue-trader Marc Rich, maybe a future Clinton in the White House could pardon you too?

Anything is possible. Come home Edward to the land of hot dogs, college football and apple pie…before you are forced to endure yet another cucumber sandwich.

P.S. You may want to contemplate saying you are sorry for your actions instead of being self-righteous. Americans are a forgiving people.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57593011/edward-snowden-likely-to-pick-venezuela-for-asylum-journalist-glenn-greenwald-says/

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/10/19389337-venezuela-is-most-likely-asylum-option-for-edward-snowden-leak-journalist-says?lite

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/05/opinion/obeidallah-snowden-suggestions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldrich_Ames

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Rich

“Buckets for the Cure”

It never fails to stir up emotions, particularly in October (e.g., National Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

It is represented by a simple image, illustrating a pretty-in-pink bucket of grilled chicken.

It describes a marketing campaign that raised 50 cents per bucket and ultimately delivered $4.2 million to date to fight breast cancer.

And yet blood pressure always seems to rise and passions start flowing. Is this a case of no good-deed going unpunished, or something much deeper?

One person’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is another person’s “Pinkwashing.”

kfc

In one corner is for profit Yum Brand’s KFC Division (once known as “Kentucky Fried Chicken”) on the other is non-profit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Or maybe they are not in separate corners, but instead joined at the hip?

For present-and-future PR practitioners, I have seen this debate played out several times in the last two-plus years, and there is nothing even remotely approaching consensus on this ethical issue.

Reportedly, Susan G. Komen is the largest non-profit source for breast cancer research and advocacy. Susan G. Komen touts 240 corporate donors, and KFC is just one of these donors. And yet the knives are out for KFC primarily, and also for Susan G. Komen for signing off on KFC’s marketing campaign in order to raise millions to fight breast cancer.

To some encouraging patrons to consume grilled chicken breasts to save female breasts is too much of a mental metaphor to process. Fatty chicken contributes to breast cancer, so doesn’t the KFC/Komen alliance constitute shameless hypocrisy? That question has been asked repeatedly.

As a consuming public, we have been demanding that “Big Food” take action to notify us of the calorie count in its fast-food offerings and to offer healthier choices. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”

As Almost DailyBrett reported, publicly traded companies (e.g., $13.5 billion NYSE: YUM) have a fiduciary obligation to promote profitability for their shareholders, many of whom are future retirees or parents with kids approaching college, investing in mutual funds and individual stocks.

At the same time, we are asking these corporations to give back to the communities they serve and take action to protect the environment through Corporate Social Responsibility. Yum Brands would naturally contend that its grilled chicken is a healthier consumer choice, and that it has raised more than $4 million to fight breast cancer. Isn’t this a case of both fiduciary responsibility and CSR? Would it be better for KFC to just offer original recipe or extra crispy to go along with the fat-laden side dishes and not give a dime to Susan G. Komen or any other non-profit?

When it comes to vilification, Susan G. Komen has been the subject of rhetorical broadsides even though it has invested nearly $2 billion for breast cancer research, education and advocacy. The largest single donation? $4.2 million from…KFC. At times, Komen has demonstrated a PR tin ear (gun-toting Smith & Wesson donation; Planned Parenthood debacle), but overall the foundation has been one of the leaders of the charge against breast cancer.

Shouldn’t we be celebrating corporate entities practicing CSR and helping non-profits? Or do some of us detest corporations so deeply and by extension, capitalism, that they would prefer for corporations to not offer and promote healthier choices, and give nothing back to our communities?

From this humble perspective, we instinctively know that life is not perfect and certainly not fair. Having said that, shouldn’t we be encouraging all to do good things, regardless of how large or how small (e.g., “Random acts of kindness”)? Isn’t the key to move the dial from an ethical and societal standpoint upwards and to the right? Shouldn’t we all have good intentions?

Or was mumsy right, when she reminded me: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

http://blogs.courier-journal.com/derbycitycents/2012/10/07/yum-brands-david-novak-on-buckets-for-the-cure-criticism/

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/kfc-fights-breast-cancer-fried-chicken/story?id=10458830

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/30/AR2010043001971.html

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=YUM+Profile

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

http://ww5.komen.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_G._Komen_for_the_Cure

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_road_to_hell_is_paved_with_good_intentions

“We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.” – Joe Namath, Miami Touchdown Club, January 9, 1969

“Broadway Joe” either had stones or as reported, he was intoxicated.

namath

His New York Jets were an 18-point underdog to the then-Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.  According to conventional wisdom, an upstart AFL team could not beat the NFL champions. That perception obviously did not stop Namath from making his brash pronouncement. His coach Weeb Ewbank was less than pleased.

Three days later, Namath backed up his pronouncement with the game of his life as the Jets pulled off one of the biggest upsets, 16-7, in sports history. Namath was either lucky, good or both.

For mere public relations mortals representing sports teams, publicly traded companies and campaigning politicians, managing public expectations is a tricky inexact science. It requires the skillful and measured practice of public relations/investor relations particularly in the face of baiting reporters, editors and analysts who want to create an expectation that translates into juicy stories…particularly those on embarrassing projections that simply fail to match reality.

The day after President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention there seemed to be a letdown. For some reason the address did not meet Obamesque expectations. It was a solid speech, skillfully delivered and the audience urged him on. Many pundits were disappointed.

And yet…there was the anticipated post-convention bounce.

Is it time for President Obama to do his best Joe Namath imitation, be brash, be bold and guarantee a victory on November 6? He knows better, and his “handlers” know better. There is a political lifetime between now and then, including three presidential and one vice presidential debates.

The biggest hurdle is the management of expectations for these encounters. There is little dissent on the notion that the debates played a huge role in John F. Kennedy winning the presidency in 1960 and the one presidential encounter, “There you go again” and “Are you better off than you were four years ago?,”paved the way for the Ronald Reagan landslide 20 years later.

Twelve years ago, the political community was having a grand time making fun of George W. Bush’s “single-digit IQ.” Bush’s advisers were publicly laughing along with them, and at the same time praising the “carefully schooled and trained technique” of then-Vice President Al Gore.

George W. Bush, Al Gore

How could Bush possibly win? After all, Gore had debated 35 times during the past 12 years (e.g., Ross Perot). There was no contest, until there was a contest.

Bush’s team played down the governor’s abilities, while they lauded the vice president’s rhetorical skills. The goal in the expectations game was to lower the bar for Bush and make the same bar way too high for Gore.

If yours truly was advising Romney, I would counsel him to follow the George W. Bush “aw shucks” playbook (without saying “aw shucks”). Romney is seen as wooden and corporate. He should use this less-than-flattering perception to his advantage.

Conversely, Obama is regarded with good reason as a great orator and a superb debater. Romney is the underdog. Americans love to root for the underdog. Instead of “Rudy,” the Republicans will portray “Romney” on October 3. One trusts that Obama knows a trap when he sees one. Watch for his team to offer a modicum of respect to Romney’s presentation skills, citing the plethora of Republican debates in 2011 and earlier this year.

Playing the expectations game does not just apply to Super Bowls or presidential debates, it also manifests itself in setting the table for investors, analysts and employees. How many times have you witnessed publicly traded companies exceed Wall Street profitability expectations by just one-cent per share? For the longest time, CEO John Chambers of networking gear supplier Cisco Systems exceeded the Street for a series of one-cent bottom line victories quarter-after-quarter.

This success did not occur by magic or accident. Company public relations gurus spend twice as much time setting expectations in a company’s “business outlook” section of a 10Q quarterly earnings release as they do in preparing the actual quarterly results. Think of it this way, meeting and (better yet) exceeding the expectations of Wall Street is a “good thing” in the words of Martha Stewart. Undercutting the expectations of the sell-side analyst types is the PR equivalent of stepping on a rattlesnake: the fangs strike the body and the poison is injected in the form of an almost certain downgrade and stock sell off.

Joe Namath would have looked downright foolish, if the Colts had blown out the Jets in Super Bowl III. It all worked out for Broadway Joe. Sometimes you can win in Las Vegas by betting big. Most of the time you just lose the shirt off your back for failing at the expectations game.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_III

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/248373-debates-obama-romney-face-to-face-seeking-knockout-blow

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,56496,00.html

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