When did you get your first dose of investor education?

Interesting read from the SEC on their financial literacy study.  After reading this and reviewing the study it got me thinking about when I got my first dose of investor education.   The answer came very quickly for me.  It was when I was twelve and my grandmother decided it was time to let me look at the other side of the newspaper…the one she was reading that had helped her and my grandfather make money buying and selling stocks.

I got a good teaching that day.  There was no Internet involved.  We didn’t have the benefit of breaking news delivered to a handheld device.  Nope,  I learned how to read stock from the black and white news print that day.  I was taught how to watch for trends and traps.  I learned there are good days, great days and pretty bad days.  I walked away from that day a bit confused, but also amazed at what I was just taught.  The main learning point was that there is an art and strategy to doing all this and that you have to learn the art before you can master the strategy.

From that day forward I got to look at the other side of the newspaper and I haven’t looked back since.

When did you get your first dose of investor education?

VC goes PR

Interesting read from the NY Times about VC firms going PR.  Seems like a no-brainer, but I guess it also is ruffling some feathers out there based on a bit of self promotion.

It was only a matter of time before the VC world jumped on the public relations / marketing train.  I am glad to see firms that have been traditionally closed door and behind the scenes jump into the PR pool feet first.

Question is…will it last or does a shift in the economy cause things to snap back?

Engaging shareholders…early and often is best

Shareholder engagement and outreach is the name of the game.

We talk a lot about how to best engage shareholders and what will work and what won’t.  This recent post from Inside Investor Relations about the US proxy season’s mid-year trends gives some great examples of how companies are turning things around through listening, communicating and engaging.

It is clear that engagement shouldn’t be seen as an after the fact point.  Engaging early and often can make things so much easier on everyone.


Multitasking…is it killing our bottom line?

In business we are always looking to improve profitability by increasing revenue or finding smarter ways to spend. I read the HBR.org post, “Multitasking’s Real Victims” this morning and of course it got me thinking. Multitasking is killing our bottom line by making all of us less productive.

Yes, I have a multitasking problem, but I have been working to curb it both in my personal and professional life. I have already been doing a number of things to fix my problem, but I realize my problem won’t ever be totally fixed until I help those around me also fix their multitasking problem…hence the chord that was struck after reading the HBR post.

In my business of IR and compliance I have information in my face all day long, but that doesn’t mean I need to multitask to be productive. I have learned that the need to do two, three or four things at once actually means I am less organized with my time and less productive overall. Doing one thing well and moving to the next thing is what I am focused on now. Listening to the person on the phone, conference call or in my office is what I am focused on now. Riding that extra mile with my sons on the bikes and not looking at my iPhone is what I am focused on now.

I apologize in advance to my friends, peers and family as I plan to use points in the HBR article to point out when others around me are multitasking when they shouldn’t be. It might be time to smell the flowers that you don’t see right in front of you. What are you focused on now?

G+ goes IR

IR continues to find new ways to use social media to engage. A recent Inside Investor Relations blog post caught my attention based on Google launching an IR page on its own social network.

As companies work to create channels to deliver content this could be an interesting approach to engage shareholders. It could also just be another site that gets chucked in the too many sites, not enough time pile.

It got my attention (and at the time of this post 87 others)…will it get yours?


Moving From “Like” to “Love”…

I have always “liked” Facebook and its ability to create open communication.  I also “like” how those creatives in Menlo Park never stop to surprise me with all the cool ideas they come up with.  I really “like” hoodies, but I have to admit I “like” mine without zippers.  I really “like” seeing the company go public and move into a new chapter of its young life.  Oh and by the way that “like” that people have for Facebook has turned into “love” because everywhere you seem to turn you hear about Facebook and what they are doing from ideas, to the IPO, to stock price to whatever…Facebook is here to stay for a long long time.

Now I would just “like” to be able to wear my hoodies all year long, but I am told hoodies, shorts and flip-flops isn’t a good fashion statement.


Economic Indicators

I recently got to hear two economists speak about the direction the economy is going in.   This first speaker was in Detroit at the ACG meeting last month.  The second was in Cleveland last week at the NIRI Cleveland event.  It would be hard to find two harder hit cities over the past few years, so the economy was a hot topic at these meetings.

I will be the first to say I should have listened more in those economics classes years ago.  I have been learning, like everyone else, about the ebb and flow of our economic state by living in it over the past few years.  You attend a lot of events and people are looking down at their electronic tethers all the time, me included, but not at these events as people wanted to hear if we have lived through the worst or if there was more bad news to come.

I got a chance to sit with the speaker in Cleveland and I asked him before he presented if he was going to show us that everything is getting better.  He looked at me and said without any hesitation, “I will tell you what I think is happening, but then you will have to make your own conclusions”.  That one sentence that he uttered set the tone for the whole meeting and he had me listening to everything he was saying.  I was just empowered to make my own conclusion about the economy and I wasn’t going to be told if it was getting better or worse.

I will say I do believe the economy is getting better.  I guess the correct way to sum up my feelings is cautiously optimistic.  The pretty graphs and charts at these meetings didn’t sway me, it was honestly also the people attending that underlined the point.  It almost felt like the thaw of winter had come and people were out and about shaking hands and looking to do business.  I give economists a lot of credit because I believe their jobs are difficult and I could never do what they do.   Attending networking events and empowering those around us to make decisions that will help drive the health of our economy isn’t on any of those economic indicator lists, but it sure is on mine and I saw it first hand at these two events.