So we’re officially in a bear market. You don’t have to tell anybody in a publicly traded company about it, of course. We’re in it every day. We feel it in a million different ways, in everything we do. Here are just a few:
- When you talk with a reporter covering your business, they can barely lift their heads from their tabletops. They sigh. They mutter. They can barely come up with coherent questions. “So…” they murmur into the phone, their hearts heavy with impending layoffs and industry doom, “… what’s the rationale for your acquisition/divestiture/other again?” Much of the time, they haven’t even read the associated documentation. They’re just too sad to party.
- When you talk with an analyst about your business, they can barely lift their heads from their tabletops. They snarl. They growl. They are defensive about their indices. Their last six write-ups have been dead wrong for a variety of reasons, but analysts have a tough time being wrong, they are never actually wrong, not really. Something must be wrong with YOU that made them be wrong, so they are quite naturally churlish about your whole situation. There is no upside. Why do you keep talking about one?
- When you talk with sale people, they can barely lift their heads from their tabletops. Their knuckles are red with knocking on doors that will not open.
- When you talk to merchandisers, automotive manufacturers and others who must advertise in order to sell their products, they can barely… well, you know. They cannot buy ads because their have less free cash flow with which to do so, but if they do not sell ads they will not move product and so will not have cash to buy ads and move product. They are hamsters on a wheel, with the smell of yesterday’s sawdust in their nostrils.
- When you talk to investors… it’s not advisable. They will chew your face off if you do.
Except for the guys who saw the dark side all along. The short sellers. The crafty few who saw the whole thing coming all along and bet correctly on which way the water would spin on its way down the vortex. They’re the ones walking down the Street, whistling a merry tune. Makes you want to smash them, don’t it?