The Taoist Earnings Report From Overstock.com
from the reflect-on-just-how-unhappy-the-lawyers-are dept
If you read enough earnings announcement press releases, you discover that they’re all pretty much the same, and they’re all incredibly boring and pointless. Good news gets trumpeted loudly in one paragraph, bad news gets spun as if it’s good news in another paragraph. That’s about it. However, the head of Overstock.com decided to take a different approach this quarter. Realizing that it made no sense to just spin stuff and shrink everything down to a happy little meaningless sentence, he attached a long letter to the earnings release – including Taoist teachings – and being very candid on the ups and downs of the company. He admits that Overstock’s lawyers have been doing everything to stop him from adding the letter, saying that “everything you write will be Exhibit A in a lawsuit against you,” and he responds to them (in the letter!) by saying “but lawyers say that about most things.” He admits that in a time when most companies spin anything as good news, admitting that there is less than good news is going to be interpreted by some as catastrophic news. However, he’s hoping that his frank and open explanation of what’s happening at the company will make investors feel more comfortable, not less. You can read the entire letter at the end of their earnings press release. While I’m sure that some Wall Street types (and some lawyers) are concerned about this – I think it’s incredibly refreshing.