Saturday, September 12, 2009

Real Time Investor Relations

©Anant Goel
August 21, 2007

Communications has always been an important part of any successful person or business, and ways to communicate have certainly progressed over the past 100 years: from postal mail to e-mail, from telegraph to the telephone, and from fax broadcast to the web-cast.

And as our world becomes increasingly Internet-driven, it is becoming more and more important for a business, for example, to reach its customers, business partners and investors in a fast, efficient and cost effective manner. Companies that recognize the need to communicate frequently, efficiently and fast with its customers, partners and investors will prosper and be the leaders in their industry. Those that are slow to adapt will ultimately lose their competitive edge and disappear…or just be a laggard in their sector at best.

What a difference a few strands of fiber and a prism of light can make to change the destiny of human race, and your business, in the new millennium.

With Internet users doubling every 200 days, it is only a matter of time when the investors of publicly traded companies would demand “real time” information about the company’s business affairs. Most active investors have Internet access and they prefer to do their own due diligence. This, by the very nature of the need for real time information, makes me believe: “The days of “canned” Press Releases are over. And the progressive, dynamic, and visionary companies will embrace the Internet for disseminating real time business information to their investors.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel that most public companies need to come out of the dark ages of faxes, voice-on-demand, and “canned” Press Releases. Companies that web-cast, for example, have taken a giant step ahead, but I still feel that the corporate management still needs to move ahead to embrace us, the individual minority investors, in the open forum of Internet with trust and truth?

The studies indicate that by the end of year 2007, there will be over 1 billion Internet users. That means, most all of the educated population of the world, will be globally connected by the Internet. And the boundaries of time and space will disappear. People will gather in public forums of their common interests, stock message board at YAHOO, to network and share information. These people will be the investors, customers, vendors, friends, enemies, management, or employees of the public companies. In a public forum like this, that allows us to maintain our anonymity, there will be no place to hide for the incompetent or the unscrupulous.

Those companies that recognize the evolution of Internet, and have the vision to recognize its far-reaching impact on traditional business models, can capitalize from the revolution and not be its victim. Companies that fail to embrace the Real Time nature of globally connected New World Economy of the Internet will slowly disappear… cut down to nothing by the competition… or be acquired. Massive changes are taking place in the way business is done and investments are made today. You can embrace the changes and go with the flow, to capitalize and gain from it, or be a victim of the change itself. Choices are simple but the impact will be massive. The real time information, traveling at the speed of light to billion(s) of informed and educated potential investors and customers around the globe, can very quickly take your company to higher levels of financial success or, on the flip side, simply cut it down to size forever.

Two years ago I came to Microvision (NASDAQ: MVIS) message board at YAHOO looking for investor/user feedback to Microvision technology, products and services. What I noticed was a total lack of factual information and lots of BS posts by unscrupulous characters. Some of us took the risk and devoted our time to research, review, and write the facts about Microvision and articulated the investment opportunities offered by MVIS stock. It takes lot of time and energy to do that. And lately it really got harder and harder to gather useful information, because Microvision was firing on many different fronts and that information would easily get mixed-up to make any sense.

Microvision has made lots of progress over the last two years. But Microvision is not fully appreciated, or recognized, by the investment community. May be that’s because of the antiquated dark-age communications media that the management [of the past] chose to get the message out. However, that could be changing and may be now the minority investors, for example, can realize the true value of their undervalued asset in MVIS stock. Microvision management took a giant step when they held the first web cast [investor conference call] almost two years ago and recently started to open-up and communicate with the investors, employees, customers and vendors in real time. And we hope that is the beginning of openness and sharing of the truth with integrity and trust. Openness and sharing truth with integrity are important to investors, both large and small.

In summary: “please keep up the good work on your business execution and on active investor relations. However, embrace the Internet—more aggressively and frequently— to communicate with your minority investors in real time”.

Anant Goel