Artichokes: 3 for 99c
I don’t like artichokes. I don’t know how much they cost, nor how much they should cost. I was at the Stanford Mall last night getting some corn at the veggie and fruit market next to Schaub’s (home of the famous Fred’s steak – get it for your first cook-out of the season if you’ve never tried it!!) and a woman with her beautiful golden retriever was looking at the artichokes that were 3 for 99c. I thought that a good price even with my aforementioned lack of knowledge of artichoke pricing. The woman, however, had different expectations. “These are the LARGE artichokes?” she asked the stock man. “Yes,” he said, “they are the big ones.” “The bigs ones must have already been picked through because these (holding one up) are definitely not that big…or heavy enough,” she said. “Do I have to buy three?”Our expectations of artichokes were quite different. Which brings me to our earnings report yesterday.I’m not that active in the stock market, but I definitely have some Cisco stock (and I’m an employee), so I am, of course, interested in our earnings. I read the coverage (Thirty-four percent gain in earnings, 17% higher sales, etc.) as it came out on the wire when we reported after market close and I thought, “wow, great quarter.” And, it was. However, others wanted a superfragilisticexpealidotioius quarter and we were down in afterhours trading and are down this morning. So, it is all about expectations and knowledge of the market.My expectations for artichokes is that 3 for 99c is a good price. Others, who know the artichoke market better than I think that 3 for 99c isn’t a bad price, but that the artichokes should be bigger or heavier…or that the good ones have already been picked and what is left are the dreg artichokes.Cisco is a great company and I’m proud to work here. Our friends in the market like us and know that we had a very good quarter, but very good isn’t, it seems, always good enough. My favorite quote from an analyst, which put things in perspective for me was from John Slack from Morningstar, as quoted by Jordan Robertson of the AP. Slack said the stock fell victim Tuesday to overeager investors who have run up the stock price and expected higher guidance. “These guys continue to execute, execute, execute,” Slack said. “But this is a case where Wall Street’s expectations had been running up in the past few weeks. It’s a typical sell on the news thing. I don’t expect much downside from here.”I’m not a Wall Street analyst and I won’t pretend to understand the machinactions of stock price or the market, but what I do know is that the corn on the cob that I got last night was tasty…and that’s good news to me.