Something Barrett said earlier in that piece about Facebook rings relevant here, but not only with relation to Apple. It's apropos to Facebook, Microsoft and Intel. In fact, it's germane throughout tech.
In terms of a timeline for results at Facebook, Barrett explained that lots can happen in the space over the course of three months. He didn't elaborate much, but I took what he said two ways.
First, and he said this explicitly, you have to deliver for shareholders every three months. If you don't, expect to get dinged. It would be great if that wasn't the case, but it's comes with the territory of being a public company.
Second, and I make my own assessment of Barrett's three-month comment here, in that time frame, fortunes can change, for better or worse, over 90 days in tech. Be prepared for anything. Or as another former Intel leader, Andy Grove, told us in his epic book on tech leadership, Only the Paranoid Survive.I fully understand that investors tire of the Jobs-Cook comparisons. That said, you cannot ignore them. They're vitally important if you consider Apple from a long-term perspective. Three months becomes a year quite rapidly, particularly in tech. Sometimes the numbers disintegrate quarter after quarter, as has been the case with Research in Motion (RIMM) over the past couple of years. Often, it's more about sentiment changing because of a company's competitive position within its space. We continue to witness this dynamic with Barrett's former company, Intel. In each and every case, investors can get burnt. RIMM provides the most vivid example. When emotion takes over, a shareholder can do crazy things. Go back and read the defenses RIMM bulls made as that stock crashed throughout 2011. We're seeing something similar, though not quite as dramatic, with Intel. When things start to turn south, many investors act in simply irrational ways. They don't take profits; rather, they circle the wagons. They hold. They buy more. Instead of protecting once massive profits, emotion triggers the response to buy more on the "dip" because, of course, when destiny takes my stock back up, I'll have an even more enormous profit.
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