Tossing "objectivity" (whatever the heck that means these days) out the window, I love this company. I love data. And I love music. That's why I'm pushing Pandora.
I've been out in front on this company since it went public. And I'm sure as Charles not going to sit back and declare victory, particularly at a time when Pandora risks laying an egg on what probably is the biggest opportunity it has ever laid its eyes on.
So Pandora, here's the ball. Channel your inner Wade Boggs.
Pandora reports earnings Wednesday. Rumor has it the numbers might be good. Fantastic. I'm thrilled for Pandora.
But I don't care what happened last quarter. Means very little to me right now. It meant quite a bit to me when $P was Wall Street's most hated stock in the teens and single digits. When I was laying out the bull case, point by point, in 2012 and 2013. That's useful stuff. Not Wall Street cats raising their price targets from $35 to $42 or whatever on the eve of an earnings report for a company whose stock is priced pretty much to perfection.
Wall Street proves itself completely useless on stocks such as $P.
However, on the Pandora earnings call that will follow the company's earnings report, an analyst could help unearth meaningful information for investors. So, please, somebody who plans to be on the call ... do me a solid ...
And then hold Pandora's feet to the fire. Ask them what plans they have to leverage what is easily their most lucrative and important asset -- data.
How does Pandora intend to use data to generate revenue beyond traditional advertising and sponsorship deals? How does Pandora plan to use data to help musicians of all sizes? How does Pandora see itself using data to become a better partner to the music industry and hopefully, in the process, put itself in a better spot vis-a-vis royalties. Because, after all, that's incredibly germane to folks in or looking at the stock.
And don't accept the same stuff Pandora was talking about in 2008 with respect to data as an answer. That's no longer good enough.
This longish, somewhat technical article about how Pandora CTO Tom Conrad makes due -- amazingly well -- with just 40 engineers is well worth your reading time. However, it tells me that Pandora doesn't consider data -- outside of its limited use of the stuff to this point -- a priority with respect to its business.
This is a stock that has quadrupled from its lows. It can easily double from here, but the company needs to up its game. NOW.
And that game absolutely must focus on data as much as, if not more than, user experience.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.