Talk about a roller coaster ride. 2007 presented investors with many surprises -- and quite a few expected problems -- ranging from subprime mortgage defaults to term auction facility to sticky inflation. Agriculture boomed, the Fed surprised, homebuilders collapsed and Google ( GOOG) and Apple ( AAPL) were unstoppable.As we launch into 2008, now is a good time for us to look back and reflect upon what lessons 2007 provided us. For those who paid attention, there were many insights to be gained, even wisdom to be attained. Some of these we learned through observations; others, we learned the old-fashioned way (painfully). What follows is a mix of
- After a disastrous screw-up on New York's JFK tarmac, JetBlue's (JBLU) CEO issued a very sincere mea culpa
via YouTube. The company not only took responsibility for the problem, it outlined the changes it was making to avoid it in the future. JBLU shares suffered as oil raced toward $100, but it could have been much worse had the company not addressed the problem so directly.
- Mattel (MAT) responded aggressively to the discovery of lead paint in children's toys manufactured in China. It proactively worked with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, took out full-page newspaper ads, set up 800 numbers and issued vouchers for replacement toys.
- After Apple dropped its price 33% on its new iPhone, recent purchasers of the $599 version yelped loudly. Apple offered a $100 Apple store gift certificate to ease the sting. Everyone was more or less happy.