NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here's my advice for the day: Don't deal with people who work in corporate communications at big companies.
VPs of Communications. VPs of Media Relations. VPs of Public Relations. And if they hold the title of "director" or "manager" of any of these things, even worse.
Nine-point-nine times out of ten you'll find yourself dealing with trained monkeys. If you can't get to a real executive, don't settle for these cats because they'll do nothing but waste your time.
If you've ever cold called from the trading floor, you've probably heard the term -- and please pardon my French here, but I didn't make this up -- Don't pitch the bitch.
The following YouTube video is NSFW (Not Suitable For Work) or your kids! ...
Back when I cold called Fortune 1000 firms and recent IPOs in a sales job, I probably heard that a dozen times a day. Speak to the decision makers. Not secretaries. As horribly sexist as Don't pitch the ... sounds, it didn't matter to the team leader if the gatekeeper was female or male. You just didn't talk to that person.
As it turns out that's good advice. Because it's the gatekeeper's job to keep you away from the people who will actually cut through the crap and shoot straight. But that doesn't mean you ignore these gatekeepers. I knew some great salespeople who used them, unwittingly, to their advantage.
By a similar token, as an investor, you must consider the existence of PR people. Because so much of the information that comes from a company -- directly or via third parties -- comes from the office of corporate communications or some offshoot of it. And things are, quite often, not exactly as they seem or as the PR department crafts them.
I got shackles on my wrists
Soon I'll slip and I'll be gone
Chain me in a box in the river
And rising in the sun
Trust none of what you hear
And less of what you see
This is what will be (This is what will be)
This is what will be
-Bruce Springsteen, "Magic"
Which leads me to a little story of how, sadly, Pandora (P) has gone so horribly corporate that I'm to the point where I don't even want to write about the company anymore. However, in this case, I have no choice because I must expose something that transpired this week.