NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's almost surreal. Watching a company define double-edged sword. Witnessing how a stubborn hyper-focus on past and present success runs the risk of crushing not only long-term prosperity, but viability.
That's the crossroads Pandora (P) operates from at the moment. Does it pivot and seize the opportunity it created for itself and still has the ability to own or does it permit what has become an unhealthy confidence -- arrogance -- to determine its fate?
In recent weeks I have seen nothing from the company that gives me the confidence to support the either on the front end of that or. In fact, Pandora's recent actions -- which I can only describe as bizarre -- make it impossible for me to do anything other than abandon almost all bullishness. A bullishness I adamantly articulated as Pandora's stock rose from the dead, more than quadrupling from lows in the high single digits.
I was there most of the way -- from 8 to $36 a share -- and I'm telling you this is a different company as it enters what it defines as its "next phase of growth." Unless Pandora changes course in a major way, you should read different in the worst possible way.
Pandora's Bizarre Public Actions and Statements
A few weeks ago, Pandora named a new Chief Strategy Officer. In the press release announcing the news, there was zero mention of the company's co-founder and now former CSO Tim Westergren.
Pandora says we shouldn't read anything into this. And part of me feels like Westergren just didn't want to steal the spotlight from the new hire. But the part of me that thinks with my brain, unencumbered by my heart, doesn't feel quite the same way. If you forced me to place a wager, I'd have to take the side that something's up, but Pandora's not talking. It's just too strange to not even mention Westergren in a press release where he probably should have had a quote.
Why does Pandora require an outsider to head up strategy? It makes no sense. Multiple sources at Pandora tell me Westergren "remains as committed as ever ..." that "he's still fully in the game." But these responses reek of everybody getting on the same page to tote a company line. To cover what could be a more concerning underlying story.
Part of me wonders -- and not without basis -- if there are not factions within Pandora frustrated with Westergren. Upset that, as the company's ultimate leader, he's not moving fast enough in areas where others appear to be taking charge. We'll explore that later, but, at this juncture. I just have a difficult time believing that A) Pandora needed a new CSO if all is well with Westergren and B) he would be absent from the public announcement that somebody nobody's ever heard of before had been tapped to replace him.
But that was just the beginning of the bizarreness.