Are you 2.0?
I know. You’re tired of clichés.
Especially in a pandemic that birthed a lexicography – social distancing, mask-up, nonessential, emergency executive orders, comorbidity.
After all that, you don’t want to hear you’re 1.0, not 2.0.
On the other hand, I’m notorious for not wanting to upgrade. I’ll stay 1.0 rather than risk 2.0 jacking up the performance of some app. An update downloads, and now I can’t connect to the printer. Been through that?
So has the investor-relations profession.
Aside: Investors, you’re getting a ringside seat. IR, as we call it, is the liaison between public companies and Wall Street. A painful evolution from 1.0. to 2.0 is underway.
In the 1970s you had a rotary phone on your desk and you called investors. IR 1.0 is telling the story.
The IR profession formalized by association in 1969 with the advent of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI). I’m currently on the national board representing service providers. A year from now, I’ll hand off that baton to our next emissary.
IR Era 1.0 lasted from 1969 till 2005 when Regulation National Market System changed the market. Telling the story was the chief function of IR for more than 35 years.
If you don’t know Reg NMS, read this.
Continuing, I had the honor of vice-chairing the 50th Anniversary NIRI Annual Conference in 2019, in Phoenix. Back when people innocently shook hands, hugged, packed conference halls. We had famed stock-picker Lee Cooperman, market-structure expert Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading, SEC head of Trading and Markets Brett Redfearn.
We were standing there looking at IR 2.0. Man, that was fun.
I doubt we’ll dispute rotary phones are obsolete. Sure, we’ve got ringtones that sound like them. But punching buttons is easier.
Speaking of easy, attending the NIRI 2020 Annual Conference is easier than a button. And it’s upon us. We’ve spent a long time apart. Socially distanced, I guess. While that continues at the AC, we can still be virtually together. I’ll be there.
Come join me! It’s simple. Go here and register (you’d spend a lot more on hotel rooms – and we had sponsored your keys at the Miami Fontainebleau, by the way. Sigh. Ah well.) and instead of checking in to a room, check out the schedule.
Come see our Express Talk. See our two-minute video called, “What Do I Do With It?” See the 2021 IR Planning Calendar to help you navigate the minefield of derivatives expirations when you report results (don’t blow a limb off your story. So to speak.).
I just watched our Express Talk. I look rough in the first clip – like I’ve been through a Pandemic. I’m cleaned up in the next, even wearing a tie. Then I’m settled in by clip three to share what matters about IR 2.0.
Come view them. Support our community. After all, 2020 is going to end, despite indications at times this year that it never would. We’re almost there!
Back to IR 2.0. Understand this: Our profession is a data enterprise now. Not a phone-dialer, meeting-setter. There’s financial data (your story), ESG data (governance), Alt data (what the buyside is really tracking, like jobs, credit card transactions, port-of-entry satellite views).
And there’s Market Structure. This is the only measure that’ll tell you what sets price. If Activism threats exist. When Passive money rotates. If it’s about your story. How to run buybacks. What happens when you spin off a unit. The best time to issue stock. How deal arbs bet on outcomes (and if they think you’re about to do a deal). What drives shareholder value.
I’ll repeat that. It’s the only measure that tells you what drives shareholder value. Headlines and financials don’t. Buyers and sellers of stock do.
Do you want to pick up the phone and call people? Or do you want to advise the executive team and the board?
Okay. IR 2.0 is not for everyone. Some of us just belong in IR 1.0. Give me a desk and a phone and let me call people and convince myself that it matters.
Have at it.
But that’s yesterday. It’s an infinitesimal speck (like a virus) of today’s job. And even dialing should be guided by data, measured by data.
It’s almost 2021. I know the mullet is trying to make a comeback. I know I listen to 80s music. But that’s no reason to do the IR job like it’s 1984. Don’t do that. It’s not a good look.
Come see ModernIR and the rest of the vendor community (there are 22 others with us in the virtual exhibit hall) at this year’s disruptive event, the NIRI Annual Conference. See you there.
And let’s start 2021 with good hair and good data.