From The Steve Gilliard Files: "How to Read a 10Q" Financial Reporting
By the Spring of 2001, Steve Gilliard had come to the realization that the only way to win online arguments with his many critics on Netslaves.com was with facts, not assertions, and so was born his "How to Read a 10Q," which ran from April through May.
"How to Read a 10Q" was a big hit on Netslaves.com, and I encouraged Steve to market the concept as a short business book. Steve was receptive to the idea but was less enthused with writing an actual proposal, so the book concept was still-born. Still, we are left with nine marvelous articles (plus an intro) providing a blend of hard facts, terse (and often hilariously funny) commentary, plus Steve's keen-eyed analysis that's eminently readable today, even though most of the companies Steve discussed are gone and forgotten.
These articles are being made available as a complete online set for the first time since their initial publication on Netslaves.com in 2001. Make sure you scroll down to read the comments that Steve made during post-publication discussion -- he would often lurk and strike with an able epithet when you least expected it!
- Introduction (Exploring Public Documents (A Forensic Analysis of Failed Internet Companies) (April 22, 2001)
"I only learned how to do this over years of training and research. It was not easy to learn, so there is no reason to feel bad about not knowing it. Examining the earnings of small, public companies can prevent you from making serious errors in the future."
- Part 1: IVillage.com (April 19, 2001)
"IVillage has lost $384.3 million since it began operation in 1995. It has lost $351 million of that sum since 1998. This is the largest single loss of any dotcom and could go higher. "
- Part 2: Salon (April 20, 2001)
"In our look at Salon, we see a company which is losing money steadily, with no real hope of profitability, not now or in the future."
- Part 3: Razorfish (April 23, 2001)
"Word on the street, and from former Fish employees, is that their customers were pissed with both attitude and delivery."
- Part 4: Juno.com (April 24, 2001)
"One gets the feeling that they are nibbling at the edges of solutions and they may never be able to capture the audience they need to survive."
- Part 5: AskJeeves.com (April 27, 2001)
"Watch the losses climb. $6m to $52m to $189m. Wow. You have to wonder what management was doing to get their losses to exponentially increase every year, besides their silly commercials and marketing campaigns which no one seems to remember."
- Part 6: Webvan.com (April 28, 2001)
"So who doesn't it compete with? Crack dealers and gun stores? This is everyone from Kroger and Piggly Wiggly to CVS and Rite Aid to Wal-Mart and K-Mart. They are taking on American retailing."
- Part 7: LoudCloud.com (May 3, 2001)
"We are a high falutin' Web hostin' kind of company. You will pay us a lot of money to use our software, which seems to have had its genesis in technologies Netscape was using in 1996."
- Part 8: TheGlobe.com (May 4, 2001)
"By going public, the Globe ensured that a few key investors would get rich, but as we all know, the stock has dropped to being nearly valueless today."
- Part 9: Agency.com (May 7, 2001)
"They aren't as embarassing as Razorfish, but because the recipe is flavored differently doesn't necessarily mean that you aren't eating liver. Nor does it necessarily mean that they are hiring experienced people who actually know what they are doing."