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  • GT Advanced asks for approval to pay millions in exec bonuses  [View news story]

    I agree that anybody new who came on board at this point to help turn things around should have a cash incentive to do so. Convincing someone to join a bankrupt company requires that. The people who made the company bankrupt in the first place, however, are already there and need no such incentive to join.

    I would even concede that the people running solar, Hyperion, and everything else unrelated to the sapphire business that actually cratered GTAT probably require (and deserve) a different performance incentive now that their stock options are in the crapper. But it's pretty much inevitable that the people at the top who made those fatal sapphire screw-ups would be the ones claiming the lion's share of the bonus money under this proposed plan, and they simply don't deserve that kind of bailout.

    If you're long and hoping to see the existing shares survive and rebound, then that should make you even more strongly opposed to this plan. Think about it: Currently, the only people at the bargaining table whose interests are even NOMINALLY aligned with shareholders' interests are the execs who've seen the value of their unvested stock options plummet. This proposal to make up that lost value to them in cash would remove the only remaining incentive they might have to try to carve out anything whatsoever for existing equity. Once they know they're getting paid regardless, why should they care about whether or not you do? They've just been freed up to clear the board and start over with no penalty. Why wouldn't they?

    I'd argue that getting "the same monetary value in shares" is potentially a very JUST enrichment, since they'd actually have to restore some real value for existing stockholders in order to become so enriched. And even if it's somewhat unjust (why, after all, should they be awarded the same monetary value after a year like this one that they were being offered in previous years?), it would at least align their incentives squarely with your interests as a shareholder. The plan being proposed now does precisely the opposite. What they're asking for here is a "wipe you out for free" card. You shouldn't be the one trying to give it to them.
    Jan 7, 2015. 03:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced asks for approval to pay millions in exec bonuses  [View news story]
    Management pay generally does include a large component that (in principle, obviously much less so in practice) is performance-based. Get great results, and the money rolls in. Get terrible results, and less money rolls in.

    With that in mind, on what basis would this management possibly NOT deserve a steep pay cut at this time? Because we're now going to redefine "performance" as "digging the the company out of the hole that you yourselves put it in" just to ensure that everyone still gets a bonus? Must be nice to have a job where screwing something up horribly garners you a pay raise so that you'll consent to stay around and fix it...

    As far as keeping them around is concerned, I somehow doubt that the employment market at large is exactly clamoring to lure all these people away from their current gigs at GTAT. Paying them competitively with their peers doesn't seem like much of an issue, unless their peers have presided over a train wreck of this magnitude as well. They took a big risk and failed. If they'd succeeded, they would have profited handsomely. Since they didn't, they should eat their well-earned pay cut until they get the company back on track and start deserving that extra pay again.

    It also seems odd that you're arguing that continuing to pay management via the same stock options they've always received would constitute BOTH a pay cut and a form of "unjust enrichment." Which is it?
    Jan 6, 2015. 01:18 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced asks for approval to pay millions in exec bonuses  [View news story]
    If anyone is still holding shares in hopes that their value might rebound after bankruptcy, you now have management's official view on the matter.
    Jan 2, 2015. 11:48 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies Value Exceeds The Market Price  [View article]
    What an interesting evening to suddenly discover that you've been heavily short Amazon all this time.... Hey, "congratulations" on your "profits."

    Care to share any of these brilliant picks of yours before they've already paid off?
    Oct 24, 2014. 02:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies: What Went Wrong And What Investors Need To Know About The Bankruptcy Process  [View article]
    Thanks, but I don't really need the pennies, the deadlines or the stress.

    Although I will admit that following my investment advice would have netted you a pretty sweet tax deduction this year. :)
    Oct 15, 2014. 03:12 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies: What Went Wrong And What Investors Need To Know About The Bankruptcy Process  [View article]

    I think that's totally fair.

    Even prior to any of that happening, if the veil of secrecy gets lifted from the current court proceedings, I too will be keenly interested in knowing exactly how and when it became clear that things were falling apart. The divergence between August's confident pronouncements that everything was now well in hand after some bumps in the road, and what few facts could be gleaned from the thin gruel of information that accompanied the October surprise, was so large as to be actually shocking. I certainly want to know what caused them not to see it coming (or, as you say, to have seen it coming but not said so).

    I try to assume incompetence until malice has been proven. Mostly, it's been a reasonable guide. But I grant you that a near-total information vacuum doesn't provide any basis for disproving the opposite viewpoint, either, and that the discrepancy between words and actions (and, later, actual outcomes) is quite stark in this case.
    Oct 14, 2014. 11:14 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies: What Went Wrong And What Investors Need To Know About The Bankruptcy Process  [View article]
    Oh, get off your self-righteous hobbyhorse, cmartahus. If you've been following along here, you might note that the logical inference from my arguments is that the guy is guilty of poor management, poor oversight, poor risk mitigation, poor planning, poor execution, or a combination of any and all of the above, which ultimately landed his company in bankruptcy court. It's not exactly a glowing character reference.

    Think about the sequence of events from the Q2 conference call onward in light of what's known today. They schedule a webcast, but they can't say exactly when it will be. Sometime during a particular week. That week comes and mostly goes, and then they say it'll be the next week. Then on Monday, midway through the trading day, they announce that they're filing for bankruptcy. This does not bespeak a precision-crafted fleecing machine humming smoothly along toward a preset destination that was programmed into it months earlier. It bespeaks panic. And panic, by its very nature, implies surprise.

    Surprise doesn't have to be of the "I thought everything was going perfectly, and I just now found it isn't" variety. It can also be of the "I knew there were problems but I thought we could fix them, and then I found out we couldn't" variety. (The first two-thirds of which is pretty much in keeping with the entire tone and content of the Q2 call, if you go back and check it, and the last third of which is consistent with everything they did from mid-September till now.)

    For the most part, the world isn't divided into good guys and bad guys. For the most part, it's just full of guys. Sometimes they do things well, and sometimes they f*ck them up catastrophically. Sometimes their confidence is borne out by great results, and sometimes their overconfidence lands them flat on their ass, possibly injuring others in the vicinity. Refer to your own life, or mine, or anybody else's for plenty of examples of each and every one of those things being done at various times by the same person.

    Then check how many times they knew exactly which result they were going to get in advance. Then consider whether the story you've come up with about the brilliant, sinister machinations of these distant strangers would be remotely plausible if you told it about any of the human beings YOU'VE ever met.

    If you want to argue about where the line between negligence and criminal negligence is or should be drawn, have at it; I'm not arguing about that and I'm not qualified to tell you. If you're going to claim that someone intentionally set out to fail in a public, humiliating, possibly career-ending way as part of a preconceived, flawlessly-orchestrated plot to cash out some stock options at a higher price, then the mere fact that I've spent my life as a human on this Earth observing other humans on this Earth qualifies me to comment on that, and I'm going to tell you it's silly.

    The one common factor in virtually every story where someone failed spectacularly is: Before that, they believed they were going to succeed. Think about it.
    Oct 14, 2014. 03:10 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies And InvenSense Are Prepping For Tremendous Sales Growth Over The Next 12 Months  [View article]
    Here's a sad truth: If you had done EXACTLY what Matt recommended for about eight straight months, then done the exact opposite of what he was recommending at a single critical moment last summer, then you'd now have 20-40 times as much money as you probably ended up with. And so would I.

    Unfortunately, even people who get things completely wrong have trouble doing it reliably more than 50% of the time.*

    *Except Kofi Bofah. That dude's downright spooky.
    Oct 14, 2014. 02:13 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What You Must Be Prepared For If You Are A Microsoft Long: (Post Nadella Remarks)  [View instapost]
    I think you just might be executive material! How's your hair?
    Oct 13, 2014. 06:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies: What Went Wrong And What Investors Need To Know About The Bankruptcy Process  [View article]
    Well, I was originally going to say "lotto ticket," but that seemed overly pessimistic. :)
    Oct 13, 2014. 05:03 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies: What Went Wrong And What Investors Need To Know About The Bankruptcy Process  [View article]
    "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

    CA, if any of your money is still in the stock, then you ARE still making a bet. That's not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, just a true thing. It's true of all stocks at all times, not just this stock in this circumstance.

    It's perfectly reasonable, therefore, to ask whether it's a good bet. The answer depends on what you think the odds of the various potential outcomes are, based on the limited information currently available. Again, this is pretty much like every other stock, except that the information supply is much more limited in this situation than it is in most, making it that much harder to accurately assess the odds.

    To me, this looks like high risk of losing everything/high payoff in the event that you don't. Pretty much like putting your money on a single number at the roulette wheel. Bets should be sized accordingly. :)
    Oct 13, 2014. 04:04 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What You Must Be Prepared For If You Are A Microsoft Long: (Post Nadella Remarks)  [View instapost]
    There's a pretty simple solution here that would make all concerned come out smelling like roses.

    A few years back, Microsoft gave upward salary adjustments to any of its programmers that it found were statistically being underpaid relative to local market rates. (The main impetus for doing this was that Amazon was on a hiring frenzy in Seattle at the time; it had driven up the market rate for those skills and people were leaving.) They didn't set out to pay them more than the market at large; they just tried to bring them to parity.

    If I were Nadella, I would simply announce that Microsoft had decided to lead the way in narrowing the gender gap by comparing the salaries of each of its female employees (on an individual basis) to whatever the company's average salary was for people doing their same job at a similar level of performance (based on the past couple years' performance reviews, say), and giving a salary adjustment to anyone whose pay was found to be below the general level of their peers. This would achieve the stated goal of ensuring that women were paid equally to men performing similar work, garner massive positive media buzz, cause Microsoft to be touted as a model for how the tech industry in general ought to be addressing the problem, and even allow Nadella to stand by his commentary that -- at least at his company -- the system would do the right thing for you even if you didn't personally speak up about it.

    It would cost money, but not in a huge way, since the extra spending would only occur in cases where somebody actually needed to be brought up to the norm. It wouldn't attempt to adjust the actual hiring rates of women vs. men, which, as someone noted above, is a much thornier issue that has a lot more to do with who is applying for those jobs in the first place. It would simply say: If you do get hired here, you won't be underpaid simply on the basis of your gender. Do your job well and you'll get paid the same as everyone else who is doing that job well. Bad buzz obliterated; right thing arguably done. Lemons, lemonade.
    Oct 13, 2014. 03:42 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies: What Went Wrong And What Investors Need To Know About The Bankruptcy Process  [View article]

    An indignant tone does not, in and of itself, win an argument. Sorry.

    Gutierrez was selling shares when Mesa was first getting off the ground, before it ever got off the ground, and at all points between then and now. For this all to have been a clever scam would have required him to see the end coming before he could even see the beginning coming -- i.e. the entire deal with Apple and build-out of the Mesa facility in the first place would have to have been a knowing sham that he'd set up just to cash out, after approximately four years of what appeared to have been reasonably sound acquisitions and strategic decisions intended to diversify the company beyond solar and (recently) make it less dependent on lumpy, sporadic equipment revenues. The degree of accurate foreknowledge and planning skills that would be required to pull off such a scam beggars the imagination; if the guy was THAT good, he could have made far more money by simply putting those skills to work making the Apple project succeed.

    The unfortunate thing about conspiracy theories is that they always make the alleged conspirators look like complete geniuses, while making the people promulgating the theory look like complete idiots. THINK: How likely is it, really, that the sequence of events you're positing was what actually happened? Are there any simpler explanations that can explain the same series of events in a way that relies less on anyone's possession of godlike foresight and more on simple human f*ck-ups? If so, that explanation is almost always the one to go with unless you get definitive evidence to the contrary.
    Oct 13, 2014. 03:01 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies: What Went Wrong And What Investors Need To Know About The Bankruptcy Process  [View article]
    The poster was referring to known and well-tested structural and optical properties of sapphire, and comparing them to known and well-tested optical and structural properties of Gorilla Glass. Anyone with access to the necessary equipment and materials can repeat those same tests and observe those same results. THAT'S what makes it a fact, if you're unclear on the meaning of that word.

    This does NOT imply that the opinion which the original poster derived, in small part, from those facts is, itself, a fact. It's quite debatable, actually. The optical difference between sapphire and Gorilla Glass is not large. There are a number of ways to work around the comparative brittleness of sapphire, including laminating thin sheets of it onto less brittle materials, possibly even including Gorilla Glass. The practicality of doing this really comes down to whether, in any given situation, the extra scratch resistance provided by the sapphire justifies the additional work and cost, which isn't something chemistry and physics alone can answer.

    I didn't say the original post was correct. I just said you were arguing with the wrong part of it.

    P.S. If you are or were a GTAT investor, as I was, then we both already did bet a lot of money on Gorilla Glass being replaced by sapphire. If you didn't notice, we lost.
    Oct 10, 2014. 04:41 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies Value Exceeds The Market Price  [View article]
    If I were a party to a contract whose terms I was unable to fulfill, I would no doubt consider it to be "oppressive" and "burdensome" as well.

    That might or might not indicate that my inability to fulfill the contract was the other party's fault.

    Did Apple take away your teddy bear when you were a child or something? What's with all the rage?
    Oct 10, 2014. 04:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment