You’re probably tired of reading about it, too. For years I’ve been writing about the mighty little company that could, that possibly still can. MicroVision is a story stock that has been less like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and more like the boy that cried wolf. Though in the case of MVIS it is more like repeated cries that someone’s spotted the pot of gold, only to find it as ephemeral as the rainbow. Yesterday they released quarterly earnings in a quarter that had the promise of a new CEO, a new strategy, and approaching profitability. At the end of today, the stock was trading at less than a dollar. Like I said, tiring.
Investing is easy if you have good luck. Investing is easy to give up if you have bad luck. Regardless of luck, investing remains one of the paths in the US to a more comfortable lifestyle. If your money can make money while you’re making money, that’s a powerful ally. That’s why, despite my Triple Whammy (unhappy seventh anniversary), I continue to invest in the stock market – and lottery tickets.
Investing is eased if management is transparent and communicative. The more an investor knows, the more likely the committed assets are an investment rather than a speculation. Unfortunately, MicroVision is known for a culture of opaque communications, obfuscation, and generally frustrated shareholders. The new CEO and the new report don’t seem to have changed that. As one respected redditor commented;
“It’s “hide the pea” crap like this which causes some people to think they’re purposefully trying to look as bad as they can.” – geo_rule on reddit
In general, deciphering arcane corporate communiques can be difficult. That difficulty is eased with clear financial statements and obvious earnings. The better things are, the more reason to make that clear. Conversely, when things aren’t clear, people suspect things aren’t going well.
I’m tired of trying to understand MicroVision’s communications. I wonder how many hours I’ve spent doing my due diligence while possibly being undermined by obfuscation. I’ve been trying to see where the rainbow is headed while someone’s been either burying the gold or putting on a light show.
The effort has seemed worth it because I’m convinced of the technology’s potential, the possible market size, and the large niches available to the various competitors. There’s more than enough for everyone. The effort has seemed less worth it as dilution and a reverse split devalued my fractional ownership and number of shares. The effort has also seemed worth it because my interpretation of management has frequently been that the pot of gold, or at least commercial viability, is only a few months or a year or two away. That remains the case.
Of course, it is impossible to reach the end of the rainbow unless it is in a bubble that fits on your hand.
Management has convinced me that profitability is possible in 2019, that several customers are committed to the company’s technology and products, and that the risk of failure is dramatically reduced. Good. I’m also convinced that a buyout is more likely. The rhetoric seems to have shifted from “sticking with it to the end” to “turning down offers because they weren’t attractive enough.” Attractive enough for 51% is probably not attractive enough for me.
The company did well this last quarter, I think. It’s hard to tell. The company’s potential remains strong, but I can’t tell if the details of their strategy have significantly changed or if it was only the rhetoric.
I write this, not to vent (well, a little). Okay, a lot. This blog is about personal finance. Personal finance is personal which is why it can inspire emotions. Those emotions are something to be aware of. Too many people avoid thinking about their finances because they fear math, or think it is too complicated. Investing can be made simple in various ways. My way isn’t an example for everyone because I don’t mind some complexity. Supply and demand. If investors avoid complicated stocks, there’s less demand for them, which suggests I can buy value for a discount. If the companies succeed, people find reasons to learn more, or simply buy more. When that demand arrives, I have a supply to sell. It worked for years and decades – until that dreaded Triple Whammy mentioned above.
I’ll continue to hold MVIS shares because, as I wrote above, the potential is attractive. The company’s success has more to do with smart customers and less to do with whether I understand MicroVision’s management. I might even buy more, and may even buy a smartphone with one of their projectors embedded in it. (MoviPhone) But, I do so with less certainty. I will also spend less time tracking the stock and the fascinating yet somewhat moot discussions.
This blog is based on my book, Dream. Invest. Live. That last word is important. Live. I wonder how much living I gave up trying to understand a company that doesn’t want to be understood. I’ll wonder a bit less, hopefully live a bit more, and hope (not an investment strategy) that the company and the stock succeed sufficiently to help me live my dreams.
There may not be any rainbows but the Sun is shining (as it has for billions of years). I have some errands and chores. I think I’ll put stocks aside, get out my bicycle, go for a ride, and have fun getting something done.