We recently announced our second quarter earnings and I was elected (conscripted?) to make a live appearance on CNBC just before 6 pm on a Wednesday to answer questions about our performance. I thought I would describe this experience here on my blog.
First, my Corporate Communications teammates advised me that I must be at the local studio before 5:10 p.m. While being on television may be somewhat glamorous, going to a studio is about as far from glamour as you can get. To get to the NBC studio I needed to go to Bayside Mall in downtown Miami. I had to ask a mall policeman where the studio was. It turned out to be adjacent to the parking lot in a nondescript building with no sign, other than one that says only authorized employees are permitted in the area. I had to guess which door to knock on and door number two did the trick. There were two ladies working in a dimly lit and cluttered office space.
I sat there and was eventually joined by Tracy Quan, our Director of Corporate Communications. After a while we were ushered into a room barely larger than a normal bathroom, full of monitors and wires and dark except for a spotlight shining on a chair. The man in the room “miked” me and stuck an earphone in my ear. With the earphone I could sort of hear the dialogue on the show up in New York. The personalities on the show seemed to be having an uproarious time dissing the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. They just would not let it go. Meanwhile, the studio doesn’t provide makeup so Tracy took out her own supply and put some kind of powder on my forehead. The main purpose of this powder seemed to be to remind me that I should have more hair.
Every once in a while a producer in New York checked in with me through the earpiece to see if I was still alive. I guess it would be embarrassing for the show if I would not answer when they said hello on the air. Finally at 5:50 pm as I was getting nervous about making it home for my table tennis lesson (priorities!) the piece started. After the host Melissa Lee said hello, her first question or statement was about how the market reacted favorably to our earnings announcement because of our cost control. Since there are only nanoseconds between when she stops talking and I have to start talking, I was thinking already while she was talking that while cost control was indeed a factor in our successful quarter, so was the fact that our revenue has been coming in in a stable and consistent manner. So, when it was my turn to speak I acknowledged her statement on cost control and then said what I wanted to say about revenues.
The whole conversation lasted about two minutes. Because our team runs through a press conference’s worth of potential questions with me beforehand, it always seems like the actual interview ends abruptly and after a very small subset of the potential questions. Two minutes, done.
By the time I got home I had five or six emails on my blackberry from a very diverse group of my friends from around the world. Doing a CNBC interview is a good way to find out who is watching television.
Here is the video if you’d like to see it.