Finger in the wind decision-making
What's a journalist to do these days? It's very hard to get a straight story from anyone regarding whether the U.S. truly is in a THAT WHICH CANNOT BE NAMED AND BEGINS WITH "R." In fact, FierceTelecom's Dan O'Shea is trying to determine where things stand in the telecoms market, the same way CNBC Moneyline and AP-Ipsos in their respective broader markets. He is doing a straw poll.
Telecom service providers for the most part reported pretty solid fourth quarter earnings, while some equipment makers did well and others just managed to maintain positive numbers. The most common attribute across the board was that most telecom companies are tempering their outlooks for 2008. The upward trend of involuntary customer disconnects could have something to do with it, and more broadly housing market doldrums and ongoing recession fears may keep anyone from being too optimistic. Maybe the lingering effect of service provider and vendor consolidation also is keeping the waters muddy. Is this all forming the recipe for another downturn?
We want to know what you think. Take our brand new poll asking if the telecom industry is headed for another downturn. And, please post any more extensive comments you might have about the financial health of the industry, and the direction in which you think various industry health indicators are pointing.
I spent a fair amount of time at the DEMO conference two weeks ago talking with other attendees about this subject. In hushed tones we would ask each other how things are going with our respective businesses and then almost conspiratorially assess whether a slowdown is coming -- or here -- or if a self-fulfilling prophesy is being trumpeted by the media, who are trying to figure it out so they can do their jobs and report on it.
An anonymous post to Dan's survey blog made me laugh:
"No real downturn but we will do our best to talk ourselves into one."
CNBC's Fast Money just posted a reader poll asking the same question. An recent AP-Ipsos poll documented that the consumers contacted fear the worst is already happening. My own informal surveys over the past month or so of corporate executives in the tech marketplace differ from this.
Here's hoping Dan O'Shea's poll and the Fast Money poll are more positive. And maybe, just maybe, we will get some concrete data to work with rather than having to resort to online polls and man-on-the-street interviews.