In 2002, I was part of a team that created and launched a new product offering to the financial markets. The product category, corporate earnings call transcripts, already existed. Our twist was to offer the full transcripts immediately after the earnings conference call concluded.
As we discuss in this chapter, you can often create a new market niche, and a competitive edge, by delivering faster than everybody else, by doing in real time something that normally takes much longer.
My client in 2002 was Fair Disclosure Financial Network Inc. (FDfn), an outfit that transcribes corporate earnings conference calls and makes this information available in real time to subscribers around the world. FDfn had access to quarterly corporate conference calls (in which companies brief analysts and the media on their financial results) because U.S. securities law (Regulation Fair Disclosure) requires publicly traded companies to make earnings conference calls open to the public.
Before FDfn entered the market, there were two less-than-ideal ways to access this information: You could listen in on the conference call live or on tape (via a toll-free number or Webcast connection), or you could wait several days to get a transcript. Both ways had flaws. The calls themselves are long—an hour or more—and many people listening are waiting for specific information, such as commentary on the company's financial outlook over the next year. As dozens of major companies ...