Sonoma County News and Notes

As we are now buckling down to the challenges of 2014, I want to announce the start of my "Lunch and Learn" series. These events will be lunchtime workshops on specific topics of general business interest. The first of these is being held on February 13th at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building. I will be providing a Workshop on Time Management. This will be straight out of the Brian Tracy playbook, and I hope it will be of value. Lunch will be provided. You can register for the event at Eventbrite (Click Here to Register). I hope to do these on a regular basis and vary the location to allow other audiences to attend. If you are interested in a workshop on any topic just let me know. I can do them for you as well as for the general public.

Next topic is one that is a note of caution. In particular, I am hearing rather uncomfortable rumblings out of the Sonoma County Real Estate Market. If you recall, I posted about the Economic Overview last year. One note was that there is not a lot of new Single Family Home Construction. Well, last year the Mortgage folks were doing a lot of refinance loans. Given the changes in interest rates, this market is in decline for 2014. There will still be some refinances, but it will be a lot less than in the recent past. The available inventory had a significant chunk of investment buyers. This kept the Realtors afloat.

So, what happens this year. If there are only resales, then one needs to make sure that folks are connected to investors who will be selling the houses that they bought. But that is going to be a restricted market and I think it makes both the Mortgage folks and Realtors nervous. I am not seeing panic but concern. You should consider this an early warning signal. I will keep my ear to the ground and let you know how this is starting to play out.

Last week after I posted about Cyan, Calix also pre-announced Q4. They had a revenue drop of about the same amount as Cyan. The market hit Calix but not as hard as they did Cyan. Why is this? Calix is much larger than Cyan, about 4 times as large. From a percentage standpoint, the miss was a much smaller percentage. Additionally, Calix has a much broader customer base than Cyan. The question for Cyan is going to be: "Where is the revenue until we get to SDN?" Calix does not have that problem. The one thing I will add to this is that neither Adtran nor Zhone pre-announced. This means that whatever issues Calix has may not be general market issues. There are not other public companies that compete with Calix, so we are talking about a small sample size. It might be that both Adtran and Zhone did a better job of managing expectations. Time will tell.

Before I close, I wanted to say that you guys always surprise me with what you read. Okay, I knew me posting about Tellabs getting sold would get reads. But a bit about my long and complicated relationship with Jorge Valdes? Really? If you are expecting me to sling mud, then you will be disappointed. Jorge and I fought about a lot of things. But I consider him a friend and someone that I trust. Our relationship has had its ups and downs, but it has endured. He knows that if he needs my help that he can call me. I feel I could do the same. Anyway Friday, I want to talk briefly about succession plans. The reason is that someone asked about mine when I was at AFC. So, I will tell you about it.


Jim Sackman
FocalPoint Business Coaching
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