Stop Letting Quarterly Numbers Dictate Your Strategy

by David Hersh

In 2008, as the CEO of a software company that had just missed its target for the second quarter in a row, I was so intent on hitting our fourth-quarter revenue number of $8 million—and so scared for my job—that I promised the company I would get a tattoo of the number somewhere on my body if we hit it.

No single metric has more drama surrounding it than quarterly revenue. Make it, and you’re a hero. Miss it, and you may not have a job. But beneath the drama lies real danger. In my experience, nothing has done more long-term damage to promising young companies than focusing on quarterly revenue.

For public companies, the issues surrounding the “beat or miss” quarterly ...

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