Death by Powerpoint at A. Schulman…

October 1, 2010

The last time we checked in on A. Schulman (SHLM), they were selling a fishing camp to their former CEO for a song. That disclosure, which was buried in a footnote, earned them the top prize in our annual “Footnote of the Year” contest in 2008. And it remains one of our favorite finds in the seven-plus years we’ve been digging through SEC filings.

As a result, we retain a soft-spot for the company. So when we saw that they were holding their first Investor Day in New York the other day, we decided to take a closer look. But we were quickly scared off by the 90-page Powerpoint attached to the 8-K. Seriously!

Since we weren’t actually at the event, we have no idea how many analysts and investors showed up. Whatever the number, it’s hard to believe that a 90-slide presentation held their attention. Even the folks doing the presentation must have gotten bored at some point.

We frequently do our own presentations to talk about Footnoted and FootnotedPro, so we know a thing or two about Powerpoint and we generally find that it takes about an hour to do 15-20 slides, depending on audience participation. So at that rate, getting through A. Schulman’s deck must have taken over four hours! Indeed, the event was scheduled from 8 am to 1 pm. One can only hope that coffee — and lots of it — was served!

Boring people with an overly long Powerpoint is almost as wrong as selling some asset (like a fish camp) to a top executive for a song!

Image source: Toonpool

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