Street Acts

Street Acts have always intrigued me. You travel to nearly any city in the world and on the weekends, the street acts will emerge. You see things ranging from "humans posing as statues", to juggling, to magicians. Each person expressing their own creativity and individuality. At its core, street acts are about deception. Said a different way, they tease the observer into believing something that is not actually as it appears. Its a craft of illusion and decption, which is part of what attracts interest.

As I digested Oracle's recent earnings call, I could not get this thought out of my head: Oracle is a street act in corporate America. It's all about deception and illusion and accordingly, its very hard to make sense of. As most readers would know, in Oracle's most recent quarter, they reported their first shortfall in revenue guidance in a decade. Yes, decade. There was weakness in all product categories, in the US/Europe/Japan, etc, etc. It's hard to find any good news when you miss expectations by $400M.

However, the real street acts began in the Q&A. I share you the transcript here, courtesy of the always reliable Seeking Alpha:

Richard G. Sherlund - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division
Larry, could you reconcile these numbers you gave for Exadata and Exalogic? I think it adds up to 1,000 or 1,100. Didn't you say 3,000 just recently? And I think the company originally guided to 2,000.

Lawrence J. Ellison
Yes, that's right.

Richard G. Sherlund - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division
Well, could you elaborate? Is it turning out to be a harder sell? Are you trying to figure out how to sell it?

Lawrence J. Ellison
No. I think we're going to be -- we're growing Exadata at about -- look, the growth rate is around 150% Exadata and Exalogic even faster.

Richard nailed it. The numbers and the discussions of Exadata over the last year have been a constantly moving target; a corporate Street Act. Unfortunately, no other analyst was willing to pile on. Perhaps that is because we all know one thing about Street Acts: as much as they deceive (and often delight) us, they only last so long. And once that act has run its course, there will simply be a new one.

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