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Fake Analyst

9:00 AM -- An apparently fake analyst named Joe Herrick has sneaked into quarterly earnings calls at least seven times in the last three weeks, according to an amusing Wall Street Journal story yesterday.

Herrick always asks a vacant question involving lean manufacturing and Six Sigma. It's vague enough that CEOs sometimes try to answer it. But why, the WSJ headline asks, would someone do this?

Assuming Herrick is fake, he's doing a kind of culture jamming -- making fun of CEOs (and Wall Street) through their own jargon. It's less a practical joke and more a drawn-out type of performance art. (Or, if you prefer, a less damaging sort of vandalism.)

That Herrick is a prank occurred to the WSJ, but the paper then goes on to quote an analyst saying, "If he was spoofing, I would hope he'd be funnier."

See, that's wrong. I'm guessing Herrick is coming at this from an outsider's perspective, meaning Wall Street isn't supposed to get it. That the media doesn't either is icing on the cake. Some blog commenters have suggested Herrick needs to be more absurdist, but that, too, misses the point.

I find myself hoping the guy starts showing up on tech calls.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

digits 12/5/2012 | 3:47:34 PM
re: Fake Analyst I'm guessing this person doesn't start his question with the phrase "Great quarter guys" -- if he did, he'd be exposed a bona fide analyst...
jjtong 12/5/2012 | 3:47:29 PM
re: Fake Analyst In fact he does open that way -

"Congratulations on the solid numbers -- you always seem to come through in challenging times",he said to Leo Kiely, president and chief executive officer of Molson Coors Brewing Co., on Feb. 12, convincingly parroting the obsequious banter common to the calls.

digits 12/5/2012 | 3:47:24 PM
re: Fake Analyst Oh, that is class.....

Is it too late for this person to run for office?
nanobaud 12/5/2012 | 3:47:20 PM
re: Fake Analyst So what is a 'fake' analyst? Is there some certification board? A special degree required? Seems somewhat akin to the phrase 'flawed computer simulation'. Not trying to bash professional, experienced, full-time analysts, but where do you draw the line?
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