Great interview. Thanks for sharing.
I looked at some of the related videos. A presentation by a Ford executive highlighted just how much information goes into making cars today. In order for their world wide network of suppliers to input and have access to the wealth of data, the systems must necessarily rely on the WWW.
As Nicholas Negroponte highlighted, bits about bits are often more valuable than the original information itself. That’s the kind of “meta data” that XPO Logistics and similar information companies deal in. That’s what makes XPO such an interesting investment.
Jacobs is obviously very knowledgeable and extremely well informed. I’ve mentioned before, in that I’ve always struggled with financial analysis (primarily because analysts tend to make it far more complex than it needs to be), I’ve always relied on my ability to evaluate the business.
I don’t claim to have had outstanding success, I’m just saying this has been my process. You may have noticed that during this interview, Jacobs was not asked about nor did he volunteer any XPO specific numbers. He did provide some numbers, but they were big, global, opportunity numbers about the overall size of the expediting business. That’s about as far as I would usually venture.
I thought it was a really good, informative interview as far as it went. I only wish the man giving the interview knew more about the business he was asking about. He seemed to struggle through the entire interview, even with the questions written out on note cards.
I wish he had asked about the potential of Amazon’s disruptive drone delivery technology on the last mile business. One can imagine a host of different scenarios as to how this might play out - all the way to spinning it off as a separate business - but no such questions were asked.
Or, based on my experience at my former aerospace employer, how about long-haul, intermodal opportunities for special handling and outsized cargo? But, no such questions were asked.
Does XPO a significant opportunity with perishable goods, i.e., produce from Mexico, currently supported by large numbers of independent truckers? But no such questions were asked.
There were a host of questions about the business that were never asked. There were also a lot of questions about the competitive landscape that were not asked, although Jacobs did at least allude to the fact that there was competition for XPO.
So, as I said, I felt the interview showed Jacobs to be well in command of the information relevant to the business he’s in, but the interview was also strikingly shallow.