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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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edl
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/24/04

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Calypte]
      #5996495 - 07/29/13 12:42 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I have noticed S&T is thin and getting thinner. I don't know what the advertising is telling us. I get lots of email these days trying to sell me Mars globes and boxed DVD sets of all the past S&T issues. I did notice the old Adorama ads disappeared a while ago, but I'm not sure why some ads would still be in Astronomy magazine.



Astronomy's circulation is several times greater than S&T's -- as David Eicher is happy to point out any time he speaks. Of course, I'm sure their rates are higher, too. S&T's "thickness" has waxed and waned over the years. It's certainly not as thick now as it was during the halcyon 1990s, but I happen to have at hand the July 1972 issue, which not only has fewer pages than the Aug 2013 issue (66 vs 86), but also much more page space is taken up with ads.


True, but wasn't the type smaller back then? I seem to recall a lot more words crammed into that small number of pages.

Best,
Ed L.


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Glen A W
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: WEST VIRGINIA USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: edl]
      #5996507 - 07/29/13 12:47 PM

Quote:

True, but wasn't the type smaller back then? I seem to recall a lot more words crammed into that small number of pages.

Best,
Ed L.




Yes, and a lot more with big letters. I quit S&T subscribing about ten years ago, when the back page piece was some foolish stuff by some woman talking about scopes and her former lovers. It was not crude, but I still did not like it, nor do I like their general informality. But to keep it on topic, it is interesting to trace things like Meade and Orion by looking back on the old issues, though I mostly read them for the articles - really! GW


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Glen A W]
      #5996613 - 07/29/13 01:28 PM

As I have said before and has been public information in the SEC filings, the CEO of Meade has been with the company since the ' 80s. And he was Diebels wingman until Diebel retired.

So, he knows the up and downs of the market.

About the only thing I would fault managent for would be not seeking a sale or merger much sooner. They have no space to negotiate now.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Glen A W]
      #5996641 - 07/29/13 01:44 PM

Quote:


The difficulty of the business area does not matter, I say again. They were hired to run this company in that line of business, a company which has existed for almost 40 years, and they ran it into the ground. The results speak for themselves.




My guess is that it was not poor management but rather the simple fact that the company was taken public and someone initially benefited from this move. In order to make the company look like something it wasn't to wall street and further increase the value of the stock, the company moved into selling a wide variety of low end equipment as a way to pump up their sales figures.

It looked good on paper but it was not sound business.

When looking for a cause, a reason, look at the money trail...

Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs (07/29/13 01:46 PM)


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EddWen]
      #5996644 - 07/29/13 01:46 PM

OK, so what's the deal with the new buyer loaning Meade the money to cancel the last offer? I mean, they wouldn't have done the cancellation without a bigger offer. Isn't this taking advantage? Or is that really it- they're so low on resources, they can't say no?

-Rich


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5996769 - 07/29/13 02:57 PM

They can't say no......

If Sunny backs out, that's probably what JOC will tell them too...doubtful that happens though, as I highly doubt the SEC will even bother opening the envelope about looking into denying the merger....there just isn't enough dollars to hardly pay the postage for the letter for them to bother with it. Meade, as it was, is toast........


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EddWen]
      #5997110 - 07/29/13 06:34 PM

Quote:

As I have said before and has been public information in the SEC filings, the CEO of Meade has been with the company since the ' 80s. And he was Diebels wingman until Diebel retired.

So, he knows the up and downs of the market.

About the only thing I would fault managent for would be not seeking a sale or merger much sooner. They have no space to negotiate now.




Bingo! There were so many opportunities for this and several of us commented as such during those days, say back in 2008 and earlier. This really isn't an "I told you so" moment, however, because such decisions are difficult to arrive at and, with a public company, other influences come into play. Meade had groups like the Hummingbird Fund taking large stock positions and basically moving them in a different direction than a sale.

A great example of some of the pitfalls in being a publicly held company.


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jimb1001
sage
*****

Reged: 11/14/09

Loc: Florida
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Glen A W]
      #5997235 - 07/29/13 08:23 PM

Quote:

Quote:









You seem to be pushing this theme that Meade management failed due to hubris and is therefore to blame for all the company's troubles.

Its a tiny company in a tiny hobby, subject to all sorts of market pressures, your comparisons to ancient Rome notwithstanding.




None of that matters. They were running a company that was indeed in such a line of business. That is why they should have run it intelligently, instead of trying things like "diworse-ification" into rifle scopes by buying a bunch of brands, which had to be sold off later. The management of this outfit is a laugh. It was not clear over the years if they were seriously managing it or just pretending. They certainly did not seem to make any effort to clean house despite years of decline. The miracle is that they made it this long.

The difficulty of the business area does not matter, I say again. They were hired to run this company in that line of business, a company which has existed for almost 40 years, and they ran it into the ground. The results speak for themselves.

I suggest anyone who has not read it look into Ed Ting's excellent multi-part saga as a typical example of how Meade did business. I experienced this kind of farce myself, as did a friend of mine. I give Meade credit - they were willing to try to help a customer. But just how much money was going down the drain on warranty claims which never seemed to get resolved? http://www.scopereviews.com/178ed.html

Glen




Sure, it's easy to say they were hired to be successful, and they weren't.

If you stop there, all you're doing is stating the obvious.

Intellectual curiosity spurs most of us to want a deeper understanding.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5997295 - 07/29/13 09:01 PM

OK, so what's this deeper understanding we've missed in 75 pages? I've learned a lot from the other input. If you've got something, now's the time and this is the place for it.

-Rich


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jimb1001
sage
*****

Reged: 11/14/09

Loc: Florida
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5997395 - 07/29/13 10:19 PM

Quote:

OK, so what's this deeper understanding we've missed in 75 pages? I've learned a lot from the other input. If you've got something, now's the time and this is the place for it.

-Rich




This is what you wrote a page back:

"Rick, Good memory- I had forgotten about those pages of ads. It really is amazing how influential a few pages of glossy full color ads can be at forming what is clearly for some a very permanent impression of "We're the biggest. We're the best" entirely with paper.

This also shows how dangerous it is to read your own ads and form that impression, yourself.

-Rich"

I can only suggest you go back and reread some of these 75 pages, especially those posts dealing with:

Public Companies vs. boutique telescope manufacturers
Tech companies going public over the last 20 years
Mass market telescopes in direct sales channels
Closing of outlets, Discovery Store, for example.
Competing against Celestron/Synta

When you post that reading their own ads caused them to fail and then ask me to explain, again, the real reasons for failure, it tells me that if you haven't really been reading this thread or at least not absorbing the information.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5997451 - 07/29/13 10:50 PM

Jim, you've gotten ahead of us on the drinking game.

-Rich


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jimb1001
sage
*****

Reged: 11/14/09

Loc: Florida
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5997553 - 07/29/13 11:48 PM

Quote:

Jim, you've gotten ahead of us on the drinking game.

-Rich




That's your response?

Sorry, that's just not good enough. If you want to discuss your comments and my response I'll oblige, but this nonsense is childish.


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5997560 - 07/29/13 11:52 PM

I hope this isn't going to turn into a tit for tat between a few big ego users here. Please.

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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5997564 - 07/29/13 11:54 PM

Alright ! You guys aren't getting away with this .
I'm the official thread killer here and that's final !


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: frolinmod]
      #5997581 - 07/30/13 12:08 AM

It wouldn't be a first .

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5997588 - 07/30/13 12:14 AM

Jim, You keep reposting my own comments without an explanation except that apparently you don't agree with them because they fail to reach your conclusions (whatever those are). I wrote my own comments, so I'm already familiar with what I said.

I don't understand these demands I explain myself. I thought I was sufficiently clear.

How about you explain youself?

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

Jim, you've gotten ahead of us on the drinking game.

-Rich




That's your response?

Sorry, that's just not good enough. If you want to discuss your comments and my response I'll oblige, but this nonsense is childish.




Edited by Starhawk (07/30/13 12:19 AM)


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derangedhermit
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/07/09

Loc: USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: bicparker]
      #5997607 - 07/30/13 12:28 AM

Quote:

Quote:

As I have said before and has been public information in the SEC filings, the CEO of Meade has been with the company since the ' 80s. And he was Diebels wingman until Diebel retired.

So, he knows the up and downs of the market.

About the only thing I would fault managent for would be not seeking a sale or merger much sooner. They have no space to negotiate now.




Bingo! There were so many opportunities for this and several of us commented as such during those days, say back in 2008 and earlier. This really isn't an "I told you so" moment, however, because such decisions are difficult to arrive at and, with a public company, other influences come into play. Meade had groups like the Hummingbird Fund taking large stock positions and basically moving them in a different direction than a sale.

A great example of some of the pitfalls in being a publicly held company.



Perhaps of being a weak or self-interested CEO (or C-level team, or BoD) in a publicly held company. Yes, it's a tough decision. You've put 20+ years of your life into it; you may not have a career left afterward. But that's why the CEO has the job - to make the decisions, however difficult, that are in the best interest of all shareholders; and given that, to act in the best interest of the other stakeholders as much as possible.

He / they knew, or should have, years ago; the public info makes that incontrovertible. And knowing, take the actions they thought best. If the Board says no, we want to you to X instead of Y, and after you explain why that's wrong, they insist, and it's a make or break the company thing, then you tell them to find someone else to do their bidding and wish them the best.

Neither one of you two would have let this happen, nor would I. It sounds like he should have stayed as the wingman.

Of course you have to believe in yourself and be willing to walk away from a pile of money to do that. But again, that's the job. If it's common for CEOs to fall short of that, it still isn't an excuse.

Or if the BoD sees what needs to be done, and the CEO can't or won't get there, there are people who wind down operations for a living, and they can be good at it. In large corporations, there are managers who turn into specialists at this. They get moved around by upper management into overseeing trouble spots, and they are good at evaluating the situation, fixing it if it can be saved, and otherwise getting the key people out and shutting things down.

I've built up business areas and shut down business areas before, and found that doing each professionally, with skill, doing what needed to be done, was demanding yet rewarding. I admit it's very much a minority view among execs, who too often only think of sales growth, share price growth and personal bottom lines.

Lee (an out of work VP )


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: derangedhermit]
      #5997630 - 07/30/13 12:47 AM

If they had done this in 2008... There's an interesting thought. So many possibilities remained. And the best thing is, they really has options.

-Rich


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5997665 - 07/30/13 01:17 AM

I finally have a moment to chime in. Lot's of travel in the uber road trip, but very little clear skies to see. First, lots of monsoons in Arizona, and now the heavy marine layer in San Francisco. Joy! I am convinced where ever I bring my telescope I am bringing clouds to the local area.

Anyhow...

I don't think I would have sold Meade or merged them with another firm way back when, based on my experience.

First I would have done a business plan, and then a clean-up of operations. Push what is successful, get rid of other things, and things with potential but not ready for prime time put on hold for a later date. A good ol' house cleaning. Think of what Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple - lots of hard decisions, and removal of products and streamlining of cost centers. And while doing this, moved forward with a new, improved vision. I remember a stretch when I worked for Apple it was all about the shareholder and not the customer. We saw what happened with that attitude. Certainly making money for shareholders is important, however if you are losing customers, the shareholders will suffer in the end.

Meade going public made a few folks initially very rich, but in the end it was a deadly move for the "entity" of Meade.

I would still try to streamline the company - make it leaner and focused, and keep to what worked and what will work today and the future, however their debt is substantial enough I am not too certain this could be pulled off.

Still, I like Meade. Nice folks there. And I am still happy with their products in spite of the cloudy weather...grrrrrrr


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5997674 - 07/30/13 01:26 AM

Don't worry. It's lean alright.

-Rich


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