Trendspotting CEOs

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk–all are considered visionaries because their products have changed the lifestyles of mass market consumers.

In some cases, the technology was new and a better alternative to the existing mouse trap. In other situations, it was purely a function of price and value.



In either scenario, these leaders had a different vision of how the future would look–and it turned out to be accurate.  

The takeaway is that in many parts of society the ability to peer into the future is a crucial part of leadership.

Talking Straight

For instance, General Electric (GE) and Honeywell (HON) reported their earnings and projected lower growth projections for 2017.  

The leaders of these giants noted the drag on earnings from the lower gas prices and profits within the energy industry.  

Both are considered leaders in the heavy industrial sector so their perspective is viewed as credible by institutional investors.  


In the technology arena, Netflix (NFLX), led by Reed Hastings, had a strong outlook and blew out expectations for new subscribers in a recent earnings release.   

Microsoft (MSFT), now in the capable hands of Satya Nadella, exceeded estimates on the strength of its cloud services performance and shift to emphasize data services to large enterprises.  

Note the theme of seeing consumption change among viewers for video and large companies wanting more flexibility of technology usage.  


Doing strategic deals is another way of seeing into the future.

If you recall, Microsoft is also in the midst of closing the purchase of LinkedIn (LNKD), also founded by a unique visionary, Reid Hoffman.    

AT&T (T) is buying Time Warner for more than $80 billion.

Time Warner (TWC), the owner of treasured properties like HBO and CNN, is a crown jewel company, in my opinion.  

It is why AT&T desires it as it can secure one of a kind content.  

Merger Mania

Putting on the investment banking and analyst hats, the combined company could handle the debt load, in my opinion.  

The big question is going to be whether it will win regulatory approval from the politicians, in my view.     

The next potential blockbuster deal in my opinion may be in the chip area, with Qualcomm (QCOM) buying NXP Semiconductor (NXPI) in a reported $35 billion dollar deal.  

The key is Qualcomm sits on $30 billion in cash overseas, and figures it can use the cash because NXP is Dutch-based.

Finally, in the fashion world, it is rumored Coach may merge with British icon, Burberry, to create a $20 billion fashion powerhouse.  

The currency weakness of the pound makes that one more attractive, and there would be plenty of potential to streamline the supply chains and duplication of departments.

Photo Credit: Helge Thomas via Flickr Creative Commons