Alphabet at Citi Conference Notes

Diane Greene – Senior Vice President-Google Inc.

Now “with every business becoming a data business”

“Cloud was originally a place for startups, a place for surplus capacity, sort of a cost savings thing. And now with every business becoming a data business, the Cloud, people are moving to the Cloud to be secure and they’re moving to the Cloud to gain competitive advantage.

Cloud was focused on startups and now its focused on enterprise

“Sure. I think when I came in we were mostly focused on startups. And obviously, the enterprise opportunities, at least, the slide deck, I mean the enterprise opportunities what we are going after. And we’ve made huge strides. So we had to really get all the table stakes functionality and things like identity and access controls and networking configurations and all the compliance and regulatory. So we got that done. That’s – it’s all there. Any enterprise customer can be fully deployed on us now. And then we have to build out the go-to-market, which – certainly it’s the direct sales force and an immense number of customer engineers, Google quality customer engineers, which our customers value. We set up professional services. We set up an office of the CTO, Customer Reliability Engineering advances, we set up a lot. And then it was partnering because we really – the most important thing is our ecosystem”

What is the Kubernetes?

“we want Kubernetes to run extremely well on-premise, to run extremely well in every Cloud. We are pretty certain that it’s going to run the best in our cloud.”

Some examples of how companies are implementing machine learning

“we are working with basically every customer on machine learning. And we can even bring them into our advance system labs and work with them. The public customers I can talk about are like Airbus that did use the vision to build a model to take the clouds out of their images. Something they’ve never been able to do in 20 years or Ocado one of the biggest online retailer in the UK, they’re based in the UK. And they were able to use our machine learning to detect customer sentiments and know how to handle calls in their call center or FamilyMart over in Japan used – it’s a huge chain of neighborhood grocers where they stock at three times a day and they can – they are using our analytics and machine learning to figure out how to stock things to predict what to do.”

We are investing heavily in cloud but we’re partnering with companies like SAP and Salesforce

“we are hiring incredibly aggressively. Alphabet is investing in Cloud. So it’s we are not sort of saying, oh, we’re done with our sales force and they are very Googley. We are building out a serious enterprise sales force. But I would argue that Cloud demands are different approach. It’s a very – if you think about what’s going on when a company moves to the Cloud, this is something they had in-house where they run it all and now they’re just building these assembling almost these applications and putting them in containers and we’re kind of doing everything else. That’s where it’s going. And so we need to partner with them.”

Built our own “TPU” for use in the cloud

” we have a lot of GPUs in Google Cloud, and we work very well with NVIDIA. And the TPU, so Google does an immense amount of machine learning internally as well as externally. And so for the big data machine learning, training and using the models, we saw an opportunity to build a custom chip that would give an order of magnitude performance advantage, which actually saves us a lot of money and also lets us do a better job on the machine learning because you could turn things around so quickly. And then it’s natural to put it in our cloud for our users. So the really exciting thing about Google Cloud is we now have a vehicle to take Google’s really ongoing technical innovations and share them with the world with every company and every geography of every size. That’s pretty exciting. And so it’s a natural thing to share the TPUs and we’ll also take advantage of all the innovations coming out of NVIDIA as well.”

Alphabet 1Q17 Earnings Call Notes

Sundar Pichai – Alphabet, Inc.

Transitioning to an AI first company

” I’m really happy with how we are transitioning to an AI-first company. The Google Assistant is one of our first steps towards that future. This quarter, we brought the Assistant to your wrist with Android Wear 2.0, announced that it’ll soon come to Android TV, and began rolling it out to hundreds of millions of people with Android phones running Nougat and Marshmallow. We also continue to announce new integration partners for the Google Assistant, so you can now ask it to do things like dim the living room lights. Stay tuned for more to come.z’

Advances in machine learning are making many Google products better

“Advances in machine learning are helping us make many Google products better. One example from this quarter is the launch of parking predictions in Google Maps. Beyond that, we continue to set the pace in machine learning and AI research. We introduced a new technique for training deep neural networks on mobile devices called Federated Learning. This technique enables people to run a shared machine learning model while keeping their underlying data stored locally on mobile phones. DeepMind is bringing AlphaGo to China in May, pairing AI with the world’s best players at the Future of Go Summit. And it’s very exciting to see the incredible things that developers and researchers are building on the TensorFlow platform. There are more than 6,000 GitHub projects and counting.”

There’s an understanding that we have pivoted to be a deep enterprise company

“In general, I think there is a very strong recognition that we are have pivoted to being a deep enterprise company, and our conversations are very strategic. We are engaging at the highest levels within companies. And so, overall, I can see qualitative lead and momentum there. When we are in the middle of deals, we find we are very competitive, and there are areas where customers perceive us as best-in-class already. So it’s been exciting to see.”

AI will help make text to speech much much better over time

“Now, artificial intelligence will help us push all that further. Just to give an example, we will make text to speech much, much better over time. Yesterday, we announced our Neural Machine Translation is launching in nine new languages. So all that starts accruing to the Assistant, and I think we’ll overall improve the customer experience pretty dramatically. We’ll talk about all this a lot more at Google I/O, so stay tuned.”

Google 4Q16 Earnings Call Notes

Ruth Porat – Alphabet, Inc.

Sundar Pichai – Alphabet, Inc.

Computing is moving from a mobile first to AI first architecture

“First, machine learning and access to information. As I’ve shared before, computing is moving from a mobile-first to AI-first with more universal ambient and intelligent computing that you can interact with naturally, all made smarter by the progress we are making with machine learning. 2016 was the year that this became central to who we are as a company and the products that we built. We had more than 350 launches powered by machine learning across areas like search, maps, messaging and Google Play.”

The year that mobile shopping went mainstream

“We had another successful holiday season where we saw two clear trends. First, this was the year that mobile shopping went truly mainstream, with shoppers using phones as their door to the store to locate nearby retailers, find promotions and comparison-shopped. We recently introduced promoted places in Google Maps, helping advertisers stand out with branded location icons, showing promotions and live updates of popular times right when someone’s looking for it.”

I think we’re now competing in areas which we have differentiation

“I think as I said in my remarks, overall, 2017 I expect to have a lot of momentum because we have moved well beyond the table stakes. Now, we are really competing on areas which we think we have differentiation. I talked about data analytics and machine learning, security and so on. So I think we are well-positioned. The momentum when we look at the numbers internally and as well as the traction we see in competitive situations, I definitely think we are going to have a great year and hopefully in the next conference coming up, Diane and team will share a lot more details.”

Computing increasingly embedded in many things

“The thing which I get excited about is computing is increasingly moving rather than just one device which is a dedicated computing device to being there for users in their context and you’ll see computing increasingly embedded in many things, and we have a comprehensive strategy. ”

Alphabet at Credit Suisse Conference Notes

Sridhar Ramaswamy – Senior Vice President, Ads and Commerce of Google Inc.

Machine learning has been an integral part of our system since 2003. New methods have come along.

“machine learning has been an integral part of the ad system pretty much since the time I joined. And gosh that was like 2003. And as new ways of machine learning whether it is algorithm based on boosting or more recently algorithm based on deep learning and neural network have been developed. We are often either an early adopters of this technology. And so deep learning and neural networks now are an integral part of how ads are served both on search and on display. ”

Trying to figure out how to run ads with maps

“It’s still super early. We are very conscious of the need to be again very thoughtful about user experience and user value. And efforts announced and some of the reporters were like oh are you going to show ads that are driving direction that might be distracting. So we are still iterating on the format. We are running a number of experiments. It’s pretty early to say anything definite about it. But it is an area that we’ll continue to invest in.”

As we move to a voice driven world, the days of three top text ads are a thing of the past

“We are keeping an open mind about the kind of monetization opportunity that they are going to be. I think it can range from being purely transactional meaning we make it convenient for you to fulfill a transaction with this assistance or it can involve promotion. But one thing that we are all clear about is the days of three top text ads followed by 10 organic results is a thing of the past in the voice driven world. So we are very much keeping an open mind on what this needs to be and focusing much more on what’s the consumer experience, it’s scale, we’ll figure that as we talk about.”

Our way to fight adblock will have to start with making a better ad experience

“Yes. It is a real problem. And as you correctly point out it is consumer-ish. I think there are still too many site in which the ad experience is pretty ad. Whether its ads that start auto playing a video or ads that completely color up a screen and you can’t quite find the ad, all of us have been through it and it can be very frustrating. So we announced recently just a couple of months ago that we are going to be a part of coalition that the IAB in New York which is a US advertising body, we are starting, this is coalition for better ad. We are working with them to come up with a quantitative standard for what an acceptable ad experience is going to be. And then we want to work with a larger ecosystem of browsers for example to make sure that there is pressure and self regulation on the part of advertisers and publishers to only lead on that consumer don’t find offensive. I think that is very, very sorely needed and we think that’s the right way out of this current problem. I think without self policing there is going to be more and more bad experiences and more and more consumers turning off ad kind of across the whole. And I think frankly all of us suffer because it is going to drive a lot of small publishers that are valuable site that you and I use on a regular basis out of business. ”

Alphabet (GOOG) Q2 2016 Earnings Call

Ruth Porat, CFO & Senior VP

Advertising especially mobile search is driving top line growth

“For the quarter, our consolidated revenue grew 25% in constant currency versus last year. Once again, the primary driver was the increased use of Mobile Search by consumers, benefiting from our ongoing efforts to enhance the Mobile Search experience. We also benefited from solid growth in Desktop and Tablet Search as well as continued strength in YouTube and programmatic advertising.”

Strong currency headwinds negatively impacting growth

“ Alphabet revenues by geography highlight both the strength of our business around the globe as well as the impact the currency headwinds continue to have on our non-U.S. business relative to last year. ”

They are carefully managing expenses while seeking to grow revenues long-term

“I’ve commented many times that our focus on long-term revenue growth does not give us a pass on managing expenses. We invest a lot of time and effort in assessing how to manage for revenue growth with the utmost respect for the resources deployed and a focus on getting the best return on those resources, recognizing that in some areas secular trends are creating margin headwinds.”

They seek to have full autonomous cars

“Self-driving cars is in our Other Bets area…We’ve self-driven over 1.6 million miles. And the focus here for us is we’re solving a really big need, safety, access, and city efficiency…Our approach is quite different from most others. We’re focused on fully-autonomous cars because in early testing we saw the risk of depending on drivers to remain engaged once you give them the option to switch off.”

Sundar Pichai – CEO, Google, Inc.

Mobile is the focal point presently

“The strength of the quarter is about Mobile. It’s transformed the way that people consume information, and Google’s products have become a central and much-loved part of their experience. Our investment in Mobile now underlines everything that we do today, from Search and YouTube to Android and advertising. Mobile is the engine that drives our present. And now to our deep investments in machine learning and AI, we are building the engine that will drive our future.”

While machine learning is their future

“…machine learning is the engine that will drive our future, and it’s already making our products better and helping users every day. In fact, more than 100 teams are currently using machine learning at Google, from Street View to Gmail to Voice Search and more. For example, in Search, we use a ranking signal called RankBrain, which relies on deep learning to improve results. It’s already enhancing the search experience in 40 languages. And based on user testing, RankBrain can accurately guess which results users will favor with about 80% accuracy. Advances like this help us make our search results even more relevant.”

Increasingly more people are turning to voice search

“Voice is obviously very, very exciting for us. I mentioned this at I/O. if you look at Android, the Google app on Android in the U.S., 20% of the queries are voice queries. So today in terms of evolving to a conversational assistant, we have a big head start…it’s incredibly exciting to see how people interact with voice differently from text. It’s more intuitive. It’s more personal, and it’s a bit more emotional and an engaging experience for users.”

Youtube usage is growing strongly especially on mobile

“On YouTube, at a high level I would say we don’t have any new metrics. But on mobile alone, as I’ve said before, we reach more 18-to-34 and 18-to-49s than any other TV network, broadcast or cable. And every indication we see is that the growth is very, very strong, being driven by mobile, and it’s growing globally as well. So overall, I think engagement is very, very healthy.”

Alphabet 1Q16 Earnings Call Notes

Ruth Porat – Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President

US revenue up 21% y/y

“U.S. revenue was up 21% year-over-year to $9.4 billion and down 9% versus Q4. UK revenue was up 15% year-over-year to $1.9 billion and flat sequentially. In fixed FX terms, the UK grew 21% year-over-year and 5% quarter-over-quarter. Rest of world revenue was up 14% versus last year to $9 billion and down 2% versus Q4.”

Operating income $5.3B

“On a GAAP basis, operating income was $5.3 billion, up 20% versus last year. The operating margin was 26%. Non-GAAP operating income was $6.8 billion, up 21% versus last year. The operating margin was 34%.”

Mobile continues to outperform

“what’s hopefully clear from the opening comments, is that Mobile continues to outperform. Desktop growth did pick up modestly in Q1, but, from opening comments, should be clear that Mobile Search revenue was up significantly.”

TAC is higher on mobile and mobile is growing at a faster rate

“And on your TAC question, as I’ve indicated a number of times already on the call, the TAC rate is higher on Mobile. Mobile’s growing at a faster rate and what you’re seeing here is a mix shift. So there is a delta between the two. But I think, importantly, we are benefiting from an important secular trend behind Mobile, and like the revenue dollars and the gross profit dollars that come as a result of that, and we’ll continue to innovate on mobile and are excited about the opportunity, in particular with all the changes that we continue to see in the way users use the phone and the opportunities.”

Sundar Pichai – Chief Executive Officer, Google, Inc.

We have just scratched the surface of what’s possible

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. And after 17 years, we have just scratched the surface of what’s possible. We are reinvigorated around this mission and, as you will hear, we are making solid progress across many of our products.”

Three main reasons why we’re ramping up cloud

“Just on the first one, I would say there are three points of inflection for us, and that’s why we are really ramping it up. The first is we’ve always been doing cloud. It’s just that we were consuming it all internally at Google, but as we have grown, really matured in terms of how we handle our data center investments and how we can do this at scale, we have definitely crossed over to the other side where we can thoughtfully serve external customers. So that’s the first point of inflection. The second point of inflection for us is as we’ve been investing in machine learning and AI for years, but I think we are at an exceptionally interesting tipping point where these technologies are really taking off. And that is very, very applicable to businesses as well, and so thoughtfully doing that externally, we view as a big differentiator we have over others. And third, is definitely Diane Greene coming in. And I think I want her to scale our efforts here thoughtfully when it is set up with a great leader who understands this space deeply. And so those are the three main reasons why we are significantly ramping up what we are doing there.”

Alphabet 4Q15 Earnings Call Notes

Alphabet (GOOG) Q4 2015 Results

Ruth Porat – Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President

“Other Bets” says something about Google’s psychology

“With a move to our new Alphabet structure, we conducted a detailed review of business opportunities and investment levels across Google and Other Bets. ”

Sundar Pichai – Chief Executive Officer, Google, Inc.

Over 1 B monthly active users in 6 properties

“six of our consumer products, Search, Android, Maps, Chrome, YouTube, and Google Play, all have over a billion monthly active users each. ”

We believe we lead the industry in AI

“the next wave will be powered by big advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, an area where we believe we lead the industry. Just last week, DeepMind published an incredible result, the first ever to master the game of Go with artificial intelligence. An amazing accomplishment, and I’m excited for the world championship in March.”

Machine learning already impacting products

“From image recognition in photos to eliminating email spam to better translation and voice recognition, our machine learning efforts are making a huge difference for people every day.”

Early innings for virtual reality

“It’s still incredibly early innings for virtual reality as a platform, and Cardboard is just the first step, but we are excited by the progress we have seen. Our partners have shipped over 5 million Google Cardboard viewers, and we recently teamed up with The New York Times on a virtual reality experience in which over 1 million Times subscribers received Cardboard. ”

YouTube reaches more 18-49 yo than any cable network in the US

“Not only does YouTube on mobile reach more 18 to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S., but the time people spent watching YouTube in the living room more than doubled in 2015.”

Tough to predict what happens with AI in five years, but making significant strides

“On AI, we are obviously seeing incredible progress in this field. We make great strides, and we start taking it for granted and look to the years ahead. It’s always tough to predict what happens over a five-year timeframe, but I do see us making significant strides. Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have predicted that we would be in a strong position to mount a serious challenge to the world champion in Go this year. So looking at the pace of progress, I think we will have AI in a form in which it benefits a lot of users in the coming years, but I still think it’s early days, and there’s a long-term investment for us.”

We’ve driven 1.3m miles autonomous vehicles

“Look, on the self-driving cars, we have an extraordinary tech team. We’ve been working on it for many years, and the focus is developing technology with a real emphasis on safety and understanding what it takes to build and operate fully autonomous vehicles. We continue to make great progress. We’ve now driven 1.3 million miles with important data regarding the safety and utility, and that’s what we’re really focused on. We’ve got prototypes on streets in two cities. So we’re continuing to execute against that and continuing to build it out.”

We continue to invest in Google

“What we achieved here by pulling out the two pieces is providing, obviously, greater visibility into what we’re investing within the Other Bets, but want to underscore that we continue to invest in Google. We’re in early innings in many areas. And I already referenced back to the framework we use, which is to continue to push the frontier within Google as well to adjacent areas.”

Alphabet 3Q15 Earnings Call Notes

10 years from now everything will be different again in ways no one can predict

“computing transforms people’s lives, we’ve gone from the PC revolution to the Internet revolution to the mobile revolution. And 10 years from now, everything will be different again in ways no one can predict. ”

Now indexing information that lives within apps

“We have now indexed more than hundred billion deep links within third-party apps. So if you’re looking for information that lives within an app will surface it as a result, and even give you an install link if you don’t already have it. ”

Our mission statement is incredibly broad

“I think we are fortunate to have an incredibly broad mission statement. Organizing the world’s information turns out to be something that has a lot of room ahead, we are still in the early days.”

In technology incrementalism leads to irrelevance

” one of the many very important statements from the founders that explains this framework is when they said in the letters some years ago and repeated since, incrementalism in technology leads to irrelevance and thus innovation is critical.”

There’s an appreciation that there needs to be prioritization of resources

“I think after a period of big expense buildup, there was an appreciation that we needed to manage the cadence of spend. And that’s what we’re doing and collectively we’re locked arm-in-arm to make sure that there’s resource prioritization.”

Alphabet allows for greater insight into Google

“Alphabet it gives us the opportunity to then provide some greater insight into the extraordinary operating performance within Google and breakouts you can see the investments that we’re doing and we’re working very tightly as a senior team here as we make that next step into this new environment in Alphabet.”

Mobile will eventually blend with desktop

“mobile is a computing paradigm is eventually going to blend with what we think of his desktop today as well. So overall it’s a shift in a computing paradigm, it’s not just form factors. And so overtime we see all of this is together. ”

Ad blockers are not new. It’s important to understand that ads fund all services that people use

“On the ad blocker stuff, it’s not a new phenomenon. I think it’s important to understand that ads today fund almost all the services which people use, including products like Google Search, Google Maps many, many third-party products. For publishers, it represents the majority of the revenue and I think users are okay with the contract and we need to make sure it works well. It’s also clear that that are areas where the ad experience is getting in the way, it affects performance, and so we as industry need to collectively do all that better. And so we are going to work hard to do that.”

We’re just scratching the surface on deep linking

“we’re beginning to scratch the surface in terms of how we get it information within apps. What’s been exciting to us is all of the indication show that when we provide these deep links. Users respond to them the same way they’ve done with links to websites and the model is working well.”

How do we broaden the nature of issues that we’re able to address?

“within other bets we have a pretty broad array of challenges, opportunities that are being tackled, as you know well from life sciences to driverless cars to what we’re doing in access and energy. And those we’re funding, we’ve got a very rigorous disciplined approach to looking at the metrics against which they’re performing and growing. But you used a term, when do they move into Google. And I wouldn’t assume that, that’s the plan. What we’re really looking at is how do we continue to broaden the nature of issues that we’re able to address.”

We want alphabet to be a magnet for entrepreneurs

“What we want with Alphabet is to be an extraordinary magnet, the best magnet for entrepreneurs, and to be an accelerant for their development. And to give them that the kind of environment where we can continue to thrive, and therefore build great businesses that generate tremendous returns as well for our stakeholders on top of solving big problems.”

The progress in machine learning has been dramatic in the last two years

“Machine learning is core transformative way by which we are rethinking everything we are doing. We’ve been investing in this area for a while. We believe we are state-of-the-art here. And the progress particularly in the last two years has been pretty dramatic. And so we are – we are thoughtfully applying it across all our products, be it search, be it ads, be it YouTube and Play et cetera. And we are in early days, but you will see us in a systematic manner, think about how we can apply machine learning to all these areas.”

JS Notes: AMZN, CBI, GOOG, CFX, MJN, GGG, HSY, SBUX, LAZ, VRSN

Jeremy S., an investment analyst here in Southern California, has started to contribute to Avondale’s company notes database. Below are quotes from some of the calls that Jeremy has read this week.

 

Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos highlights several characteristics of what makes an attractive business in the company’s annual report

“A dreamy business offering has at least four characteristics. Customers love it, it can grow to very large size, it has strong returns on capital, and it’s durable in time – with the potential to endure for decades. When you find one of these, don’t just swipe right, get married.”

Bezos cites Amazon’s unique culture as one reason it has been able to excel in the cut throat competitive landscape of retail

“We’ll approach the job with our usual tools: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, heartfelt passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and a willingness to think long-term.”

Bezos believes the Amazon Web Services cloud computing unit has decades of growth ahead of it

“Similar to the way I think about Amazon retail, for all practical purposes, I believe AWS is market-size unconstrained.   its current leadership position (which is significant) is a strong ongoing advantage.”

 

 

 

Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) CEO Phillip Asherman on how the decline in oil is affecting their energy infrastructure construction business 

“The volatility in the oil prices as we said at the end of last year when analyzing our potential pipeline of new awards we saw, I think at that time we said less than 5% of those new prospects that could be affected by changes in the oil pricing and that’s still our position.  We still see the petrochemical projects going forward.”

Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) CEO Phillip Asherman says the company, along with its construction partner Chioyda, is involved in about half of all the liquid natal gas (LNG) capacity build outs in the world

“As far as LNG, we’re well positioned to that particularly well with our collaboration with Chiyoda between the two of us we’ve probably been involved in probably 40% to 50% of the LNG capacity in the world.”

Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) CEO Phillip Asherman says the firm has benefitted in the labor market from the downturn in oil prices as they have been able to hire a large number of skilled workers 

“We are actually benefited from some of the changes in oil services and some of the offshore production platforms with reduction in force from much of that workforce. For example, many of the people that are involved in offshore production whether they be welders or engineers or other skilled crafts, the difference in rates are very nominal. The skill sets are same, so we’ve actually benefited from hiring those.”

 

 

 

Google (GOOGL) Chief Business Officer Omid Kordestani says 90% of commerce still takes place “off-line” which is an ongoing opportunity for e-commerce to capture additional market share 

“Mobile also enables us to help drive the 90% of commerce that still takes place off-line, which is a massive opportunity that are partners are really excited about.”

Google (GOOGL) Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette says ads served up on the Youtube platform offer a terrific return on investment for advertisers

“We’re just seeing a real acceleration at YouTube, and that’s why we thought it was important because we saw this change.  We tuned these ads to make sure that people want to watch them so that they are very effective, and when they do, then people watch a lot more of them. And so over the last quarter, over the last couple of quarters, we’ve seen the real takeoff.  The number [of advertisers] grew 45% in 2014. And all of the top 100 global brands have run TrueView ads over the past year.”

 

 

 

Colfax (CFX) CEO Steve Simms believes the company has a huge growth opportunity in front of it as China tries to clean up its air and pollution

“The passage of environmental legislation in China to take on the issues of particulate emissions throughout the country. As we’ve said before, those standards are to be passed at the very end of 2015, or early 2016. Our teams are now beginning to see inquiries on our response plan to that impending opportunity or pending opportunities.”

 

 

 

Mead Johnson (MJN) CEO Kasper Jakobsen says approximately 25% of the firm’s overall revenue is based in US dollars  

70% of our business is in emerging markets and more than 75% of sales in non U.S. currencies. Any change in exchange rates has a significant impact on our top line.”

Mead Johnson (MJN) CFO Charles Urbain sells the company is benefitting from a weaker Euro as a large percentage of their manufacturing base resides in the region

“A weaker euro helps to reduce the impact on our earnings. We have a large manufacturing operation in Europe that when combined with the relatively low local revenue base makes us a net beneficiary of euro weakness.”

 

 

 

Graco (GGG) Pat McHale sees strong growth for their products in the home and paint supply stores 

“In the first quarter both paint stores and home centers grew strong double digit. Our outlook for in the Americas for both of those segments is strong and we think that we’ll do better in the regions in the next nine months than we did in the last nine months.  The construction market in the U.S. is continuing to strengthen and we are riding that wave.”

 

 

 

Hershey (CEO) John Bilrey said his company saw growth slowing significantly in China

“Chocolate was one of the few categories in Chinese that grew in the first quarter although less than last year. In China, Hershey’s slightly outpaced the category and gained market share. However, the pace of growth slowed significantly.  Some of this softness is most likely due to government policy related to gifting, however macroeconomic news indicates things have significantly slowed and this could be impacting overall consumer confidence.”

Hershey (CEO) John Bilrey added that his company is likely to benefit from the urbanization trend in China 

“I think the structural changes favor CPG categories in terms of urbanization as well as a more consumer oriented economy versus exports, so I do see given to see that evolution, we’re structural, I think helps us.”

 

 

 

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schulz says the company intends on launching a new, super premium coffee brand 

“Our intent with the roastery from day one was to create and build a new ultra-premium coffee brand and business unit. The additional small batch coffee roasting capacity provided by the roasteries enabling us to source roast blend and market spectacular limited availability, microlot coffees from around the world and to meaningfully elevate the super-premium coffee experience we deliver to our customers.”

Starbucks (SBUX) COO Kevin Johnson believes the company has reached the point in economies of scale in which the firm’s size and mobile offerings are a significant competitive advantage 

“Enhancing our in-store experience with customer focused digital experiences like mobile order and pay creates a positive flywheel effect on our business and attracts more My Starbucks Rewards (MSR) members. Each new MSR member represents a deeper more personalized customer relationship and more personalized customer relationships allow us to better serve customers and grow our business as evidenced by the significant increase in the number of active MSR members we are serving.”

Starbucks (SBUX) Chief Digital Officer says the new mobile order and pay platform is bringing in brand new customers 

“The answer is yes, we are seeing new customers coming in are using mobile app and also use mobile order and pay. So this is not just leveraging the strong base and you already have in our mobile commerce platform.”

 

 

 

Lazard (LAZ) CEO Ken Jacobs says the firm has seen strength in mergers and acquisitions activity for transactions valued over $10 billion

“We continue to be leader in a large, strategic, complex and multinational transaction that characterize the current M&A cycle.  We are advising on almost a third of global announced transaction valued at $10 billion and over. And we are the sole advisor to H J Heinz on its combination with Kraft Foods, the largest transaction of the quarter.”

Lazard (LAZ) CEO Ken Jacobs says the confidence level from CEO’s in Europe is improving

“QE is in a positive from the standpoint of obviously the cost of financing and valuation in Europe. And generally speaking the European economic outlook has improved mildly overall since before QE, generally speaking I would say our sense is that confidence is improving at the decision maker level in Europe CEOs.”

 

 

 

Verisign (VRSN) CEO James Bidzos expects new generic top level domains (such as “.business” or “.shopping”) to drive growth in the next couple of years

“Gaining more momentum, we do have dot realtor and dot jobs as backend, .realtor is a good performing name but those names are available for the first year for free to all, all of accredited realtors. So we’re seeing some good growth there and we hope that will continue.”

Google 1Q15 Earnings Call Notes

If currency trends persist, FX headwinds will continue to impact our results

“the U.S. dollar has continued to strengthen, which resulted in a gross negative currency impact on our revenues of $1.1 billion for the quarter. Even after the significant benefits of our hedging program, the net impact to our gross revenue was still $795 million. If these currency trends persist, FX headwinds would obviously continue to impact our results in 2015. So for our results now, our gross total consolidated revenue was $17.3 billion, growing 12% year-over-year and declining 5% quarter over quarter.”

We are a company built on intent and immediacy

“people expect to get exactly what they want, when they want it. As a company built on intent and immediacy, that’s good news for Google. Our job has always been to connect people with what they are looking for in the exact moment they are looking. Our ad products are a critical way we’ve delivered the right answers and the right moment, and it’s something we do really well. It’s often more valuable to know someone is shopping for a new SUV than it is to know basic demographic information about them.

Mapped the world including North Korea

“On Maps, we absolutely agree with you – very strategic, very popular, and that there are more than 1 billion active users of the Google Map services. We’ve mapped the world, as you know, 200 countries and territories, including North Korea. 1 billion times the app has been downloaded on android and lots and lots of stats to go through.”