I visited the San Francisco Bay Area to train a leadership class for Electronic Art (EA). The training happened to be on day one and day two of the World Series and both games were being played in San Francisco. My class schedule was 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on each of those days and the first pitch was at 5:05 pm. Now as an experienced trainer I know it’s never a good idea to run over your allotted time – especially when finance is your topic, but this time I kept to a hard stop at 4:50 pm. As it happened, the Giants won both games and went on to win it all. I’d like to think that the support of my class made a difference.
The EA leadership group is always great and EA classes almost always end up being more questions and discussion than lecture – which is how I like it. Andy Billings was on hand to kick the session off and help with the training games. EA is just starting to get profitable after a few tough years. The stock is still down but the diversity of the company and its strong cash flow should turn things around. The company is working to get more revenue from its digital titles rather than its packaged goods.
Day one of this program focuses on the income statement and cash flow while day two hits the balance sheet, return on investment and stock valuation. On day two we had the opportunity to hear from EA’s new CFO, Blake Jorgensen. As is common right now with public company leaders, he said ‘Cash is King’ (that’s also in our manual!) It was truly two great days of finance and two even better evenings of baseball. Having grown up in Palo Alto in my early grade school years it was a pleasure to see the Giants do it again in three years while the dodgers sit home. By the way, moving more towards digital gaming is a great cash flow strategy for EA especially since all sales are online by credit card.