It was another coast to coast trek for the NBCUniversal group. The schedule is pretty set by now. First it’s a trip to New York for two days of training the talent lab on the 11th floor of 30 Rock at 5th Avenue and 50th. Yes right in the heart of mid-town Manhattan. It’s actually one of the coolest venues I visit. Great new facility and lots of NBCUniversal swag at these classes. I do the initial training for a program they call INVEST. The NBCUniversal talent lab group is one of the best corporate training groups I work with. They are like a group of my friends at Electronic Arts at EAUniversity.
My two days in New York were great. I always spend a lot of time with these groups on cash flow. Since NBCUniversal was acquired by Comcast the key number for them is OCF. This is short for operating cash flow. That is the metric they use to measure their businesses internally. They also present free cash flow prominently to investors as well. These are two metrics that are often least understood by the executives I train. Many struggle with the concept that profit is not equal to cash. Most managers work better around the income statement and focus on revenue and profit. They sometimes forget that really cash flow is what is important.
I was very directly reminded of that fact recently in my manufacturing business Setpoint, where I own a significant stake and serve as acting CFO. The leadership focused on growing revenue and profit, however, collection terms were sacrificed and when some of our projects ran late we found ourselves in a position where we had to increase our credit line to make payroll. That stuff is no fun. A well-managed company should be focused on revenue, profit, and net cash. Remember to watch more than just one number for the financial picture. At Setpoint we got our eye off the ball for a bit and ran into tough times. Always remember at the end of day cash is king. NBCUniversal drives this home with their OCF metric. A great week and great groups.
Last but not least I had a new and exciting culinary experience in New York. Bar Bacon in Hell’s Kitchen. It was awesome! I went for a tough interval run after my second session in Central Park and then onto Bar Bacon. I had the bacon sampler (the jalapeño bacon was my favorite), the bacon infused Mahi Mahi tacos, and finally the bacon infused bread pudding. Awesome. Add Bar Bacon to my eats list in Hell’s Kitchen along with Thai Select. I probably wiped out my great workout but it was worth it.
There was lots of action on Twitter during these sessions with the NBCUniversal group. You can find me @JoeVKnight.
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