Yesterday was our quarterly earnings call. There is a great deal of preparation that goes in to those calls. I liken what goes on during the call to a discovery session in a lawsuit. You can't "win" the case in discovery but you can certainly damage your case so you had better be prepared. Earnings calls are somewhat similar. You report the facts from the previous quarter and answer questions about the facts to the best of your ability. At F5 each executive is responsible for fielding questions related to his or her respective area of responsibility. Other companies have only their CEO and CFO participate on the call and they field all the questions.

The one area that does differ is that it is also a window of opportunity to disclose new information to the market. Other opportunities to disclose information are things like press releases. The idea is that you have to give information to everybody simultaneously so that no one party has an unfair advantage over others. The SEC has a slew of rules around what is known as Reg FD or Regulation Fair Disclosure. Reg FD was developed to put an end to the disclosure of material information in private meetings where a company may disclose material information that would give an investor an unfair advantage over others in the market. Think statements like "we're going to miss/blow-out our quarter" and you get the idea. We take Reg FD very seriously.

At the end of the day, I believe it's a case where "actions speak louder than words". Delivering results for our shareholders and demonstrating predictability in our business matter most over the long term but you have to behave well along the way.