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January 10, 2007

What's Fun

You know what's fun? Reading the 10-Qs of cereal manufacturing companies. That's fun. Crispy, golden flakes of fun. Yum.

Having said that, apparently you can make a lot of money selling corn flakes (and other cereals). Maybe it's not a cutting-edge industry, but hey. People gotta eat.

I'm reading the 10-Qs as research for a magazine article I'm writing, incidentally. I'm not the sort of fellow who reads quarterly financial statements from major companies just because they're entertaining.

Posted by john at January 10, 2007 11:28 AM

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Mary | January 10, 2007 11:56 AM

... unless you make the bound copies engage in BLOOD COMBAT!

Come on, we've seen what you can do with a video camera.

John Scalzi | January 10, 2007 11:58 AM

Sorry, I'm reading them in pdf form. And we all know how peaceful pdf's are, by nature.

gibbyg | January 10, 2007 12:03 PM

Hasbro's 10Q is a trip. All this serious, empty business jargon with "Mr. Potato Head" and "Dusty the Talking Vacuum" interspersed.

Tom | January 10, 2007 12:07 PM

really? I do, then again.. never mind

Steve Buchheit | January 10, 2007 12:16 PM

I'm not so sure about the peacefulness of PDFs. They can get pretty tough to wrangle here at work (printing company). And then they like to jump out of the bath and run around the yard squeeling.

Karen Funk Blocher | January 10, 2007 12:52 PM

Now see, I was thinking, "Quisp...Quake...Quaker Oatmeal...Quantum Flakes....ummm..." rather than something about quarterly reports.

John League | January 10, 2007 01:06 PM

My favorite corporate writings are the parts of 10-Ks where companies are legally obliged to describe their competitors and the reasons the company might potentially fail--essentially, "we might be making up all of this good stuff about ourselves."

For example, an excerpt from Amazon.com's 2005 10-K: Our current and planned personnel,
systems, procedures, and controls may not be adequate to support and effectively manage our future operations, especially as we employ personnel in multiple geographic locations. We may not be able to hire, train, retain, motivate, and manage required personnel, which may limit our growth. If any of this were to occur, it could
damage our reputation, limit our growth, negatively affect our operating results and harm our business.

Cassie | January 10, 2007 01:15 PM

Karen: oh, good, I wasn't the only one.

Steve Buchheit | January 10, 2007 01:26 PM

Quisp. Mmmm. Haven't seen that in years. Crunchy, spacey goodness that was, with the possibility of cattle mutilations. Always good for kids.

Sam | January 10, 2007 02:28 PM

I want an IPHONE!

JD | January 10, 2007 02:33 PM

So you are not even writing the 10-Q, you are writing a magazine article 'about' the 10-q? After that is when you write the battle and combat scenes for your novels right? Cause that sounds like it could suck the life right out of you.

John Scalzi | January 10, 2007 02:34 PM

It's not about the 10-q; the 10-q is just background info. It won't be that horrible, trust me.

Todd Stull | January 10, 2007 02:45 PM

Incidentally, if any of you with kids want a fairly interesting afternoon experience, take a tour of the Kellogg plant in Battle Creek, MI. Cereal never looked so good! And then, have your child write an essay on how cartoons are in bed with tasty, crunchy, flaky goodness.

John Scalzi | January 10, 2007 02:58 PM

Are you talking about the cereal theme park they have there? If so, it's too late: They closed it for good last week.

CaseyL | January 10, 2007 03:01 PM

Incidentally, if any of you with kids want a fairly interesting afternoon experience, take a tour of the Kellogg plant in Battle Creek, MI.

Touring industrial facilities is something I sort of accidentally discovered I adore doing.

Back during the brief and ignomious Project Manager phase of my professional life, I "had to" tour our print vendor's facilities. I wound up having The Best Time Ever, and fell thoroughly in love with those giant line-production printing/collating/binding machines.

More recently, I went on a tour of a gold mine processing plant, and again loved every minute. That's some amazing stuff, from the various bashers/crushers/conveyors that take in the raw rock and smash it up into little pieces, to the chemical baths that leach the gold out of the slurry. I even loved the baths' godawful smell (no, it wasn't arsenic or cyanide - the mine uses something else that isn't nearly as controversial).

This is a roundabout way of saying: Man, I'd LOVE to tour the cereal factory :)

G. Jules | January 10, 2007 03:10 PM

If you enjoy touring factories, I recommend the show "How It's Made" on the Discovery channel. It's not like being there, but it is weirdly relaxing.

As for .pdfs, well, maybe they're peaceful if you're just reading 'em.

Carol Elaine | January 10, 2007 03:17 PM

PDFs just like to be looked at. They hate being manhandled. That's when the real trouble starts.

MikeB | January 10, 2007 03:25 PM

I can't comment on the Kelloggs tour but back in my misspent youth in England I worked briefly at the factory that made Shredded Wheat. Even today I still approach unopened cereal boxes with great suspicion...

Todd Stull | January 10, 2007 04:02 PM


They closed Cereal City? Those bastards! It helped me relive my Saturday mornings with Frosted Flakes and late 80s cartoons. I'm not really surprised though. They had so much staff working it, and Battle Creek didn't look like it was doing real well economically. Sigh. Another piece of tacky over commercialized Americana gone.

Patrick | January 10, 2007 04:28 PM

Oh, lovely 10-Qs. My new position requires me to look at them frequently, for the companies who actually wrote them. To tell them what they already know, I guess. Business is weird.

Johnny Carruthers | January 11, 2007 11:17 AM

Quisp is still available. Unfortunately, I think it's only available in limited areas. I know Chicago is one of them, and you can discover where else on the Quisp website (quisp.com, of course).

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