Interview Question - What would Hamilton or Dave Do?

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Interview Question - What would Hamilton or Dave Do?

Postby RCD » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:47 pm

I was hit in an interview with the question, "How would you value TiVo?" Here's the rub: the company is way out of my field. Yes, I know what a TiVo is, and I also know my cable box does the same thing. I also know I don't watch TV and have never had an occasion to use the DVR functions. So, I stumbled through how I would get a line on the market/industry/key drivers/competitors and sketch-out a revenue model (it was was from elegant), and then went into the integrated model, dcf, etc.

My question is this: If someone asked you, "How would you value company X?", and you knew next to nothing about the company (i.e., at most you had heard of its primary product and have a vague idea about what it does), what would be your response, assuming you took a top-down perspective? All ideas welcome and appreciated. Many thanks!
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Re: Interview Question - What would Hamilton or Dave Do?

Postby wsthost » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:26 pm

The approach would be the same to all companies - identify the revenue growth. break down where the revenue comes from, who's the customers, # units, sales price, etc. So with TiVo, same thing - how many customers, average price, growth rates, etc. Then, break down the costs that TiVo has. A retail business like TiVo (consumer oriented in particular) is always easier to approach in an interview (or on the job) since chances are, you've heard of them or even use the product. It's really no different than asking how many Gillette razor blades would be sold, etc.

Even though you may never have used the product (TiVo in this case), the approach wouldn't actually vary too much. So since you indicated that your cable box does the same thing, then that is a detriment to TiVo and would limit TiVo's growth. So, one could take the market share approach and figure out % of TV watches that use cable and DVR-functions, etc.

Partly, this comes from experience and realizing that all companies essentially are approached the same way. Take our segment build-up class which goes into 4 different ways of analyzing 4 different businesses.
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