In recent years we’ve learned many lessons about the importance of earnings to the sustainability of a company. The shell game that was played on Wall Street for several years was amusing (but not funny to the many who got fleeced by it). Rather than being valued as they should – as a function of their earnings and future earnings potential – companies were valued on such strange metrics as multiples of click-throughs and page visits. This of course made no sense, and as the whole Internet sector came crashing to earth, many very smart people began to ask themselves how they could have bought into such crazy measures of success. It is of course valid to look at other measures of performance, as indicators of where a company stands and how it is progressing, but do not forget, in the end it is all about the ability to produce earnings, which can be reinvested or taken as dividends by the owners of the company – the shareholders. You may be the only shareholder in your company, at this point at least, but that then makes this point all the more relevant to you. It’s all your money, your updisde, and your potential downside..