Bioluminescence and Business Valuation


The other night I was out walking my dog and we came upon a “sparkle” of fireflies (yes, a group of fireflies is a sparkle, I looked it up) and my dog was utterly fascinated by them.

She’d see one light up, run to that spot and by the time she got there, it would appear 5 feet away and then she’d chase another, and another. After a minute or two of bent over laughing at her fruitless frustration, I decided enough was enough for the poor girl and we moved on.

Maybe the lesson that didn’t get into her little Boston Terrier brain was that just because you don’t see something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there, or didn’t move, or fly, or whatever.

It occurred to me that the value of a business, or a house, or baseball cards, or pretty much everything you can think of is like that.

I have clients that I’ve worked with over several years and we do an analysis of the business every so often to sort of gauge where things are with regard to value, growth scenarios, industry dynamics – all that stuff.

We use this as a planning exercise so that we can look ahead and take advantage of opportunities. We all know that change happens, up or down or sideways, whether we pay attention to it or not, whether it lights up here or there or somewhere else. It’s like looking at old photos and seeing how the kids have grown or watching the lightning bugs.

There are, of course, clients that I’ve worked with once and for that brief sparkling moment, we get some clarity on the value of the business. I look at the data, we talk, I do the analysis, usually write a report and it’s done, finito. Sometimes that’s all that was needed like “what’s the value of my business if I sold it TODAY?” or figuring out the value of something on such-and-such date for a litigation. It's just a different exercise.

But what if things change, what if the firefly turns off its light, flies twenty feet (which to a firefly is like miles) and then lights up somewhere else? If you were my dog, you’d still be looking for it in the one place you know it isn’t. If you rely on the analysis that was done one, two three years ago, about all you really know about it is that it’s probably wrong.

Good grief, if this past year has taught us anything, aside from the joys of food delivery and the importance of broadband, it’s that things change whether we see them of not.

Look, don’t take my word for it; next time you see a sparkle of fireflies, go try and catch one and you’ll get what I mean. OK, now here are some words of wisdom from people who aren’t me.


  • “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”John F. Kennedy
  • Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.”Gilda Radner
  • “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali

 Thanks for reading. I always welcome your comments and feedback. For those of you that asked about sharing or forwarding, by all means, please feel free to do so.

Be good and be well.


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