Striving for Perfection (Jinteki Q4 2013 Earnings Call)

ekayohlee 1430

*** Jinteki Q4 2013 Earnings Call & Netcast Transcript ***

OPERATOR: Good day, and welcome to Jinteki's fourth quarter 2013 Results Conference Call. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Toshiyuki Sakai for introductory remarks.

-- Slide: Jinteki Q4 2013 Earnings Call --

SAKAI: We announced Jinteki's fourth quarter and full year 2013 results after the close of trading today. The shareholder letter and financial results are all available at our Investor Relations site, as will be the netcast for this call.

Our goal this last quarter at Jinteki was to implement an overwhelming number of assets and upgrades, requiring opposing runners to spend two clicks to access our remote servers during their turns. As previously forecasted, damage-dealing and expensive-to-break ICE have made it costly for runners to hit or bounce off our central servers just to attack our assets, especially with the introduction of Encryption Protocols. While it's true that this partnership with our competitor Haas-Bioroid is a significant change in direction for the company, we've been eager to build on the encouraging results reported by db0's Untrashable trials and our own in-house experiments with variants.

-- Slide: Credits Rule Everything Around Me // Econ --

We are pleased to report a number of initiatives and fixed assets that have helped generate a healthy drip economy for Jinteki in the previous fiscal year, if not a flood. While this approach is vulnerable to attacks from outside forces -- unlike previous lucrative efforts made possible by tiny giraffes -- runners often ignore our consumer-targeted PAD Campaigns due to high trash costs.

And thanks to Sundews, Jinteki's revenues have increased dramatically year-over-year for the quarter. Runners tend to attack those more than our PAD Campaigns, but light ICE can ward them off until we can deluge our remote servers with assets. And if we expect to lose an initial Sundew anyway -- and if we have a back-up prepared -- placing an ICE heavy with routines that can serve as the foundation for a super server has proven to be beneficial. Even when we've elected not to rez it, the threat tends to give runners pause. And we have recruited several talented students from Levy University as interns to recover and re-install lost Sundews.

We also recently brought in the esteemed Jackson Howard to assist with our cloning initiatives at Jinteki. He's been invaluable in not only helping accelerate R&D on Sundews, but also provoking runners to spend two clicks to approach him, and resurrecting cancelled but promising projects.

I will now turn the call over to Chairman Hiro to share the measures we've taken this previous quarter with cutting our operating costs.

--- Slide: Protect Ya Neck // Traps ---

HIRO: As you know, we retired our long-running Junebug bioengineering project to make way for inexpensive Shocks, which have performed splendidly in deterring unwarranted access to Jinteki's HQ, R&D labs, and especially Archives. We have continued to support Snares as an additional disincentive, and employ a Ronin as both a distraction and a potential punishment for careless runners.

We have capitalized on Hokusai Grids built to protect weak points where runners can access, serving as stopgaps until we can install stronger ICE. These facilities are expensive for intruders to disable, and runners sometimes avoid them completely, expecting them to be safeguarded by Ash and Caprice. When we've taken advantage of the Grid to install certain confidential AI agendas in a lightly protected or unprotected server, it's been to our benefit, as runners must pay a pound of flesh to acquire those agendas -- we've also been able to turn around and convert those vulnerable facilities into super servers for future use.

-- Slide: Only Built for Caprice Linx // Upgrades --

As Mr. Sakai noted earlier, we have partnered with Haas-Bioroid for a limited exchange of tech, which includes the company's Ash bioroid. Intruders to our servers will need to waste another click, as well as additional credits in their repeated run through our ICE, to access any assets or agendas, provided we can outspend them through trace bids.

We have also recently welcomed Ms. Caprice Nisei back to the fold and integrated her into our countermeasures, utilizing the uncanny abilities and detective skills she picked up during her time working with New Angeles PD to block illegal incursions into our central and remote servers.

For runners who do manage to make it past our defenses and even siphon our funds, we have an agreement with media corporation NBN allowing us to track these criminals when possible to close their accounts. Furthermore, we've created a joint venture for a new program that encourages runners to make a move when they otherwise wouldn't want to, or generate free credits when they delay their attacks. We are considering other alternatives to disrupt runner activity, too.

Our sysop Midori will be able to talk more about the lengths we've gone to in order to protect our servers.

-- Slide: Clan In Da Front // ICE --

MIDORI: Okay, while we tend to push out much fewer ICE than some of our competitors, we try to make up for it with adaptable ICE like Chimera, cheap but annoying ICE like Yagura, and expensive-to-break Tsurugis. Yeah, we've taken some flack for using Shinobi ICE, but believe me, no low-link hacker wants to run into one of those on a central server before attempting a remote run. Still, we are looking into eventually replacing our Shinobis with Komainus, if not other alternatives.

We've also borrowed NBN's RSVP ICE that makes it extremely difficult for runners to trash our assets, not to mention to get through Caprice or Ash. We have agendas that intruders won't be able to even take away with them unless they can break RSVP's subroutine, that's how great the ICE is.

If we need to make adjustments to our setup, we have the option of bringing in Akitaro to get everything loaded -- keeping those Chimeras up is no sweat for him. Just don't ask how he does it, haha.

I think that's all I had to mention regarding our ICE. I'll hand this back over to our chairman.

-- Slide: Can It All Be So Simple // Agendas --

HIRO: Thank you, Midori. Before we get into the Q&A, I'd like to mention that we have some very exciting opportunities ahead of Jinteki, including improvements on our Nisei line that allow us to further delay would-be hackers. And thanks to our ties to the New Angeles PD -- through Commissioner Dawn and Ms. Caprice Nisei's work there -- as well as the nature of our classified projects, it's become more difficult and expensive for runners to steal our work. With developments down the line like our Future Perfect program, we can make it near impossible.

We also have other non-cloning advancements we'll announce in the near future, coming out of our biomedical Harmony Medtech division and our stealth groups at the Tennin Institute. That's not to say we intend to pivot our focus away from cloning, however. Cloning has the potential to replicate perfection. Let me repeat that: cloning has the potential to replicate perfection. Should we aspire to anything less?

With that, I'd like to open the call to questions.

24 Mar 2014 DeMarko

Hands-down best deck description EVER.

24 Mar 2014 AkAnderson

Needs a tldr for lazy people like me :(

24 Mar 2014 ekayohlee

SAKAI: To summarize the points we addressed, we aim to:

  • Flood assets to make it expensive (in terms of both clicks and credits) for runners to trash -- if they don't trash them, they do so at their own peril trying to match our economy

  • Utilize ICE with plenty of subroutines on centrals and eventually a single super server remote

  • Mix and match Ash, Caprice, RSVP, and Hokusai Grid to further tax runners, along with Nisei MK II if you've scored them and when you're at match point

24 Mar 2014 bubo

That was a very entertaining narrative! Thank you!

I'm looking at this deck, and believe that I've got a general feel for it. Once card that I'm kind of concerned about is Interns. I think I've got the idea behind their inclusion, but my thoughts don't justify devoting 3 card slots to them especially since FFG's Lukas has already ruled that the Runner is permitted to review face up archive cards at any time on request, and made a comment that many have interpreted as saying that face up cards installed by Interns should just be shown to the Runner prior to installing them into a server. Can you explain your priority targets for Interns?

I'm concerned with running 3 Jackson Howards and Caprice Nisei. They are unique, and while Jackson could conceivably burn through all 3 cards, I see Caprice ending up a dead draw after the first if she does her job well. With 3 Interns in the deck, do we really need all 3 Caprice? I'd personally go with a third Hokusai over Caprice in this deck.

NAPD Contract and Shinobi have poor synergy between them. I'd take a look at Medical Breakthrough over NAPD contract for the late game match point scored out of hand.

Your economy is extremely weak, which is not unusual for Jinteki. With PAD contracts being so slow and easy to trash and Sundew being so slow and vulnerable, I anticipate that this deck will spend painful amounts of time waiting for credits. I play Sundew with Replicating Perfection myself, but I'd recommend either EVE or Adonis over PAD and this deck really begs for pop economy. I recommend Celebrity Gift and finding the influence for Successful Demonstration. I've found with Replicating Perfection that the non-Central focused Runner will encounter the first piece of ICE and immediately jack out of the central run to satisfy RP's condition. This synergizes really well with Successful Demonstration.

Your Agenda and ICE mixture has me very concerned as well. I understand that your primary protection is upgrades, but Ash is expensive and Caprice is a random element. Those two coupled with their Unique characteristic leaves me highly concerned that the game will be decided more by luck instead of skill. The fact that your Agendas are only 4 and 5 points coupled with no advancable assets make them primary targets as soon as they are advanced for the Runner. I personally run the same Agendas in RP (except for NAPD), so my recommendation is that you drop Ash in favor of importing some Ice Walls for End the Run and Trick of Light shenanigans. I'd also drop RSVP in favor of Inazuma, which gives you a similar effect for no Influence. This deck does not look like it's building ICEbergs, so I think you'd get more bang for your buck with Inazuma.

Check out my Finger Snap deck for an Iceberg trap version, and see if it gives you some ideas.

24 Mar 2014 scumblr

@bubo raises good points about Shinobi and NAPD Contract, as well as the general lack of ICE in the deck. However, I disagree about economy and Interns. Interns is key in these decks, as @db0 has proven with Untrashable, and the econ will come as you get set up. RP has a way of coming back from a rough start.

That said, I really do think you need more ice. You only have 6 under 3 to rez, which will make that early part of the game hellish. Chimera will quickly become useless, and it's expensive even in the short term. Your Ash/Caprice/Hokusai super-server will take time to get up and running, and if the runner can trash them before you can make it expensive to run on, you'll be in trouble, especially with a drip econ. Where to make changes? I don't think you need all three Jacksons, and the singleton Ronin seems like the wrong idea for this deck. I'm not sure a single Subliminal is worth it, either.

I'd try to find space for Hive in here. That's a card that will really pay dividends until your win is pretty much assured.

24 Mar 2014 ekayohlee

HIRO: I can take this one. We appreciate your feedback, Bubo.

Regarding Interns, our priority is to bring back Sundews as runners tend to make an extra effort to get to those, and because they're a vital part of Jinteki's economy. We predict Caprice will also be a high-value target for runners to trash, especially if she's installed in a lightly protected server, so she might require assistance from our Levy students as well.

As for your comments on Mr. Howard and Ms. Caprice, we expect to have the former working on multiple projects at a time in multiple servers, even though his full attention is on just one. If anything, his repeated presence will add to the flood of unrezzed Encryption Protocols and other assets. As the runner attacks one, immediately have him show up in another server -- you could even describe part of his role as bait for runners, due to his reputation. Plus we have a habit of hiding agendas in the Archives, which Mr. Jackson is adept at retrieving when that server is threatened.

We also expect Ms. Caprice Nisei to hide in multiple servers at a time, protecting central servers early on, until her attention is needed to protect a super server remote. You could be right, however, that this is overkill, and our resources might be better spent on building another Hokusai Grid. We will take your feedback on that matter into consideration.

You also make a great point on the synergy between NAPD Contract and Shinobi, and it's one I know Midori has brought up in the past. Exchanging a Shinobi for a Wall of Thorns or even a Tollbooth might work better there. We will conduct field tests with all of the available options to settle the matter. And I know Mr. Sakai has been busy investigating new revenue streams and opportunities for Jinteki, though we are loathe to rely even more on Haas Bioroid's inferior tech.

All that said, we will need to test this resources we currently have in hand before we can commit to any adjustments. Of course, we will make sure to update our investors with our revised guidance once we have those results.

While our other sysop, Mr. Watanabe, isn't a fan of Trick of Light/Ice Wall arrangements, I will instruct him to consult your suggested deck to make sure we haven't missed any opportunities.

24 Mar 2014 ekayohlee

MIDORI: As the chairman provided his response, I was able to quickly swap in a Wall of Thorns for a Shinobi. We're not trying to make too many changes to our ICE structure before Akitaro and I see it in action more, but that was just too much bad publicity to deal with. We're fine with scoring 5/2 agendas behind a remote server overloaded with ICE -- that's the price you pay with these taxed agendas -- but a 6/2 puts too much strain on the company and the fine folks at NAPD.

Now onto Scumblr's comments -- Simone, is that you busting my chops, here? Haha, you're always trying to brag about your Weyland tech. I actually think Hive is a good fit, though given the other concerns you brought up, we might be better off dropping two Shadows back in. Or maybe Datapikes are the way to go since they have more stopping power, but they're a tiny bit more expensive and that'll drop quick to a Yog.

25 Mar 2014 db0

Hey, nice to see another untrashable variant. In my experience some cards don't work well with this type of deck. Shinobi I wanted to consider but BP is a no-no against it. It will first of all make trashing all your unprotected assets much easier. Each BP nullifies one of your encryption protocols, which means if you get Shinobi early on for protection, all your asset economy is compromised.

Subliminal is also not fitting as 1x in this deck as it's reliant on the runner not running. I prefer a third PAD myself since it always keeps giving, and in this deck especially, runners tend to simply ignore it.

I'd go with -1 Nisei and +1 Hokusai, especially because those hokusais are harder to trash and can crop up your centrals if you didn't happen to draw ICE.

25 Mar 2014 db0

Also, love the description. That's some effort :)

25 Mar 2014 ekayohlee

MIDORI: Thanks for chiming in, Db0. Your Untrashed whitepapers have been passed around and pored over quite a bit here. I think that comment seals the deal on the Shinobis -- nullifying Encryption Protocols isn't an effect we'd considered, nor one we want at all.

I've updated our configuration on my PAD with the following changes:

-2 Shinobi

+1 Wall of Thorns

+1 Yagura or Swordsman or Himitsu Bako

-1 Caprice Nisei

+1 Hokusai Grid

-1 Subliminal Messaging

+1 PAD Campaign

I know a few freelancers who we intend to test our defenses against this coming weekend, so we'll report our findings and additional proposed changes afterward. We'll also look into the effectiveness of Ronin, which might open up another spot.

25 Mar 2014 bionicsheep

Registered an account just to comment on how much I respect and fear this goddamn writeup.

26 Mar 2014 AsteriskCGY

Was modding this same deck idea, but put in Quandry instead of Yagura for plain ETR. Shinobi are WoT and Swordsman. But staring at the ice I question its taxability. I also apparently run in a Parasite heavy meta, so low str ice seems to hurt more than it helps.

26 Mar 2014 db0

Without Ronin, a runner whos knows this deck will know every advanced card is an agenda and run it. Sure most players don't know this deck, but it's started becoming more known lately I feel.

In any case a Ronin is good either way. If they run it late-game, you effectively got a free Nisei token. If they leave it,fearing a trap and start digging R&D, it's not that uncommon that they'll eat a snare/Fetal at their last clicks and you'll be to finish them off with Ronin.

If your econ is sold, you can also easily play Ronin naked and dare them to run. If they don't, just leave it open and wait for an opportunity. If none comes and you want to start scoring agendas, use ronin, play a Nisei mk.2 and advance. Using the Ronin like this means you compress their work, especially since you have a good chance to take out crucial events and breakers from their hand at the last moment.

26 Mar 2014 Lyrael

Honestly, I've had some great success running a one off of Shinobi. Yes, the bad publicity hurts, but Shinobi is a way to convert what this deck is great at (getting credits) into some solid way to punish the runner (because facechecking Shinobi with no breaker often straight up kills people).

With there being more cards that hand out bad publicity, going -1 Fetal AI -1 Hokusai Grid +2 Veteran's Program is not a bad way to go, I think.

Also, I'm surprised you went for RSVP over tollbooth, which tends to be a pretty big tax, and creates a really good scoring remote (stacking up Nisei Mk. II counters frequently has allowed me to make them run it 2-3 times to get in, being an incredible credit sync).

26 Mar 2014 AsteriskCGY

I think RSVP is good mid game because it covers assets from trash and is out of Yog range. Without a mid cost ice to cover things there's no way to keep the sundews around for the late game econ.

26 Mar 2014 ekayohlee

HIRO: We appreciate the constructive points everyone's brought up. In our own trials, we've noticed the effectiveness of Ronin as a distraction and punisher, so it's an asset Jinteki absolutely recognizes the value of, even with just a single one on hand.

AsteriskCGY, from what Midori has explained to me, Quandary is an option we've kept on the table, but we've found that Yagura is great for an early point or two of damage to potentially knock a valuable card out of the runner's grip, and that the extra subroutine is a welcome extra tax when Yog isn't out.

Lyrael, while Shinobi is looking like a bad idea for this deck, we still intend to run a few trials to ensure we've explored all the possibilities. While Tollbooth is an attractive alternative for our big ICE, RSVP synergizes well with our confidential AI agendas, our contract with the New Angeles police department, our Haas-Bioroid tech, and Ms. Caprice Nisei, not to mention a multitude of assets.

31 Mar 2014 Robotron5673

Well done!!

31 Mar 2014 ekayohlee

SAKAI: As we wrap up this call, we would like to highlight that we recently accepted Netrunnerdb's "Decklist of the week" accolade. Myself, Chairman Hiro, and the rest of us at Jinteki are tremendously honored to receive such a prestigious distinction. It is an inspiration to us to continue pursuing our efforts in advancing cloning and biomedical technology, striving for perfection.

We recognize, through discussion with our peers, that our initial plan suffered fundamental flaws, and we are already taking steps to address those issues -- including a slightly decreased reliance on Ms. Caprice Nisei and RSVP ICE, adding Shadows and a Wall of Thorns to our criminal countermeasures, and launching a new (and remarkably lighter/thinner) PAD instead of gray operations we had slated.

And as detailed in our revised Corporate Social Responsibility Report, we also intend to reduce our Shinobi usage to zero. To be clear, we haven't reversed our position on the matter simply due to the negative press around the ICE; we just believe it's the right thing to do as a company. While this might not be the most profitable move on our part, please remember that we make a lot of decisions based on other reasons besides profits. One of our primary goals at Jinteki is to leave the world a better place than we found it."

1 Apr 2014 bourgman

I didn't even look at the deck. The description simply rocks my socks. Are you a CFO? A CFA Charterholder? A stock jockey?

3 Apr 2014 davitsp

This just solidified my love for Jinteki.

3 Apr 2014 spags

Nice deck. Agree with dB0 on the Shinobi's and their BP. There should be some nice ICE in H&P to replace them.

4 Apr 2014 Manjusri

Or find a way to free up 1-2 influence and run Witness Tampering x1-2 so you can have your Shinobi and your trash-resistance too, albeit a gamble that you pull the Witness Tampering when you need it.

19 Feb 2015 manveruppd

Incredible and highly entertaining writeup, thanks! :)