First, they wanted to be able to continue their "dollop by dollop system" without major discontinuities for twenty years.

Second, they wanted Quant Tech's reported earnings to go up by roughly the same percentage each year throughout the whole twenty years because they believed that financial analysts, representing institutional investors, would value Quant Tech's stock higher if reported annual earnings growth never significantly varied.

Third, to protect credibility for reported earnings, they never wanted to strain credulity of investors by reporting, even in their twentieth year, that Quant Tech was earning more than forty percent of revenues from designing power plants.

With these requirements, the math was easy, given the officers' assumption that Quant Tech's non-phony earnings and revenues were both going to grow at twenty percent per year for twenty years. The officers quickly decided to use their "dollop by dollop system" to make Quant Tech's reported earnings increase by twenty-eight percent per year instead of the twenty percent that would have been reported by the founder.

And so, the great scheme of "modern financial engineering" went forward toward tragedy at Quant Tech. And few disreputable schemes of man have ever worked better in achieving what was attempted. Quant Tech's reported earnings, certified by its accountants, increased regularly at twenty-eight percent per year. No one criticized Quant Tech's financial reporting except a few people widely regarded as impractical, overly theoretical, misanthropic cranks. It turned out that the founder's policy of never paying dividends, which was continued, greatly helped in preserving credibility for Quant Tech's reports that its earnings were rising steadily at twenty-eight percent per year. With cash equivalents on hand so remarkably high, the Pavlovian mere-association effects that so often impair reality recognition served well to prevent detection of the phony element in reported earnings.

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