Some companies can't catch a break. Others are intent on scoring own goals. Then there are a few, such as Rakon, that suffer the indignity of both.
The company is one of New Zealand's truly smart firms.
It's been making telecommunications components long before the internet revolutionised the world and investors clamoured to get on board when it went public in 2006.
Since then, it's had to deal with a poorly timed Chinese investment, the commoditisation of its crystal oscillator products, and a shareholder revolt against the founding Robinson family which still runs the company.
In the past couple of years, it looked like Rakon had turned a corner. It got its affairs in order with a major restructuring of the business, reined in debt, and started 2019 with its share price at a three-year high.
One of the things that had investors – and Rakon's management – more upbeat was the outlook for 5G mobile technology. An explosion of little satellite dishes on every building, all needing Rakon's widgets, is an appetising prospect.
Correction: An earlier version of this table showed incorrect ebitda figures. The data was supplied by NZX Research which didn't match the company's reported performance. Apologies for the confusion.
Just look at the hype from New Zealand's two big mobile carriers – Spark and Vodafone – on building their 5G networks.
Telcos love the technology because they think they can shift much bigger volumes of data for the same cost, making consumer mobile internet a viable alternative to fixed-line connection.
Sure, it might not be as reliable, but Spark and Vodafone are counting on the average consumer not caring. And that means they can avoid paying Chorus to use its network.
And that's just New Zealand. For a company like Rakon, which sells components to major telco suppliers such as Huawei Technologies and Nokia, the international roll-out is the real endgame.
Rakon said demand for 5G telecommunications underpinned a 10 per cent increase in March 2019 annual earnings and indicated that its major challenge was keeping up with demand and meeting higher specifications needed by 5G products.
Asia is leading the world in building 5G networks, but the rest of the world hasn't followed as quickly.
Rakon noted a number of delays when reporting its first-half result last month and said 2020 growth wasn't likely to be as strong as it initially hoped.
That's not the first time Rakon's had to climb down after being overly optimistic, and chief executive Brent Robinson vented his frustration about the delays at the company's August annual meeting.
Pointing to regulatory hurdles in building new telecommunications networks and the ongoing trade war between the US and China, Robinson was wary that his customers wouldn't stick to their original timelines.
That's not the sort of thing investors want to hear, and at that meeting there was at least one shareholder willing to go on the record to say he'd heard similar excuses before.
This time around, Rakon's got a point.
The new tech will be adopted at some point, but how and when will depend who wins the battle waging between the super-powers for 5G dominance.
Global credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has already noted that investment's been dialled back as businesses and governments wait to see how things pan out in the US-China trade war.
While peace may have broken out running up to the West's Christmas and New Year holiday, America's principal complaint is that China's high-tech sector is too close to Chinese authorities and prone to pinching intellectual property.
Those tensions have disrupted manufacturing supply chains, and S&P Asia Pacific chief economist Shaun Roache told BusinessDesk last month the telecommunications sector had been hit the hardest.
What's more, the feud between South Korea and Japan – two of the world's biggest technology producers – is compounding things. A lot of their inputs go into China's supply chain at a time when it's already being shaken up by the US sanctions.
Roache warned that tension might lead to a "technology decoupling" where telco carriers either choose all Western suppliers, or all Chinese suppliers.
"We're seeing that debate in Europe, we're seeing it in Asia and there's some uncertainty on which way to go."
That could prompt firms to run multiple supply chains to mitigate that risk, pushing up the cost of production, which would ultimately be passed on to the consumer.
Roache doesn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. China's last big leadership meeting in October outlined the importance of the state leading technological breakthroughs.
"This is telling you they're going down the road of increased self-reliance, increased state subsidies of the tech sector. This is one issue the US has problems with. If it keeps going down that road, it makes a deal much less likely."
Rakon might have a bob each way when it comes to its suppliers, but if geo-political pressures remove a competitor or two, that would make it tougher for the firm to get a good price for its crystals.