Post of the Day
August 11, 1999
Posts selected for this feature rarely stand alone. They are usually a part of an ongoing thread, and are out of context when presented here. The material should be read in that light.
When I find my way to this page out of all of the millions and millions of web pages that exist in the world, it usually is for several reasons. The biggest reason, however, is to search for answers. Answers to questions about the unknown. Questions like: Why is my stock down? Was there any news about my company that I couldn't find on the Yahoo quotes/news page? Or why is my stock down when the rest of the market seems to be up? To be invested in a stock - any stock - is quite largely a big leap into the unknown and all the searching for answers many times leads nowhere.
Many out here resent this unknown and rightfully so. Mr. Bezos like all that have come before him is way over yonder on another side of the fence - he plays a win win game while we sit here with a pocket full of dreams. You see, by now Bezos has sold enough shares that whatever happens with AMZN doesn't really matter much. If AMZN falls to 15 dollars per share Mr. Bezos resigns to the fact that he is worth ONLY several hundred million dollars. And if AMZN does in fact succeed he will be worth BILLIONS more than he is today. And we should not forget to mention that the new love nest that he purchased with Ms. Bezos, just last year, was fully paid for to the tune of fourteen plus million dollars. As you are reading this he could be standing in his large living room which overlooks a tranquil lake.
Mr. Bezos is not alone in his tranquility on that far side of the fence. Mr. Dell is the same way. Last year he took one billion off the table and quietly tucked it away into a fund which he created for his own personal investments. And the list of insiders with this win win scenario is countless. Just last week four AOL directors sold more that 400-mm dollars worth of AOL stock.
But alas then there are the rest of us. The lowest of low on the food chain of this wonderful stock market. We sit watching each and every point as we dream our collective dream known as that "American dream." On our side of the fence we can see Mr. Bezos but we cannot reach out and touch him and, calls to him fall upon deaf ears. If AMZN were to make a purchase of some company tomorrow, we would not be asked. If AMZN decided to try to issue another billion dollars in convertibles we again would not be consulted. All we can do is sit idle and hope� hope for the best and that Mr. Bezos and his team will make the right choices with our hard earned savings.
Now you might say why bother, I'll stick with a "quality" blue chip and call it a day. Well that's all fine and good� but to swing for the fences to reach for that homerun and turn a small meaningful something into quite a bit more is really what a stock like AMZN is all about.
And what a stock it has been. When books didn't quite seem to be enough AMZN diversified into Auctions. Bezos seems determined to steer his company in any direction that will produce a homerun!
When I was young, to have a dream was a wonderful thing. My grandfather used to always ask me what I would dream about. To have a dream, he would say, offered hope for tomorrow and the chance for something big. Forbes ran an article, not too long ago, about a man (a stockbroker in California) who upon his 65 birthday, 4 years ago, took his entire retirement fund and invested it in DELL � with leverage. He watched his original two million balloon into more than 30 million in the following four years. This guy is quite a man. To have his courage to hold on. To have his bind faith to put his entire savings into the hands of someone who had already reached the American Dream is truly quite remarkable. In fact, you could even argue that with this two million this guy had already reached many other peoples' American Dream -- but that's another story altogether.
Now, if it were so easy to start an Internet Company and sell non-proprietary stuff I don't think I would quit my job to take such a risk. But thanks to the market there are other ways to participate�
So run up to the fences if you like� all ye bears that are here. Shake those links as hard as you can but ultimately to no avail. Because, you know, there is one thing that you can never change and that is the hope that tomorrow the world will be a little brighter and that my dreams - blind as they may be - will have materialized for me in some special way.
We all try to chose our paths wisely and as best we can. I come here to the Motley Fool for encouragement and when none exists I try to remember not to let others change the course that I believe in following: and most importantly, I try to remember the dreams that have helped me make my investment decision in the first place.