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Mistakes in Investing

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By emiller8988
November 26, 2004

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I've been catching up on reading these posts after a few days. I'm reminded that there's a learning curve in all worthy endeavors... including investing. My father loved to hunt. My sons love to hunt. I don't own a gun; I'm not sure how that happened. The older boy is a devoted outdoorsman... the 16 year old is learning and desperately wants to land the big buck (it's deer season). I'm sure some who read this will be against hunting and I understand those arguments but around these parts it's a rite of passage. They just came in from hunting and 16yo got skunked, but old son got a 13-point buck. Hearing the story reminded me of the learning curve. Oldest son had scouted the woods, noted some scrapes and other signs, picked his spot, waited and let 16 deer walk by as he quietly waited for the trophy. Oldest son placed 16yo in a great spot but after a short time 16yo had to change places to where "he" knew they'd be. Of course he hadn't done the homework older son had done.

Patiently waiting, knowing the great trophy was out there, knowing he would surely come out of the woods given the time to appear... reminds me of something Warren Buffett said about the fat pitch. It's fascinating to hear it play out in the woods. Other hunters had been hunting this stretch of woods all week... it took someone who had done the homework and had the patience to wait and let 16 deer walk by... good lesson. I'm proud, of course, of the skill and expertise of oldest son and his willingness to share it with 16yo. When oldest son started hunting... he hunted for 3 full years before he got his first deer. It was painful to watch and I almost took up hunting just to help him. I remember how discouraged he was. My own father was alive to help him back then, thank goodness. But boy oh boy... those dry years taught him such lessons about how to hunt... and how his experience is like my hunting for 10-bagger trophies. Patience, homework, scouting the woods, ok, ok; you get the idea...

BUT that is not the point of this post. The point of the post is that the buck was taken on Charlie P******'s land. My boys get to hunt there out of courtesy and as the farm borders the Chuquatonchee Creek (that would be souk-a-ton-che to ya'll city folk), it's some of the best hunting around. Now why do they get to hunt there? It's because of Oxigene (OXGN).

I love OXGN. This equity taught me a tremendous lesson. In 1999-2000 I was in this investing club and spent 4 months working on a presentation to the club on Biotech. I researched OXGN so completely that I even got the name of the nurse administrator for one of the investigators of Combretastatin (their big deal drug, it still is). I called her and got what I thought was the super scoop low down on some of their results. I especially remember her telling me about a miracle patient with thyroid Ca... I looked at a multitude of papers on angiogenesis. Finally with the presentation I convinced our club to take a position in OXGN at about $12/share. It went up to around 26 and then tanked. The club got out around $4-5. By 01 with the bad bear in full swing I couldn't believe I'd been so stupid as to have ever invested in this company. I'd realized I'd been suckered in by the general hype of the market. For me the siren song wasn't tech; it was biotech. Of course I sold my blown up stupid OXGN and cursed the lesson I'd learned again. HOWEVER, there was this guy in the club... the most unsophisticated dumbest buyer of stocks I ever met. Apparently, I totally convinced him that OXGN was the 7th heaven. He bought it privately and when it tanked he bought more. Finally in summer 02 when OXGN hit one dollar a share... he put his life savings into the stock! This is not a made up story. All of this... I was totally unaware of...

Finally, in the summer of 2003 I get this frantic call from the guy who bought all this OXGN. He has over 50,000 shares of the company. When Genentech announced their results with advexin... Genentech shot up... and so did OXGN. You see OXGN's lead drug was an antiangiogenesis drug just like advexin.... and OXGN has now spiked to $15 a share and what should he do? This guy is a blue-collar worker in a meat packing plant! What should he do about what, I ask. Then he gives me the whole story... and for the first time I hear about how he sunk his entire savings into OXGN based on ignorance and faith in my presentation. How could he do that, I asked him. He said that my effort and presentation totally convinced him and he never lost faith in my judgment or in OXGN! Remember, I sold out in disgust at $2. My unsophisticated friend was now the proud owner of nearly $800,000 of OXGN.

After some more conversation... he sold most of his holdings that afternoon and with the proceeds he bought a nice farm. He lets my sons go hunting there... As far as I know, Charlie P still holds about 20,000 shares of OXGN.

The point of this post has something to do with homework, patience, waiting, believing in yourself, and...and...and then it never hurts to have a little blind dumb wild ass luck

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow pilgrims on the road to Wall Street.... and... good luck! :)

e


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