We’ll Be Right Back, After This Selloff

Posted Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 3:44 pm

After the company was bought out, with that nice-ish chunk of change in the bank, I took about six months off. The weight of the servers off my back, I was no longer jarred out of sleep by my pager going off, due to some crisis or another.

In the last month/two months of that, my former biz partner and I decided it would be fun to hop onto the then hot trend of "Day Trading" on the stock market. It had started making news some months before, and there were tales of people making genuine fortunes playing this game. So we rented a little office (in the same building where we’d started out that ISP!), got a connection to the net, each of us put up  some seed money as our starting ‘bank’ accounts, and started day trading.

What a whirlwind month. Watching little charts onscreen, little blips up, little blips down, and every blip causing a blip in my heartrate. Look it’s climbing really fast, should I sell now? But it might go higher! I’ll hold onto it a little longer! Wait, it just blipped down, dang, I could have sold at 14 3/4ths, but now it’s down to 13 1/2. but it might go up again, I’ll hang onto it! Now it’s down another point, it’s almost where I bought it! Sell sell sell!

I wound up making the most money that month on the few trades I made short-selling. Was that due to some gift of perspicacity when it came to foretelling the downward trend of a stock? No, it was the general trend of the market! That month – August of 1998 – the market took a mini-dive. I ended up only losing about 1/8th of the amount I’d put into the pot, thank goodness, but it certainly didn’t make us rich.

It was kind of fun, the same kind of fun one has playing blackjack. It was gambling. The stock market is the worlds largest legal gambling facility. period.

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