35 thoughts on “Yep, this happened, and on April 12

    1. How so, Joe? Apple’s market cap is $612 billion as of today’s close. Simple math shows it to be correct.

  1. Apple’s market cap is $614B, so a 10% stake would be “worth” $61.4B today. This ignores some important facts:

    1. It’s not perfectly liquid. If someone tried to sell $61B of AAPL the price would plummet and they wouldn’t get $61B.

    2. More importantly, it ignores the “dilution” of founder and early investor shares through things like options and restricted stock to employees, which Apple has used liberally over the years to retain key employees.

    On the other hand, Apple is using it’s enormous cash reserves (largely held overseas to avoid punitive taxes) as collateral to borrow money at very low interest rates, with which they buy back shares — an attempt to “undilute” the shares — a way (along with dividends) to reward shareholders.

    1. Even taking your factors into account – if I had $800(US) – which I do – and a time machine – which I don’t – I’d still go back to 1976 and buy that $800 worth of shares.

      I’m sure the quite-a-lot-less than $61 Billion would still be enough to make a useful boost in my bank balance.


  2. What great decisions we could all make if only we could see into the future as clearly as we can see into the past!

    1. If we could all see into the future as clearly as we can into the past, those $800 worth of shares would have been worth a lot more then.

  3. So, Ronald Wayne will go down in history as the person who sold his 10% stake in Apple for $800 in 1976. Is this good or bad?

      1. Very interesting. It always sounds better as a one liner on a poster.

        In 1976 I got married and moved on to a better job that I retired from in 2003. Guess I was luckier than Mr. Wayne.

      2. Reading his post and the synopsis of his book, I note that he’s an economics nutcase. Gold standard-sort of guy.

  4. My friend took a picture of a hand made sign in the Toronto subway that said “Danger due to demon”. It was during construction. We figure it was meant to say “demo” but “demon” made both our days.

  5. While the absolute numbers are different by orders of magnitude, I am sad to say that I feel his pain.

    1. I enjoyed reading his story. Lives in a trailer park now, but doesn’t care. Seems he couldn’t do anything right in business– he sold his original Apple contract in the 1990s for $500 and that piece of paper later went for 1.6 million dollars in auction.

        1. I grew up in trailer parks, single mother, dirt poor. Invested early in Apple and held on. Now I’m wealthy. He’s a fool, or at least unlucky.

          1. Unless someone can claim clairvoyance, I think 90% of it is luck.

            For every “I hit a home run in the market” story I hear, I know of many people who lost their shirts. Especially ones who got very enthusiastic in the late 1990s.

            One friend lived like a monk for the entire 1990s and invested all he could (and then some) in tech stocks. By 2001 he told me, “it’s like I didn’t work through the whole 90s.”

            If your datum is a single point, then it’s essentially guaranteed to be luck (or insider trading).

            1. About 40 years ago, when everyone was going crazy share trading, I bought $300 worth of shares in some hot startup (New Zealand) conglomerate that owned, among other things, a carpet company. Anyway, come the inevitable crash, I just mentally wrote this off. (And learned my lesson, I never touched the share market again). However the company apparently wasn’t dissolved, it was bought as a shell company (?) by an Australian company that ventured into oil exploration in Indonesia. Every now and then I’d get thick glossy reports that must have cost more to print and post than my shares were worth. I didn’t take any notice, I just reassured myself that as a limited company, it couldn’t ruin me like one shareholding nearly ruined George Stephenson. Eventually, after many restructurings and acquisitions, it was bought out and my shares were compulsorily acquired and the value duly paid into my bank account. It came to $7.30, which is about what I would have guessed…


              1. Aaawww! I was hoping for a happy ending – huge oil reserves found, shares now worth $7.3M

              2. It’d make a better ending for the story, but it was never likely. Even if huge oil reserves had been found, my shares would have been so diluted they wouldn’t have been worth much. I never even thought of them except when one of these glossy prospectuses hit my mailbox, which I regarded in the same light as the Nigerian gentlemen in my inbox who wish me to help them launder $18M discreetly…


            2. You don’t need clairvoyance or luck for a successful investment strategy. You need the ability to delay gratification, the patience to ride out market downturns, and the sense to manage risk and avoid excess debt. If you live in the US the 401k and IRA retirement plans are great ways to save tax-free, and everyone should contribute the maximum to their plan every year, starting early. If you have an employer that matches 401k contributions that’s a fantastic deal.

              1. Yes, of course. I agree with everything you said.

                As I always say, all you need to do to become wealthy is to save some of your money and live a long time. (25% of my income is currently going into 401(k), some of which my employer contributes; but the vast majority of which I do.)

                I consider myself wealthy. Not really by USian standards, overall; but we are in the top 10% of earners, as I am privileged to be able to say.

                We, my wife and I, have worked hard and fortunately weathered quite a few economic storms, as you have. I have no claim to be “self-made”; I had a supportive family, though I have worked since I was 16 and all through university and did borrow some for my university education. My wife, however, left home with $100 to apply to college and her grit and smarts. She is more or less self made. (With far more education than I have.)

                The luck or clairvoyance (or insider trading) comes in selecting a single stock that makes one very wealthy (the point of this post).

              2. Picking stocks is risky. I don’t recommend it. Betting on ponies is more fun.

                Investment is correlated with or connected to optimism. If you think the future will be better, you bet on the future. If you don’t think so, you buy gold, firearms, and canned goods.

  6. At least, that was his decision. After all, what’s important is how you feel about your own life. Be happy. 🙂

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