The Letter ‘O’ Considered Harmful

I am in the process of playing a Doom clone for Linux, and decided to look back on some old notes to get some tips. In the process, I looked through some investment notes I had made nearly a year ago. After all, there’s no law that says your CAN’T keep game tips in the same notebook as investment ones!

Quite interesting it is, too. Here’s some interesting tidbits.

* I was quite keen on RGS at 110p. Glad to hear it!

* I had noted Greenblatt’s and Premsa’s interest in RIMM (Research In Motion), at $7.50. This doesn’t seem to be one of their better ideas, as it changed its name to Blackberry and now sells at only $7.95. It did reach a high of around $18 – although whether you would have been that good at knowing the high seems unlikely

* Nuveen Mullinex said that growth stocks are a coiled spring – a call that seems pretty much on the money in retrospect

* I sold JDG (Judges Scientific) … waaay too soon, as it turns out

* Goldman Sachs rated SDR (Schroders) a “conviction buy”. It’s up 68% over 1 year – so it may be worth looking out for their conviction buys in future

* I sold MCRO (Micro Focus) and ITE (ITE Group) because they were “too boring”, and I wanted to buy LAM (Lamprell). The first two companies actually gave sterling performances of the year, with MCRO handing back cash, too.

* LAM is interesting (BTW, I bought back in recently). I see that I had made a note when the share price of LAM was 77.5p. “I could see this doubling”. I don’t call them this good all the time – honest. I had made a note of some of the reactions on the boards, which included “next thing will be a discounted rights issue”, “the share price is just being pushed sideways as big fish unload at this this range, this is going to crash again”, and “sitting on the sidelines, waiting for an uptrend confirmation”. All wide of the mark. The moral of which is, don’t believe everything you read on a bulletin board.

* I see I had made a note on SID that it was “weak on director ownership”. That might be well worth considering when investing in tiny companies. Directors might well be more inclined to do crazy reckless things when they don’t have any skin in the game.

* I recorded some great quotes by Alan Kay, inventor of the
computer language Smalltalk. I consider him a genius. I had made a few notes on a video I watched by him. He said “Normal Considered Harmful” (borrowing from the phrase “Gotos Considered Harmful” … and, apparently, the members of the Fortran
committee actually penned a note entitled “The Letter ‘O’ Considered Harmful”. This is, apparently, completely true – under the citation “X3J3 post-meeting distribution for meeting held at Brookhaven National Laboratory in November 1976”). Where was? Oh yes, Alan Kay. He rated IQ as less important that knowledge, and knowledge less important than outlook (i.e. the way we actually look at things). His soundbite was: “point of view is worth 80 IQ points” – in other words, if you go from a weak way of looking at something to a strong way of looking at something, it’s like getting an brain.

So, keep an investment journal! You ‘ll be amazed at the amalgam of insight that’s so good it’s spooky, and so bad that you wonder how you ever managed to find breakfast in the morning.

About mcturra2000

Computer programmer living in Scotland.
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