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Ballard Power Systems Inc. Message Board

  • william_tarasen william_tarasen Nov 9, 2011 8:06 PM Flag

    OT: Made a hit

    Seems a $10K investment made in a small private company early this year returned $350K as they were bought out. So I rewarded myself and replaced my sock collection. Yes, when I was young my parents sent me to a private boarding school where we had to do our own laundry. My roommate instructed me to save up and purchase enough shorts and socks such that I could do a full load of laundry without mixing things. So every 5-7 years I throw out those socks remaining and purchase about 60 identical pairs. Life is easy, one gets a hole, throw it out. As I am a morning person and often dress in the dark so as not to awaken the little woman, all I have to do is open the sock drawer and take two. I know they match. And I don't have to worry about matching socks.

    But it was a good day.



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    • I am happy for you Bill. I like to see intelligent people that I agree with do well but I am going to use this post to segue to the subject of risk return.

      The set of videos at the link below changed my thinking on investing more than any thing sincethe book "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Burton Malkiel.

      The them is people will pay for a chance at the sort return that you just got and that it often rather random.

      I still think that there are places (for example green technology) where people over invest, that present opportunities to those who can keep the bias under control but more and more I think that the safest equities (KO, PG, PEP, MMM, JNJ etc.) seem the best bets.

      • 2 Replies to jwogdn
      • Hi Jim,

        I appreciate your thoughts regarding conservative investments. I have been examining such equities extensively after being kicked around by my more "aggressive" investments and their disaster in 2008.

        The pinnacle of my research so far is "McDonalds". In bad time people eat more inexpensive food because it is all they feel they can afford. In good times, the company expands to new parts of the world. I will try to post a link to a chart that I particularly enjoy, but if it doesn't work chart MCD for the maximum possible length:


        It never falters. It just slowly and quietly goes up and up and up. And it pays a 3% dividend.

        Respectfully - Gomor

        Of course do your own due diligence!!!

      • Frankly, I only own one public stock currently. I simply don't trust most reporting by corporations. At least in a private investment world you get to see the books if you are willing to be the loneliest person in the world (A minority holder in a private company gets NO attention.)

        And that leads to the next question, how can one determine risk if you're a mushroom? And the second item is that it costs a lot of money to be a public company. For smaller companies it is simply not worth the effort.



    • Bill, I met you a while back when you consulted for Textron Specialty Materials. While I like you, respect, and agree with most of your opinions, your shameless bragging in your post is unneccessay It makes poor working slobs like me envious, and envy is an unpleaseant emotion. Next time, keep that $HI^ to yourself. Thank You. And BTW, the family in front of me in line at Shop&Save thanks you for the food stamps they used to buy 50 cans of food. They know how hard you worked to earn the money that was taxed to pay for it.

      • 4 Replies to ilikeembrown
      • Don't thank willie for the food stamps. He has bragged on this board that he doesn't pay taxes. And we all know he would abolish them along with soc. sec. & medicare in a minute.
        His priviledged education at a private boarding school explains his frequent deriding of public school education.

      • BTW, another consideration. My wife has MS, and as such she takes Avonex, a weekly shot I administer. The cost is approaching $40K per year. Fortunately our current health care plan covers 75% of that. However, no socialized system pays for it, and barrycare is a few years away.

        So in addition to retirement savings, I have to save to keep my wife from being an invalid. Which is why after I retired in 2000, I went back to work. I need a few large hits or a home run. I want the aforementioned company to set up a 419 af6 account to simply pay for my wife's drugs. We all work for something. That is my goal in life.



      • I apologize if you took it the wrong way. That was not my intention.

        Textron was my favorite client. They always treated me very well. If I was in Boston visiting them, they would always take me to a Bruin game, Red Sox game, etc. And most importantly they paid their bills in a very timely manner. And finally the people were aces too.

        Here's another put. I have started a company by obtaining the rights to a certain technology. I personnally think it is the best consumer product invention in a long time. Everyone I have presented it to wants one or two or wants to use them in construction. We have done the design, made prototypes, and lined up manufacturing in China. We cannot however obtain a patent so the market will eventually be wide open so we have to focus on a simple design and keeping costs down. We are looking for an outside investor to put up $250,000 for 1/3 ownership. I think the company could be worth about $10M without patent protection. Probably 5X that with patents.

        The goal is to start the company and get it going and sell it. I really have no interest in running a company. Besides I have other projects that need attention.



      • ilikeem,

        While you may think Bill was 'shamelessly bragging' about a very fortunate hit on an investment, I am happy for him. It takes a lot of studying the market, researching the companies and placing a well timed bet to stand a good chance of being rewarded. Reward is a good thing. When it pays off I don't think noting your good fortune occasionally is a problem at all. We all hope we can hit the big one some day.

        I ran across a great thought to contemplate... How do you know when you are 'rich'? You know when you are have donated to a charity. Then you know you have all the wealth you need...



    • Bill-

      While I too am a "full fleet changeout" person when it comes to underwear and socks, I only have enough for two weeks worth of wear, in the event I miss a weekly laundry day.

      But - I just gotta ask - where the heck do you get 60 pairs of identical socks?

      And aren't you tying up precious capital in your overinvestment in socks? Not to mention storage space.

      I would contrast your acquisitionist approach to those who are going towards a minimalist approach on possessions - only own 100 things (I think they count a "set" of socks instead of individual socks).,9171,1812048,00.html

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