On calling people "idiots" for buying/selling stock

My TechCrunch colleague MG Siegler seems to have completely missed the point of my post about his post saying that people who sold their Apple stock in October 2011 were idiots and/or morons. Happy to explain.

Truth is my initial idea was to write a post solely to point out why I think it’s wrong to call people who sell stocks of a company at a certain point in time “idiots” unless you know:

a) when they bought it

b) why they sold it

c) what they did with the proceeds

I didn’t want to ‘attack’ (for lack of a better word) MG, so I asked our editor-in-chief Erick Schonfeld to chime in. He suggested I should make my comparison to Google’s surge in share price the focal point of my post, so I did.

MG asserts that I said something stupid and gave ‘the worst advice ever’.

Obviously, I wasn’t giving anyone advice at all. I’m smart enough to realize I’m in no position to be giving people advice on which stocks to buy or sell, and one can only hope MG realizes the same is true for him.

Anyway, what I said wasn’t stupid at all. Buying GOOG in October 2011 was a great move if you sold it two weeks ago. It looks bad now. It may look like a great move again in a few weeks. Welcome to the wonderful world of the stock market.

Or, what one of MG’s commenters said.

I’ll reiterate my point once more. You can’t call people idiots or geniuses for selling stock unless you know:

a) when they bought it

b) why they sold it

c) what they did with the proceeds

I understand what MG meant. He’s right in calling some people who sold their Apple stock in October 2011 idiots, but really only if they did it based on what some ill-informed (ok, stupid) ‘analysts’ were saying after Apple missed Wall Street’s expectations. That’s a pretty big if.



INFILTRATING SLIDESHOW, INC: The $15 Billion Sensation In Brussels’ Backyard That NOBODY Talks About

(Inspired by Business Insider’s non-visit to Priceline)

Did you know there’s a Belgian company called Slideshow, Inc, that has a market cap of almost $15 billion? There isn’t. But nevertheless, they’re a stunning success.

The trick has been aggressive international growth fueled through inane slideshows plastered all over the Internet. Here’s the funny thing about Slideshow, Inc, though.

While most companies with that kind of success would run around trying to get tons of press attention for it, Slideshow, Inc is actually VERY secretive.

I wanted to know more about this stunning success. So I asked the company for a tour of its HQ. It declined. I went anyway.

First, I went down the stairs.


Before you knew it, I was downstairs and in a position to open the door that leads to outside.


Subsequently, I stepped outside in an effort to go to my car, but it wasn’t actually on the driveway.


Then, I found myself walking down the street to see if my car was parked there. It wasn’t, so I realized my wife probably took the car to go to work earlier today.

Suddenly, I felt an incontrollable urge to go to the bathroom, so I headed back home.


Once I got back inside, I went to the bathroom to take a leak.


Of course, by this time I was so distracted that I couldn’t remember why I wanted to go visit the HQ of Slideshow, Inc, so I just kind of headed to my couch for a quick lie-down.


Being a tech reporter is HARD WORK.