8 Oct

Well, based on its recent market capitalization, technically I own 1/87,225,000th of the company with my 15 shares of stock.

It may not sound like a big deal, but to me it’s huge. You see, for two decades as a technology journalist on staff at various publications I was not permitted to own stock in companies in the computer industry. It was feared that I might be tempted to write a glowing story about a company I had shares in, or that I might sell stock in a company whose product I was about to slam in a review.

Not that I believed for a second that anything I wrote could move the market one way or another, my bosses believed it and they made the rules. So, I was not allowed to invest in the one business segment that I knew something about. As a result, I missed out on quite a few opportunities to make a killing here and there. (For example, back in 1999 when Sun Microsystems started advertising on television that it was “the dot in dot com,” I knew it was time to sell that stock short.)

Since becoming a freelancer two years ago, I’ve been free to invest in tech companies. However, by habit and the scary stock market situation since 2008, I’d still not invested in tech companies. But a couple of weeks ago I girded my financial loins and decided to buy IBM. I could have picked any stock in the tech sector, but IBM had all the things I look for in an equity: a (surprisingly) low price/earnings ratio, good revenue growth and a dividend that pays more on a percentage basis than the best money market or CD I could get from my banks.

Owning IBM is big responsibility, especially for a blogger. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write something about the company in Croisan Views that will propel the stock to new heights. Or (shudder) new lows. I now can see why my old bosses forbade me from making these investments. The fate of investors everywhere rests in my hands. 😉


4 Responses to “I Own IBM”

  1. Ken G. October 8, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Congratulations on your new acquisition!

    Similar to the old rules you operated under, does this ownership present a potential conflict of interest that you as a freelancer must disclose?

  2. dbl October 10, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    Welcome to the American Dream, Daddy Warbucks. And a fine choice for your first tech investment…in fact, IBM may be the oldest extant technology company. There was that long-ago boo-boo when Mr. Watson thought the world would need only a half-dozen computers, but the company seems to have recovered nicely. Get rich!

    • Mark Everett Hall October 10, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

      Daddy Warbucks was probably Tom Watson’s VC. Contemporaries, after all. 😉

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