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December 22, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Cleaning Up

Strange day.

Had an engineering meeting in the morning that stymied me a little as I do need to wait on someone for one set of next steps, but there are plenty of other things I can do. Didn't get too much done, other than an error check and some things to make up for what happens when something *doesn't* happen. I often think software is about the extent of your imagination, can you really imagine all the possible things that could happen at a particular instance of code? If you can then you can code for them and if you code for them, things keep working. That's a good thing.

Both Fat Brain.com and Levenger said that they mailed things today. I wonder if they'll both get here before Christmas?

Well, the odd thing...

The odd thing is that our investor, who was doing so well, three years ago, is just failing badly this year. He's just bombing, and he's doing it so badly that both John and I finally really realized that he was actually trading something EVERY week. Which just sucks, if you've read The Motley Fool at all, it's the easiest way to just fail badly at beating the market. So we're figuring out, today, the full extent of the damage and it's looking really, really bad. The two good things are a) we know about it now and can do something about it because we know and b) he only had part of our money.

I can only thank luck and providence that we're only coming into real money after we're done with him. He did okay for a while, but then got either greedy, lazy, or uncertain in his own judgement. I'd like to believe the last, but given that we paid him more than $60,000 in commissions in just the last year, given how much he traded us in and out of the market, the first is a possibility. Yeesh. Given that with the part of the money John and I kept to our own control we made about 40% in just four months, it seems incredible that he actually *lost* us money last year. There are so many what-if's that it's not even funny anymore.

The helpful thing is that today we got a full picture of exactly the amount of damage and in a month or so we may be able to start changing things so that we're actually invested in a few things that will actually turn around.

It's still a really grumpy-making process.

What's a more fascinating process is realizing that the first quarter of our options vest soon. It's going to be interesting to figure out what we want to do with them. John did go through the detailed calculations of all our taxes and everything with the presumption that we actually kept the resultant shares versus just leaving the options to sit for a while, same amount of stock price growth over a year. We found out that the difference in what we gained at the end of the year was significantly in favor of leaving them as options for that year. So we may well just hold onto the options until they're about to run out... as I don't see Xilinx stock going down any time soon.

Weird to have started as a technical person and end up being very much more finance and stock oriented, in some ways. In other ways, the massive data orientation I've always had really does help in this case.

Anyway...

John and I had dinner with Kallen, as Kallen was in the area for Christmas, to visit with his parents. That was actually a lot of fun. We had dinner at the Walnut Brewery in Boulder and then wandered about and found the Colorado Creamery, as Ben and Jerry's was closed. I had a cone of their amareto ice cream with just a dab of hot fudge on top. That was really, really delicious as the ice cream is very, very rich and redolent of almonds. Yum. I really liked that, though there really was a lot of it.

The conversation was fun and catch-up, though it is always just a bit odd to meet up with someone that I see on-line nearly everyday and then what to talk about? I mean, we keep in touch constantly, so there's little that we don't know about each others lives or what's going on, so conversations get interesting in that they have to talk about things other than just what's happened lately. So we got to ask questions about family, about things we were doing for the holidays, plans and stuff rather than what had already happened. Sometimes it's really cool to look forward than back.

That was really cool.

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