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The Almighty Buck

Tech Stocks Tumble 396

For the first time I'm posting a story that I consider completely offtopic for Slashdot: I'm sick of the insulting e-mails, the derogatory namecalling, and the all-in-all childish behavior accusing me of some sort of shadow conspiracy. I consider stories about the stock market to be CNNfn or CNBCs thing. We only bring up the market when it deals with specific companies that we're interested in, not when the story is "The Market." But here it is. Over the last week, the US Stock Market dropped like a stone through kleenex. I don't really know what to say about it: what I know, and in fact my interest in the Stock Market can fill a shotglass, but I'm sure there are many readers with opinions on the subject (including an especially huge black conspiracy perpetrated by Slashdot to hide the "Truth" about something that I simply consider offtopic and uninteresting).
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Tech Stocks Tumble

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  • by ewanb ( 18483 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:34AM (#1129794) Homepage
    That is an impressive show of being pissed off
    by CmdrTaco. I guess it got to him.

    Stock Market is a non-story to me as well.
    I don't think it should be commented on by slashdot either!
  • by mikeylebeau ( 68519 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:36AM (#1129795) Homepage
    This is one of the first Slashdot articles in a while that I've actually felt like I could have nothing to contribute if I wanted to spend the time, because it simply doesn't raise any issues.

    I don't think it's a coincidence that this is "offtopic" for Slashdot and completely boring at the same time.. hehe. :)

    Thus, I think Slashdot's typical range of "on-topic" subjects are just about right on and something like this shouldn't be accepted to the pool of accepted topics on Slashdot.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there. :)
  • by Fleet Admiral Ackbar ( 57723 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:36AM (#1129796) Homepage
    You may claim that "the market" is not a story, but it fact it has been a story in the past. There is no difference between posting about an IPO and posting about the Linux stock tumble - they are both of interest to certain Slashdotters.

    I would suggest that, given that Linux's credibility in the business world is a direct function of RHAT and LNUX prices (which I don't agree with, but there you go), we need to be discussing this. This is more on-topic than any of Jon Katz's ramblings.

    I'm sorry if you lost money. A lot of us lost money. That doesn't make Linux any less viable, it doesn't affect the GPL, but it is worthy of discussion.

  • by ( 84577 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:38AM (#1129797) Homepage
    The vast (90+%) majority of slashdotters don't post or email their opinions, and I'd bet they're generally happy with Mr. Taco's choices of what fits into "News for Nerds"...

    I'd hate to see the site altered to fit the 3% loudest readers.
  • by Edward_M ( 26167 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:40AM (#1129799) Homepage
    a non-story??

    The stock market takes a hit greater than it did on Black Monday in '87, lossing over a Trillion dollars in the US and a shitload everywhere else and its a "non-story"? I don't know about you people but I would definitly file this under "Stuff that matters". Mind you though, the market is only back down to the level it was 6 months (or a year?) ago.
  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:41AM (#1129801) Homepage
    I quite agree that stock market news (or sports results, or how to molest chickens for fun and profit) do not belong on slashdot; there are several thousand sites out there already with everything from quotes from markets all over the world, to commentary, to astrological market forecasts.

    In general, i feel there is only a point in posting non-tech stories if there is a valid "geek angle" to it, something about the story that the slashdot crowd can appreciate. The stock market in general doesn't qualify.

  • Question for discussion:
    How do you think the market downturn will affect recent entrants like Linux based stocks? Some analysts have commented that the market is cooling to Linux... Thoughts?
  • I am not one of the forces that suggested/demanded a story about the stock market, but I feel that if Commander Taco feels so strongly about it, then this discussion that I am taking part in should not occur.

    I totally agree that discussions about the stock market in general do not belong on Slashdot. There are hundreds of websites that are dedicated to that. Actually, I think the IPO coverage that Slashdot has right now is extraneous.

    On that note (and perhaps offtopic), I wonder if there is a formal system to moderate the topics themselves. Readers/moderators can currently state there opinions about postings (MODERATE THIS UP!), but I'm not aware of a system to moderate the topics other than posting, "THIS TOPIC SUCKS... FIRST POST"

    Just something to Consider...

    Do you believe?
  • How many thousands of shares of VA/Andover do you have?

    Oh, for fsck's sake, who gives a damn? If the man says that he has no interest in the stock market, why is it so hard for you to take his word for it? For a lot of people in this industry, money is not the reason they're doing this.

    Do you honestly believe that Gates is doing this for money anymore? Why bother? Most of the sucessful computer-geek types that I've seen so far have done this because they enjoy the field, they like working with computers. They honestly enjoy their jobs, and would do this for fractions of their salary.

    Yes, recently the suits have moved in, but it's pretty easy to tell the difference between a stuffed suit and a true geek. Try it some time.

    (flame off)

  • by JamesKPolk ( 13313 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:46AM (#1129817) Homepage
    Forget the whole market.. focus on the companies often discussed:

    RHAT: Red Hat
    LNUX: VA Linux Systems
    CALD: Caldera
    ANDN: l?

    Title of the CNet story: "Sour market pushes Linux stocks below IPO prices"
  • I have to agree that most people here probably have no interest in a story about market swings, however volitile. It has been covered to death elsewhere.

    I have stock invested, and I really don't care - the market will go up again, just as it has gone down.
  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:50AM (#1129822) Homepage

    I was wondering how long the tech. stock lunacy would go on. As somebody who holds a little bit of stock in a profitable brick-and-morter retailer, this is kind of gratifying. It was getting really annoying to see these outrageous valuations for money-losing companies.

    I'm even kind of glad that the Linux stocks have returned to sanity. It's pretty clear that Linux will continue to grow exponentially over the next few years. It's not at all clear where and how much money will be made in the market.

    RedHat, for example, will never be the cash cow that Microsoft was in the '90s. Even if they get 90% of the OS market, they'll never have the outrageous margins that MS had/has. The Open-Source model just won't support it. I'm positive they'll turn into a strong, profitable company, but that it's anybody's guess whether they will be a profitable $20M company or a profitable $20B company.

    It's entirely possible that the big bucks in the Linux market will be made by companies like IBM, SGI, and SCO. It's just too early to tell how it will turn out.

  • While I would not go so far as to accuse CmdrTaco of a conspiracy (at least on this issue), there may actually be a story here which could impact a large chunk of us.

    No one disputes that there are many technology stocks which are over-valued for their revenue. Fund managers have been forced into adopting a scheme of investing ahead of reason in order to maintain a competitive edge. Now the bottom has dropped out of a lot of these stocks and Linux is not immune.

    Think of the benefits that you personally have received from the large amounts of money invested in tech stocks. Since open-source-based companies give their products away, if they have more money for more developers (full-time) then if you use their products, you have benefited. I do not dispute that even without money, Linux development will continue and continue to accelerate. The extra cash that these companies had on hand was just glycerine on the fire. /.ers should be prepared, however, for the coming mergers and cost-cutting measures by just about every tech company out there.
  • This will determine if the commercial interests in Linux are really just a flash in the pan, or here to stay.. What worries me is that it looks more and more to be a flash in the pan..

    A perfect example would be, sorry to say it, LNUX, Aka, VA Linux. Their stock will now end up having whole chapters devoted to it. It was the most spectacular rise AND fall of a stock ever.. From over 320$ opening day, to a little over 20. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's undervalued. I think, at the moment, it *IS* a 20$ stock.

    This is where the pain is going to start to set in, and we shall all see if these companies will thrive, or start stabbing eachother in the back.. They have shareholders to answer to now. One could argue that releasing things publically instead of holding them as proprietary isn't in the best interest of the shareholders..

    Stocks are about greed. No one ever bought a stock becouse of morals, or to better the community. They buy it becouse they believe that it will make them money..
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:54AM (#1129829) Homepage
    > I'm sick of the insulting emails, the deregotory namecalling, and the all in all childish behavior accusing me of some sort of shadow conspiracy.

    OK.. so if i've deciphered your rant correctly, the problem is that you failed to post a story saying "the stock market is falling".. and so people got angry, assumed you had some nefarious reasons for not posting said story, and flamed you. So you, just to make these people shut up, are posting a story saying "the stock market is falling".

    I find that kind of funny.
    because while i obviously haven't seen your personal email and don't know what's in it, i _have_ been reading slashdot postings.. and for the last couple weeks i've actually seen a bunch of flame postings saying there is TOO MUCH coverage of stock/financial/business-related-money issues on slashdot! As in, people who see periodic announcements about commercial businesses going public or having things happen to them, and thus assume that Andover has turned slashdot into some kind of CNNfn workalike.
    These people are probably going to be tearing their hair out over the story you just posted.

    Taco: no matter what you do, people are going to get pissed off. There is nothing you can DO about this. People in general suck. For some reason slashdot readers in particular if they see something they don't care to read about, they seem to be unable to just not read it and move on with their lives. No, they have to post flame crap saying "this shouldn't have been written". And of course that works in reverse too, as you well know.
    You can't please these people NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. So why try?
  • Are we beginning to see the (finally!) ridiculous valuation of all these $&#*(! net stocks? I mean, I think the net is a pretty big deal, too, but geez!

    Why have all these companies like Amazon been valued so high? because they are building brand awareness? I think that's a bunch of crap. I just don't see brand being as important 5 years from now. The Internet is diluting brand. I don't give a crap about brand when I go to buy a book. I care about price, which is why I go to cheapbooks and let it find the best price for me.

    See, how important is brand when your brand can be co-opted. All the "branding, marketing" stuff on your site can be bypassed by an index site (like cheapbooks). Or by Pricewatch. or whatever. Who gives a crap about brand when I can get good, hard data on what that thingee really does? I happen to like the Wrox press computer books, but do I seek 'em out? No. I read user reviews on Amazon/B&N/Fatbrain, find the book I want, then fire it into cheapbooks.

    anyway, Rant off, but I think the tech stocks were ridiculously overvalued and them falling is good. That being said, there is SO much money pouring into the market these days as everyone pumps money into mutual funds, that the market will rebound. Because the money will keep flowing in. What are you gonna do? Buy bonds?
  • by HomerJ ( 11142 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @05:57AM (#1129832)
    When you don't investigate EVERY company you want to buy stock in, it's a gamble. These gambling day traders, trying to hop on the next big IPO inflated the market so much, that a huge correction was going to happen.

    I don't feel sorry for the people that lost thier shirt one bit. People that invested in "dotcom" stocks that never had any good business plan, never any proftis, never any THOUGHT of profits, just some spiffy URL, deserved what they got when the bottom fell out. And for the people that lost big on Microsoft. If you couldn't see this drop coming months ago, you also deserved to lose what you did. A fool and their money are soon parted.

    What happened was, these day traders started to realize that when the ruling came out, and these companies that depended on Microsoft started to drop with Microsoft, they realized that the market isn't some sort of game anymore, where their account balance was bragged about like a high score on Galaga. Those numbers they saw on e-trade, etc. was their retirement going down the shitter, and it scared the hell out of them. So the same jabronis that inflated the market with idiot buying, took it back down with idiot selling.

    So I say good for them, maybe now they will realize that trading is just not hopping on the next big thing, and gambling your money away. It's something left to people that know every little company like the back of their hand, the brokers. If brokerage fees are something you have to worry about, you shoulnd't be in the market to begin with.
  • Well, I just typed in a great big long thing and before I submitted it I read a bunch of the comments about not commenting. All of them are right.

    But, at the same time I think I can sum up the tech stock drop: Stupid people are investing in tech stocks.

    It's as simple as that.

  • You are truely living in a sheltered world. Tell me, who provides you with your food, you internet access, your gas? I'm willing to bet it's a company. I bet you even WORK for a company, don't you? Did some non profit orginization make your computer and it's components? I doubt it.

    Money that leaves the stock market goes into other things, don't fool yourself. Rarely is money liquidated from the market. It's simply moved over to bonds, and lower risk factor investments, such as gold, silver, etc. Heck, much of it will also go into overseas bank acounts to sit and earn interest.

    Companies getting hurt directly affects everyone. I'd like to point out that nearly every major recession woldwide has been preceeded by a dramatic loss in the stock market.
  • It's a slashdot conspiracy. That explains everything. Those black helicopters over my house with the black /. painted on the sides.

    And of course, the infamous area 32767, where all positive numbers slip into the negative universe.

  • While the black Monday point total is true, I coulda swore I heard on NPR that as a percentage, it was smaller than on Black Monday. Regardless, I still find it non-/.-news-worthy. (Not griping AT senior Taco, I'm agreeing WITH senior Taco) I find the whole DJIA/NASDQ/etc. etc. thing to be, hmmmm (looking for the right words) a combination of uninteresting and weird. I read somewhere that if you substitued something like 5 large companies for another set of 5 companies in the DJIA the crash in the 20's didn't happen. i.e. the DJIA would NOT have crashed (of course, those 5 compaines may very well have) - it seemed to hint at the whole perception drives truth thing - people saw the DJIA tanking, so they bailed, which of course made it tank worse, so it spread, yada yada yada. Don't flame if I'm wrong on specifics (you are, of course, welcome to if I am totally in left field), cuz I'm just not interested in it enough to investigate it deeper than the generalities...
  • by LocalYokel ( 85558 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @06:02AM (#1129840) Homepage Journal

    When are people going to start blaming Netscape, like they rightfully should? I don't recall them ever making it into the black -- no wonder they went from boom to bust in about four years!

    The Netscape IPO was the second (or third) California Gold Rush. There were stories of instant millionaires, and the tech-savvy who could make it there discovered it easy to find financing from people who couldn't get there themselves, but had seen and heard of this gold, and wanted a cut of it for themselves. Sure, there was gold, but most people couldn't make it profitable enough. Surprise, surprise, they went broke.

    Anyway, it should come as no surprise that tech stocks are helping to drive down the market. Profitable companies like M$ are in legal trouble, while dot-coms and Linux outfits have not been making money from the get go -- sure sounds like a losing combo to me.


  • A successful tool is one that was used to do something undreamt of by its author
    --Stephen C. Johnson

    Ok. So you're not interested in the stock market, don't know anything about it, and don't feel like reading about it. Personally, I could care less about Quake and really don't feel like reading whatever Carmack has to say this week. Someone else out there is maybe sick of some other topic or topics that run on Slashdot from time to time.

    But the fact of the matter is that Slashdot has become a large and diverse community site -- bigger than I think the creators of the site intended, and certainly beyond what they can really control now. (Hello first posters, gritty pants people, and other trolls).

    The fact of the matter is that the stock collapse is an important story, even if you don't feel like reading about it. The stock market of the 90s has been very bizarre, growing in value far beyond the ability of corporations to repay the investment, and it had to be obvious that something had to give eventually. If the market falls by half over the coming days and weeks, that will restore sanity and long term stability, but at the same time it will hurt a whole lot of people. The parallels between the 20s leading up to 1929's crash and the 90s leading up to this (or else, if we recover from this now, a bigger and more permanent crash that I for one think is inevitable and not too far off on the horizon) are striking and certainly at least as newsworthy as a frickin' video game console and it's possible hard drive.

    I have a hard time sympathizing with you on this one, CmdrTaco. You don't think this is interesting, yeah, well, fine. But a lot of other people surely do, and if this "community site" is to remain relevant to "the community", you must be willing to run stories that interest them as well as yourself.

  • What about retirement funds and IRA accounts? Those directly affect the people (especially in the US, where Social Security is a joke).

  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @06:05AM (#1129845)
    CmdrTaco said:

    I consider stories about the stock market to be CNNfn or CNBCs thing. We only bring up the market when it deals with specific companies that we're interested in, not when the story is "The Market".

    If I want general, up-to-date news on the stock market, I have cable. I'll turn on CNBC. And allegedly some of the newsstands around here carry the Wall Street Journal. Slashdot is neither of these. That isn't central to it. To try to carry a story every day with the previous day's closing on all the stocks of interest to Slashdotters would detract from the character of Slashdot. However, running stories about the IPO behavior of Open Source companies and to track them from time to time is appropriate. It is a part of what those companies are. It can effect how they act.

    For the stock market addicted, I suggest that Slashdot could offer a Slashbox that provides the latest quotes for the stocks of companies that Slashdot often runs stories about. Obviously any Open Source company would make the list. But Intel, Microsoft, Sun, Apple, and IBM get mentioned often enough to make the list. One of the greatest strengths of Slashdot is its configurability. Let the people who want the quotes get them.

    As for the people who never want financial news, go customize your Slashdot homepage to exclude stories about "The Almighty Buck". And a note to Slashdot. It is a challenge to find it. I could understand alphabetizing it under "Almighty", "Buck" or even "The", but it seems to be alphabetized under "Mighty" perhaps to put it right under "Microsoft".
  • by loki7 ( 11496 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @06:05AM (#1129846) Homepage
    If the stock market is a non-story, then it should always be a non-story. Slashdot often posts articles about Taco's favourite company's IPO'ing. If it's going to carry any financial news, then then stories about the tech bubble bursting are certainly Slahsdot-worthy.

    This story impacts all of us. If tech stocks don't recover it means that there will be less money for start ups to do cool things! How many exciting companies are going to sink because they've lost all their capital?
  • As far as the stocks are concerned though, I'm not worried. Easy come, easy go for me. However, seeing that the market is now controlled by idiots, they'll see low prices and say "OOH! ME BUY ME BUY!", the market goes back up.

    Prices go up, idiots get scared and sell.

    Repeat cycle.

    If you wanna win, you just gotta time the idiot cycle right. I messed up, but I know that its going to come back up when the idiots see the low prices and invest in everything and their mother.

    Mike Roberto ( [mailto]) - AOL IM: MicroBerto

  • by Isaac-Lew ( 623 )
    Sort of on-topic:

    anyone see how AMD actually had a profit? (US$1.16/share).

  • Everybody who uses linux (if you use linux) irrespective of commercial interests, raise your hand?

    (presumably most of slashdot goes up)

    Now everybody who's totally dependent on some corporate interest for their usage of linux, raise your hand?

    hmm...I see.

    I use linux because I was sick of pirating, I wanted to try something new and hopefully better. "Commercial" interests have probably only *hindered* that for me, not helped. Slashdot existed sans Andover, sans VA, everything I consider good about linux existed without corporate interests. While I think it's good that slashdot should be kept on its toes for journalistic integrity, I, personally, trust most of what I read here as having only massive personal bias, and no "market" or "corporate" bias, which is exactly what slashdot is supposed to be, IMO.

  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Sunday April 16, 2000 @06:12AM (#1129855) Homepage
    Sheesh! Don't you know how to write a conspiracy theory?? The Jewish bankers are *purposely* depressing the stock price so the Christians will sell off. Monday they start buying again, and the stupid Christians say "OHMYGOD, why did I sell".

    Now *that's* a proper conspiracy theory. Oh, no, wait, you have to throw something in about CmdrTaco's hidden Jewish/Armenian ancestry, and how he hates the Turks. Oh, and he has a mole in the center of his back, which is a mark of his genetic manipulation. All of HIS people have the same mole. Irrelevent details improve the plausibility -- nobody would make these things up, y'see.
  • What about KREM? :)

    Mmmmm, dounts...

  • So this is probably not "News for Nerds" but it is, IMHO, "Stuff that matters", maybe not to be discussed on a daily basis but interesting still.

    You see, the Market is not just one thing, it's just a name we use to refer to a large group of economical phenomenoms in which participate millions of people, whether individually or organized on companies, unions, consulting firms or whatever. So, I would dare to say that the Market is /.-worthy because tech companies participate in it, specially and more recently, Linux-related ones. And, as other posters have pointed out, there's been plenty of IPO related stories on /. So, CmdrTaco says that the Market is of no interest but the companies performing in it are, my point is that you can't separate them: simplifying, the Market is the companies is the Market.

    On the other hand, this overdependence on the Market to me is interesting if not creepy. There's too much speculation which is not bad by itself but becomes dangerous when it has no real foundations. So VA Linux has a huge IPO, but is (was) the company so valuable? Of course not; there's a lot of hype affecting the investors decisions, this is not a perfect free market. Come on, there's even people saying [] that the Market has been behaving so irrationally lately because too many people are taking Prozac on a regular basis so they don't measure risk well. The point is that the behavior and structure of "The Market" (and the discussion about it) say a lot about our society, specially about our means of productions and development, our individual and collective goals and our ways to apply technology to get to them. This is as relevant as the Govt. policies that have been discussed here at /. And every piece that we can gather to understand our society is "stuff that matters"

  • I think you should write a book on the interactions between short term intrabank lending interest rate target policy and equity market fluctuations. Really, I mean your thesis is soooo original that I'm sure that millions of lemmings, err, I mean investors, will buy your work and you'll make a ton of money. Sarcasm aside, the increase in the CPI is miminal and considerably below long term trend lines. In all probability, it represents the higher energy prices caused by the supply deficit in petroleum products. The Fed usually does not consider the CPI as a major precusor of real inflation; as an indicator, it is rather insensitive and tends to be lagging, rather than leading. The CPI is one of many factors that are considered, ranging from PPI to margin percentages to structural unemployment indexes. Even if the Fed were to raise interest rates, as they have done so repeatedly in the past, it is unreasonable to project causation vis a vis the fall in stock prices into what may be correlation. Not to mention that recently the market has not reacted strongly to interest rate changes (so there goes correlation as well)...
  • Linux cannot be a flash in the pan. The fatal flaw in your reasoning is the traditional view (that many take) that a product can only live as long as it's company. Well Linux has no company. If Andover, Redhat, Caldera, Linuxone, and all the rest vanish tomorrow, Linux will not go away. It will still be worked on, still continue to improve and people will still use it.


  • by Money__ ( 87045 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @06:18AM (#1129867)
    1 Cisco Eclipses Microsoft As 'Most Valuable Company' [] by timothy on 02:07 PM -- Sunday March 26 2000 CST 249
    2 3Com Spinning Off US Robotics [] by Hemos on 08:15 AM -- Tuesday March 21 2000 CST 80
    3 Net Firms Running Out Of Cash? [] by Hemos on 10:57 PM -- Monday March 20 2000 CST 197
    4 The Implications Of Knowledge Work [] by timothy on 02:43 AM -- Monday March 20 2000 CST 139
    5 Secrets of Software Success: Management Insights from 100 Software Firms [] by Hemos on 09:40 AM -- Thursday February 24 2000 CST 71
    6 What are Share Options Worth? [] by Cliff on 06:37 AM -- Saturday January 15 2000 CST 126
    7 What's the Best Online Financial Solution? [] by Cliff on 01:25 PM -- Wednesday January 05 2000 CST 151

  • Well, yes and no.

    I actually think that Rob posting this particular story in this particular way was the right thing to do. I am sick of hearing about it probably as much as Rob himself is (then again, I also work for accountants).

    There are plenty of reasons this could be seen as news for nerds, though:

    1. Lots of people on /. probably either have employee stock options through this company or are otherwise invested in tech stocks, and have lost a lot of money. Of course, they'd have to be complete idiots to not be aware of that as it is. :)

    2. Some folks in various little startups who had their stock crash (like a friend of mine who saw her company's stock go from $100 to $27 in the past two weeks) are worried that they are going to lose their jobs. THAT angle, IMHO, is a legit one for /. to pursue.

    3. As a result of all this, some people either in the industry or studying to join the industry are taking a lot of flack from more conservative and traditional businesspeople who have used the past two weeks to say "Ha-ha, told you so!" And hostility toward geeks tends to turn a story into /. material. ;)
  • The crash of '29 was absolutely real, whichever way you look at it - it was not some statistical anomaly created by choice of DJIA component stocks.

    Some of the hardest hit stocks in the '29 crash were the "Nifty Fifty", which were the 50 most respected blue chip growth stocks of the day (i.e. the Home Depot and Cisco's). These stocks grew to have huge P/Es as everyone believed their growth rates deserved it. During the crash, these stocks fell 90-95% or more.

    The '29 crash also marked the end of the prosperous "Roaring 20's", and gave rise to the ensuing depression.

    FYI the NASDAQ drop, so far, from the 5000+ peak to fridays 3300 close is around 35%, which is more than the "Black Monday" drop. Last week's decline alone was around 25% - the same as Black Monday.

    There are still many stocks selling at historicaly absurd prices, so the carnage is likely not over yet. We may get a sucker/technical rally sometime soon, but IMO we havn't seen the NASDAQ bottom yet.
  • This is not a news site. This is CmdrTaco's sandbox. The reason slashdot is interesting is that most of the time, most of what he considers interesting, *I* consider interesting. That doesn't mean that he has to publish everything that I might consider interesting, or even publish everything that he has an interest in.
  • You said "Stocks are about greed. No one ever bought a stock becouse of morals, or to better the community. They buy it becouse they believe that it will make them money.."

    I think there are some exceptions to this. I bought a few hundred of RedHat because I like what they do and I alway felt a little guilty not paying for my OS (I know I could buy shrinkwrap...) I realized the market was nutty and sold some when RHAT was up around 250. They are now back where they should have been all along. Even without the crazy profit, I am glad I bought into Red Hat, even if it is only a few shares.

    In another case, I think the Green Bay Packers sold stock to fans so that nobody could come in and buy the team and move it. People bought the stock as symbolic more than anything.

  • It's paper, nothing more. If I declare a piece of paper to be "worth" a zillion dollars on Tuesday, and nothing on Wednesday, then, wow, I just lost a zillion dollars. It was never there.

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • Well, first of all, it was a greater hit in numbers, not in percentages. And in market crashes, it is percentages that matter.

    Besides, the '87 market crash didn't really matter much in the end, anyway. If I recall, it recovered everything in under a year.

    These things only hurt those day-traders out to make the quick buck, or those investing on margin. Anyone investing for the long term and with your own money, like all the experts tell you to do, will not be much hurt but this. And as we saw in the eighties, the market bubbles have little effect on the economy as a whole.

  • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @06:23AM (#1129877) Homepage Journal
    I don't use Linux because of stock prices, and I doubt that anyone sane is running around saying "Oh, Linux-oriented stocks are down. I guess I'd better run out and get Win2K for my server."

    The fortunes of Linux -- the operating system -- are not tied in any way to the fortunes of any single company that sells Linux software, hardware or information. That is the beauty of open source software, and why I use it almost exclusively.

    Another note: the stock price of a company doesn't necessarily affect its operations in any way other than its ability to use its stock to buy other companies or raise further funds through borrowing or new offerings. A company that goes public gets the original opening day "set" price and that's all. If the stock then goes up by some huge amount, the company gets nothing out of it. If the stock later goes down, the company take no loss.

    For news about the stock market, I usually turn to CNNfn or CBS MarketWatch, not to Slashdot. This is not the *only* source of online news, you know. (*g*)

    - Robin
  • That's the nature of the beast. But I also know that people still invest their time in VMS, Ultrix, Windows 3.1, etc... That's not my point.

    I'm talking about the idea of Linux as a mainstream operating system. And people *WILL NOT* use and support an operating system in the mainstream without a company to fall back on. Linux is only gaining the marketshare it is BECOUSE there are companies like RedHat out there 'SELLING' it.

    Linux will not go away. Neither will MSDOS, the Vic-20, or PPD-11's. That's not my point..
  • I know that its going to come back up when the idiots see the low prices and invest in everything and their mother.

    Think of it as a discount sale at your favorite department store. If there is stock you've wanted all along and you have the money right now, why not pick up a few good gems at a discount?

    There are a few gems out there and god knows they'll rebound back in the next few months.
    By the way, this topic sucks.. best left to or another investment site. :)

  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Sunday April 16, 2000 @06:25AM (#1129882) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people here are talking about how Linux was overvalued or how Techs were overvalued. I hate to break it to you, but that's a very nearsighted point-of-view. The reality is that the Market was overvalued and the Market corrected.

    The good news is that technology stocks weren't strong because it was a fad. Technology stocks were strong because there was a ton of money coming into the market trying to take advantage of what is obviously a major shift in the way humans interact with eachother and in the infrastructure required to do it. That sort of upheval is what leads to frontier markets like the international trade situation after WWII or the gold-rush (which was not so much about gold as it was about settling half of a continent, in terms of investment and return).

    This period of history will have its winners and its loosers, but I don't think that this correction will signal the last run-up or the last drop. We're in for a wild and bumpy ride for at least the next five years.

    Note to Taco: you should be interested. The stock market is perhaps the single capitolist endevor that most resembles open-source, and as such it tends to demonstrate a lot of the pit-falls that we have to look forward to. How so? Well, can you think of another example where total disclosure is made, value is assessed simply on results, and each new endevor is free to use the same tactics demonstrated by earlier projects? The businesses themselves are nothing like Open Source, but if you think of each stock as a project on its own....
  • If all tech stocks are diving, Linux won't get the blame. If anything, the Microsoft case is what seems to be getting the blame right now.

    Much better for Linux stocks to tumble in a group with everything else than for them to tumble when everything else is going gangbusters.

  • Usage by a target audience and mainstream viability of an operating system are to seperate and distinct things. I will continue to use Linux myself, no matter what happens. But the current spotlight ON linux in a commercial environment MAY be what is the flash in the pan. It was only recently in Linux's short history that many good, quality applications became available for it. I'm not saying that others didn't come out or where there before hand, such as X Windows, but they where the exception, *NOT* the rule. You don't see any other 'Unix' flavor operating system listed on as many 'Compatible' pages as Linux is. This is becouse of the commercial base, and *NOT* becouse of the dedicated following here at Slashdot.
  • Personally, I was looking forward to a 10,000 word essay from CmdrTaco concerning the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the protests in D.C., what started them, how to solve them, what sorts of basic monetary reform are needed, how, if at all, to make a better international monetary system, and of course, CmdrTaco's top ten recommendations to Alan Greenspan.

    Or at least pix of CmdrTaco touring the riot area in Roblimo's limo.

  • Yet, you sold your stock, didn't you? You didn't HAVE to. You wouldn't have lost any money as long as it remained higher then what you paid for it.

    And the Packers did indeed sell shares, so that they could make money locally without having to move. Stock is about buying a peice of a company. Some buy simply to own a peice of a company they believe in, but it's *BECOUSE THEY BELIEVED IN THE COMPANY*, and their ability to make money. I'd love to see what kind of trading GreenPeace would have if they sold shares. A flash at first, as everyone grammy wants to get a peice of a company that provides a service they believe in. After that, the value plummets, and trading of the stock goes to a trickle..

    Hrm.. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
  • Now now cmdrtaco let's deal with some reality here not the fanatsy world you live in. Althou your interest in the stock market could fill a shot glass the stock market affects you and what you do in this industry. The stock market is more than nasdaq and M$ and the new linux stocks. The market involves all the pieces parts that go into the very computer you are working on right down to the petrolum by product that makes the boards that all those chips, resistors and other gizmos get soldered to. And that can have a dramitic effect on price, supply and demand at it's finest. The program code for linux may be free but the parts for your motherboard are not. Not only that the perphials for linux aren't free either I belive that Corel office price will be about $199 dollars. Guess what it had better sell or Corel will have problems. And althou you may not pay attention to it a lot of people do their pay is directly affected by it. It is true that \ . is not a stock market news service, but to completly diss on it is just shows a true lack of judgement in the real world. \ . is under no obligation to report what it doesn't want to there are plenty of other web sites out there to inform ppl. But don't your advertisers want to know what kind of traffic hits \ . so they can see if their product will get an audience or maybe this is all completly free and nobody charges you for the bandwidth your using.
  • It pains me to see a topic posted the way it was. I constantly see people posting about not wanting the word geek be some all encompassing thing that results in the stereo-typing of /. readers. Us geeks come from all walks of life - from bio-chem geeks to anime otaku. So why must all the topics that are deemed "relavent" be limited strictly to what tech geeks and those who think linux is the answer to all of life's mystries (the real answer is 42)?

    I am not saying that i hate linux (i use it). What i am saying is that the editors should give more thought into what the readers are interested and not just what linux-geeks are interested. I am afraid to think of what has Not made it to slashdot because of the discriminatory attitude such editors as cmdrtaco seem to display as evidant in his posting.

    The stock market in all its forms should be relavent. It forms the very basis of the economy and therefore are lives. Tech stocks or not!

  • The biggest deal in the world these days has been the insane amounts of cash being generated by tech stocks, funding tens of thousands of startups, internet divisions of large corporations, everything to do with the internet, including the new success of our beloved Linux and BSD OSes and the long awaited stumbling of Microsoft. If the condition of the stock market changes then the nature of the entire technology profession as a whole will change as well. Its certainly a much more pertinent story to all our lives than things like this [].

    The obvious conflict of interest is the significant monetary connection that exists between the editors and writers of and their corporate owners, VA Linux. [] And CmdrTaco's rant right on the front page is the greatest example I have ever seen of abusing a prominent and important public platform to whine about a personal situation that is his own fault anyway, and it can only further tarnish the image of Slashdot in the eyes of the greater technical and financial communities and hasten its journey towards complete irrelevance.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Personally I think anybody who sent Mr. Taco any nasty email accusing him of some stupid conspiracy is a MORON.

    But either way, IMHO, the stock market is "stuff that matters". It would be better if he said it matters, but slashdot isn't going to be any sort of stockmarket ticker machine.

    Mind you, the US economy plays a global roll. It didn't in 1929, but does now. Allthough the market drop wasn't significant enough, it is important. The world felt it in '87, and when Ronald Reagan fucked around with shit the world felt it as well (especially germany, and other euro countries).

    What have we learned from this? A company that doesn't expect to produce any profit for the next 3 years might not be worth $300/share. IMHO I'm a bit glad it happend since it got rid of the big .com hype.

    As for my investments, my Lucent stock has been hurting, my AT&T is somewhat stable, My Sun stock is doing A LOT WORSE THEN IT SHOULD BE! God damn, sun turns out above everyones expectations and STILL loses points. Oh well, thank GOD I don't have a retirement fund or something tied up in it. And i'm sure they'll rebound in a few months anyway.

    Well, cheers.
  • Of course... Black Monday was only 1/2 the story -- it was just one really bad day in the midst of a market tumble. If you want to know more about it, there is a great article at Valuation Street [] with links at the end to all sorts of other information about the crash of 1929.

    Bottom line: we aren't doing half as bad as the collapse then -- yet.

  • Michael, if I can sell that paper for $100,000 to a real live person, then it's not just paper. Just because the value can fluctuate doen't make it worthless. (Unless it fluctuates to zero, which probably won't even happen to RHAT or LNUX).

    It is disingenuous to call stock ownership "paper, nothing more." Not just disingenuous, but exactly wrong. It s like calling cash "just paper", except the value of a dollar is more stable than the value of a stock.

  • by zCyl ( 14362 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @06:57AM (#1129923)
    It is physically impossible for any website that offers free posting of ideas and comments, even to AC's, to host a shadow conspiracy on any topic. Slashdot by design is inherently immune to conspiracy provided they never start deleting posts. (And if they did, the outcry would be so large that this is inherently impossible for them to do.)

    I've seen the trolls crying foul over this tech stock issue, and all I can say is that I support you, CmdrTaco, this might be of interest to some, but if the editors don't think it's important, then it really doesn't need to get posted. It's up to the editors of a site to determine what direction the content of the site should take.

    If you trolls want to whine about what's not on Slashdot, then kindly unstuff linux from your ass, take the Slash source that is freely available, ask mommy for your $70 registration fee, register, and put up your own damn site. Then you can tell all your little troll friends about all the Wall Street conspiracies and VA Linux plots to storm Redmond with assault rifles and whatever else you can come up with.
  • The Fed is raising interests rates to stave off inflationary pressures.
  • ...about this current situation, IMHO, is that it's a good time to buy.

    Everything else is pure speculation... But then again so is the fact that it's a good time to buy. It's a better time to buy than it was last week, that's certain.
  • Fine, your post is all well and good if the people who lost their money were only day traders and MSFT shareholders but this unfortunately is not the case. The biggest losers in the stock market have been Linux pure plays. I know this because I have virtual portfolios and track the shares of Corel, VA linux, Red Hat and Caldera several times a day. It is clear from reading their charts [] that Linux companies have been dropping like rocks since mid-January while the entire Tech industry has been soaring up until the beginning of this month.

    Several of these companies sent out the letter to several hackers who borrowed money or said they did here [] and here []. Now how does it feel laughing in the face of poor students and hackers because they decided to invest in Linux based companies (which you obviously didn't because you'd be b*tching if you had shares in a company that was trading lower than it's IPO value like Andover and VA Linux instead of saying crap about doing research). I personally believe that gloating over the misfortune of others is evil especially since it affects us all. Firstly this will probably result in more mergers and aquisitions thereby consolidating power in fewer companies [], also the fact that $2 trillion dollars was lost last week []in the market correction thereby erasing the last year's $1.7 trillion gain in household income from stocks is not something to gloat over.

    The fact that the post I am responding to has been moderated to a 5 makes me wonder about the character of the typical slashdot reader(i.e. moderator).

  • Let's face it, Anonymous Cowards have only proved how innessential they are over the last week. Every post gets at least thirty "ESR isn't rich anymore," and "Use VA stock to wipe your ass" posts. All these posts are saying how Linux is going down, blah blah blah.

    So let's look at other markets besides Linux.

    Intel, January 3, it was $87, now it's $110.50. Intel is struggling. They can't get their stock very high. They might as well be out of business.

    AMD, January 3 it was $31, now it's $66. That's more than double. You had better using Athlons, K6s. Anyone who doesn't is diluting themselves. (Ok, so that remark is true. :))

    UPS, January 3, $67+, now it's $55. Federal Express, $42.93+ to $37.25. Shipping packages is obviously a dead market. Anyone who is still shipping packages is a dolt.

    Eastman Kodak, January 3, $64.56+, now $61.50. Taking pictures is mildly waning. Take them if you want, but I'm using my eyes still.

    It's all pointless. Things go down, they go up (the side which none of the trolls mention). If you are investing for the short term (four months), you are much more likely to get hurt. If you go for the long run (invested the day after the '87 hiccup), you're still way ahead of the game. Personally, I'll blame Clinton for all of this. If the marvelous economy is his doing, so is this downfall of our entire economy (for the weekend at least).

    Anyway, time to bump the threshold up to 1 or 2. That takes care of the idiots. There really are fewer and fewer relevant posts in the 0 or -1 arena.
  • and closed on friday at 24 - well below it's IPO price.

    Huh? IIRC IPO price was 14, and there was a split after that, so it should get below 7 to be below IPO price.

  • by kootch ( 81702 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @07:10AM (#1129939) Homepage
    This has got to be the dumbest comment I've ever read.

    No, the stock market is not just paper. It is part ownership in a company. It's part ownership in the entity that pays your bills. If that piece of paper is worth nothing, that means the company is worth nothing, which means that you won't be getting a paycheck. Now this is an over-generalization, but in effect, it's true. Stock OPTIONS are just paper. They're notes that say you have the ability to buy stock at an imaginary price, however with options you don't actually own anything yet. Yes, there you'd be a paper millionaire. However, people that actually OWN stock and are able to cash out at any given moment are more than just paper rich. They ARE rich.

    Learn something about the stock market and value.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 16, 2000 @07:11AM (#1129942)
    Linux used to be on par with the vocal minority. How quickly people forget.

    People still read /. Just that /. doesn't hold the special place as a website anymore of general info news. They have been slow on getting real news out, suddenly turned political in what they post, etc. BSD articles? They post them but after a HUGE delay. Bias is pretty plain when you double submit stories to BSD sites and /....BSD sites tend to get them up within the day, and they are run by one or two people, not a supposed Andover team. My favorite was when I submitted a BSD and a Linux palm story--the Linux palm story made it up 2 days after I submitted it (and by someone else) and DAYS after the BSD story.

    I have friends that are utterly sick of the comments section...look at all the trolls and the totally political stance taken on moderating up posts or even checking relevant information of the facts given. I, like my friends, have started not to read /. on a daily basis, and we could frankly give a damn what happens to /. nowadays because it's easier, faster, and cleaner to simply to scan general news sites (Politech list, bugtraq itself, Reuters, Mac sites) with a script and not deal with the /. baggage.

    Wake up /. You have competition now, and you are LOSING big time. You don't think the stock market matters? Bullshit. TECH stocks plummetted. You're more interested in the destruction of ONE company (MS) than the entire *.com bubble bursting? It's news, it affects a LOT of geeks because a lot of geeks have jobs in startups and tech companies, but, nah, you'd just rather ignore that.
  • If you didn't own any vapor stocks, then you'll come out unscathed from this nonsense. If your own stocks plunged in sympathy with the rest of the market, then take this opportunity to invest more (if they're truly good companies). Otherwise, you're just gratifying yourself at the expense of others who, while stupid, have committed no other evil (if stupidity can be said to be evil).
  • I've been expecting this crash for a long time. I've activated my financial bad-news site, [], which I've had on standby waiting for this. There's an army of analysts cranking out good news, much of it paid hype, but bad news is hard to find. (Only about 1% of analyst recommendations are "sell".) Watch for future commentary.

    This is not the end of the world, but it's the end of those "lose money on every sale and make it up on volume" Internet companies. As the Red Herring pointed out, there are around 200 Internet companies that have to outperform Microsoft to justify their stock values. No way could that happen.

    As for LNUX [], its decline is only vaguely related to the overall market. Look at the chart. []. It's been in a screaming dive since the IPO, down over 90% now. Regardless of market conditions or VA Linux press releases, the dive remains steady. It's a very pretty chart. I pointed this out a month ago, when LNUX dropped through 100. Now it's at 29. Enough said.

  • I certainly wouldn't gloat over the suffering of anyone, let alone Linux users or people believing in the Linux market.

    "The Letter" is an offer to take a risk, not an offer to get a sure-fire gain. It's well known in the investment world - and has even been mentioned prominently in Slashdot - that the normal fate of a stock post-IPO is to rise to hefty heights and then fall gradually to its "natural level". If a Linux-oriented investor followed the advice of getting in and out fast, s/he would have made a bundle.

    The reason that post got moderated up is that it unfortunately explains the truth about Linux investing. I don't think anyone is seriously happy about fellow Slashdotters losing money - but it should be recognized that losing money is as much a part of the investment world as making it.

    I said yesterday in response to this topic that I deliberately stayed out of the recent Linux market simply because it didn't look like there were any opportunities that would not fall to earth quickly. I have a friend who offered to place $50,000 in an etrade account for me to play with, and I've been dodging his offer because I feared that this would happen.

    Nothing in life is perfect, not even opportunities given in good faith by other companies.

    By the way, those server statistics were pretty interesting. I wonder why Compaq did so well in the Linux server market; when I checked a Compaq price quote, the price of memory was so inflated I walked away. 1GB of Compaq memory cost almost exactly 2/3 of what my whole VA server with 1GB RAM, 50GB RAID and dual 700mhz PIII processors cost! So watch out for that RAM, folks.

    Incidentally, I really like my VA server. A lot. Maybe I should invest in the company now that its price has fallen down to an almost reasonable level.


  • I disagree, Linux gained a massive amount of marketshare before these companies came into being (at least from the public preception, pre IPO)

    If they fail, it's not anything to do with Linux pre se, it's because their business plan is flawed. Another company will spring up and take the place and perhaps have a different way to profit from Linux.
    Either way Linux is not going anywhere.
  • "I believe in making money the old fashioned way--generating earnings and cash" -- Lou Gerstner, CEO of IBM

    I cut that quote out of the paper a while ago. I try to remember it whenever I think about jumping on the bandwagon and buying the latest tech stock. Gerstner's philosophy doesn't seem to have had any effect on IBM's stock, though--they've slid this week too.


  • most will be like me, because most of the process I do manually will be automated into sites like MySimon. Those will be the powerful brands. That's why I don't think the portals like Yahoo! are overvalued. Those are the valuable brands, not individual sellers, even big ones like amazon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 16, 2000 @07:36AM (#1129964)
    I think this is my second post in two years. Frankly, I think this site covers too many things that are absolutely not important (Remember the posts about someone running a computer outside of it's case?), then skimp on the actual important information (Such as what the impact of a 30% correction in tech stocks is to the great many tech workers who receive stock options in lieu of higher pay). I have absolutely no doubt that it's more important to many than beer cooled processors. I honestly feel that the impact of slashdot on the free software community is a bad one, as it promotes the same sort of vigilante style attacks that I remember back in my OS/2 days. I still read slashdot, however, it's strictly due to the number of people that are influenced by this site. I feel a need to know where a sizable portion of the free software community is obsessing over at any given time. I honestly think that the motto should be changed from "stuff that matters" to "stuff that matters to Cdr Taco and those who follow his lead".
  • Note further that Senor Taco didn't post a single one of those.

    How ironic :P
  • Agreed. Va Linux, Caldera, LinuxCare, LinuxOne, Red Hat ,etc. IPOs are considered Slashdot worthy (just do a search of the IPOs previously reported on /.). Not to mention ESR boasting [] about his newly found wealth. But the plunge of the same stocks are considered not Slashdot worthy? At the least, the fortunes of the free software contributors offered stock options in VA Linux and Red Hat would be of great interest.

    I think we've a serious case of denial here. Maybe Taco thinks that as long as it isn't posted on Slashdot, it ain't true. Well, reality goes on.

  • We only bring up the market when it deals with specific companies that we're interested in, not when the story is "The Market."

    Since wealth is a big deal in civilization, and since nerds become wealthy via their stock options that typically vest after an IPO, the precipitous drop in the NASDAQ -- the primary market for technology IPOs -- is "News for nerds -- stuff that matters" as the motto for Slashdot says.

  • by Money__ ( 87045 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @07:47AM (#1129972)
    Re: Slashdot is a terrific creation of his but its grown into something much more than his personal . . blah blah blah

    1) The net is a big place.
    2) You can post and read any content you want.

    I agree that /. is a wonderfull creation and has opened a lot of peoples eyes to things that would never get coverage in the mainstream press. The fact that Rob chose to post this story is testimant to how open he is to all expression, no matter how vile or discusting. In fact, /. has gone out of the way to embrace and accomidate all opinions.

    One final note: If you happen to bump a bee hive and get stung, you deserve to be angry at the bee. If you continually, day after day, bash the bee hive with a stick, you not only deserve every sting you get, but you also deserve a slap from the bee keeper.

  • Sorry, but your opinion shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how markets work. Ultimately, we, the slashdot readers, have to be kept happy, otherwise we won't read the adverts that pay the money that the stockholders expect to get in return for withholding their consumption of the capital they loaned to Mr. Taco.

    So yeah, it's still Mr. Taco's sandbox, and if he wants to succeed, he has to keep having interesting opinions. :)
  • Because, CmdrTaco is basically a nerd, and he has to stay that way. No getting married, no having kids, no dryer, no washing machine. Basically he has to give up having a life, and must continue to play with computers, legos, video games, watching Star Wars, etc. :)

    That's why it's news for nerds, and not just news.
  • The market dropped about 5 % on Friday.

    Many people own stocks indirectly through their retirement funds. They are "ordinary people" who do not choose which stocks to buy, but they will feel the hit.

    If firms lose money, even money that only exists "on paper" (horrible phrase), they lose investment potential and may lay off workers, etc. Big events percolate down.

  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @08:20AM (#1129984)
    Here are a few thigns it's good to remember.

    1) The reason redhat, va, and others lost so much value is because, according to the way stocks are traditionally valued, they were absolutely NOT worth the incredible amounts of money people were paying for them.

    2) Also realize that, just because va goes from 300 to 30, this does not mean that VA is going 'broke' or is somehow 'losing money'. It simply means that the world sees it as not as valuable.

    3) JDS Uniphase (everyone's heard of it, right?) at it's peak, had a market cap that was worth more than the market caps of Ford & GM combined. Does this seem realistic? Ford & GM employ many many thousands of people, and compbined, turn over a BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH in sales. JDS, though they have profits, good technology, and are certainly a good company, are nowhere near this size, so why were they worth more? Ford & GM going broke would change the entire economy of the country. So many people would be out of work. JDS going out of business would be a small, localized burp.

    3) As for people losing money.. well.. I lost some money too... but one must realize, you don't put all your eggs in one basket. Many have said for quite a while that lots of tech stocks were severely overvalued.. everyone had fair warning.

    4) People who invested in strong companies will find that their companies will continue to grow, and continue to grow.. (JDS will grow. Cisco will grow. IBM will grow. Hell..even MSFT will grow, even with the trial and all).

    5) Many of the worthless b2b and .com companeis will DIE, as they will be unable to properly raise capital due to extrememly low stock valuations. This is GOOD. People must start viewing companies in a proper light, valuating them properly.... yes, a good idea for a .com startup is worth something, but how much? Why is an 'e-mall' that some guy created suddenly worth 50 million dollars? Where are the profits?

    6) Invest long, invest smart, don't daytrade. Actually read all about the companies you are investing in. Find out how much stock is out there, who holds it, who's running the company, what experience they have doing so.

    7) Cash is king baby!
  • I wouldn't say it's like 1929 yet. The information age is still making a measurable impact on productivity, commerce, and efficiency. I would say it's more like the panic of 1857, where people didn't understand what the industrial revolution was all about and invested in all sorts of strange factories with strange busisness models that could not hold up profit. No doubt, there alot of companies out there who have unfloatable busisness models today that are going to be under the heat with the threat of higher interest rates and inflation.

    It might not be all that bad. Temporary cycles are good, mild inflation keeps people from hoarding money, and mild recessions discourage excessive debt. Of course I've never trusted central federal authorities like the fed to make free market decisions, but this fed-reserve is seasoned with the fear of inflation and the fear of depressions, so I think they'll do OK - at least to the extent of preventing major disasters. So much ability to screw up in one centralized place is sort of scary though, and foolish monitary policy IMHO.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @08:31AM (#1129989) Homepage Journal
    Had I got "The Letter" I'd have sold at the end of the first day and made a tidy little sum. I never expected them to go above $50 and I thought they'd drop again from there. Well they went considerably above $50 but they're about where I expected them to be now.
  • by ralphclark ( 11346 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @08:35AM (#1129994) Journal
    FWIW, I think Rob should just grit his teeth and accept that for the sake of balance and journalistic integrity there are some stories that need to be reported even if they aren't intrinsically interesting.

    Specifically, if he is going to allow stories about how XYZ Corp's IPO went through the roof then he should report it when the same stock falls through the floor. Surely this is self-evident?

    We are mostly tech workers here, and a sudden withdrawal of finance from the industry is bound to affect us eventually in some way. Most of us aren't motivated to go and read the dry pronouncements of the Wall Street Journal. In fact there must be more than a few of us who don't get to hear about it if it doesn't get reported on Slashdot! So if we don't get to read about it here, then where?

    Come on Rob, it seems like you're not facing up to your responsibilities. You're a media mogul now and the public is depending on you for the full story.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • The stock market may have recovered everything within a year. The economy didn't.

    Stock market crashes tend to trigger a sudden conservatism, tendency to save and unwillingness to spend further, which basically slows the economy. After black monday, the US technically remained in a recession till around 1992.

    Likewise, after the crash of 29, the stock market recovered within a few years. The rest of the economy didn't until pretty much after World War II.

  • by kevin805 ( 84623 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @08:46AM (#1129998) Homepage
    The justice department has set off a panic. I mean, Sun stock collapses the same day they announce increased earnings?

    My theory: investors are willing to gamble on the unpredictability of tech companies, because these average out to be good gambles. But the unpredicatability of tech companies, and the unpredicatabiltiy of the justice department is too much, because all high tech companies are in violation of dozens of anti-trust laws.

    Giving away software for free to gain market share? Preditory pricing. Only licensing your patents to people who don't directly compete against you? Sounds very monopolistic. Making proprietary modifications to standards to make sure that people using your products can't switch? ditto.

    While all the CEOs are testifying before congress that Microsoft is the only one doing this sort of stuff, the market knows better. No one wants to invest in a regulated industry. Anything you do that makes a lot of money will bring a plague of justice department lawyers trying to prove you're a monopoly. Every time your competitors get mad, they'll complain to the government. Are we supposed to believe that government bureaucrats understand the dynamics of a market that companies can't even predict more than 6 months down the line?

    On the bright side, maybe when the economy collapses, and we go back to high inflation, high unemployment, no stock options, and a higher budget deficit, they'll remember what caused it, and the politicians will finally notice that regulation does more harm than good.

  • by orpheus ( 14534 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @09:10AM (#1130005)
    I like the idea of 'Topic moderation', but primarily because I think it's a more objective methoid of giving feedback to the editors about what actually interests us. Subjective appraisals are fraught with error. Still, it should only be part of the decision when choosing future topics.

    If we are going to do this, I'd suggest discrete guidelines. Though I often quibble with the categories in the /. "posting moderation", I think it was overall, a brilliant stroke

    Here are a few guidelines off the top of my head

    1) If the Slashdot readership might have some unique insight of viewpoint.

    In my fields of expertise (like medicine), I often seen discussions of limited values (or potentially harmful) in various Internet fora. I also see some sites where the discussion is far from what I may have learned in medical school, but which are of some significant value nonetheless (e.g. patient support groups, which may massacre the science or circulate dubious treatments are nonetheless often invaluable resources to many patients)

    On the other hand, I think most slashdotters have little to add to the subject of a market-wide drop (except for anecdotes and insights into *their* companies, and I see very little of that) It would be difficult for our readers to be unaware of the market decline, and those ho care will go where the level of coverage/discussion is probably higher.

    C'mon, we're geeks. We're not tied helplessly to some AOL (or i-Open) keyboard hotbutton. we have choices.

    2) If a topic bears directly on a subject that has been of great interest to the Slashdot readership in the past

    Privacy, Crypto, closed source fubars (even if they are merely listed under "It's funny, laugh"), cool gadgets, and many other topics fall into this category. If you didn't like most of them, tou wouldn't spend much time at /.

    On the other hand, I wonder a little about people who post at length about a topic being "off-topic" If I'm not interested in an article, I may glance at the source material site, but I won't enter into the discussion. Then again, I believe that the guy who walks up to a conversation at a party, just to say it's boring is himself a boor (and bore). I'd rather find an interesting conversation or leave the party.

    3) if Slashdot decides editorially to bring a subject to the attention of the readers

    This isn't abuse or conspiracy. It's the function of an editor. Yes, /. is a bully pulpit, but that is part of why we like it.

    However, it is true that there can be abuses, but most of the genuine abuses under this type of system involve *misrepresentation*, not just the choice of topic. Why? Because /. is just one (relatively modest and specialized) media outlet. Every one of us knows dozens more. We even have a home page customization that gives us one-click access to many other sites.

    4) if an item in a core topic is noteworthy and/or interesting

    Not everything that fits into one of /.'s core areas is necessarily a good article. I don't come here for Linux config tips, or primary science coverage, or many other subjects that may legitimately occur in some posts or articles

    The editor's choices are what made /. interesting (even if the reader responses are what make it valuable)

    5) I sure hope you all are a lot more polite when one of your friends raises an item s/he finds interesting, but you don't


  • So what? This is Taco's site. The stated purpose of the site is to mention news that interests him and his small group of friends. They don't hide this. It's what the site is about.

    You don't get it. I present to you definitions of two very apt words.

    Unscrupulous: Taco saying that "I run a major tech news site, I have shares in these companies and I'm going to cover all these IPOs and help buoy their prices up, but I'm going to close my eyes and not report it when they fall."

    (Flat out) Lying: Taco saying that "We don't ever cover the stock market. It's offtopic and uninteresting."

  • Ok, first, none of the stories you listed were posted by CmdrTaco. Second, as he said in his intro to the article, he "only brings up the market when it deals with specific companies that we're interested in, not when the story is "The Market."

    This does not mean that the stock market is never mentioned. It means that Slashdot is a niche news site and mainstream news is covered only when it relates directly to Slashdot's niche, ie. News for Nerds.

  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @09:38AM (#1130017) Homepage
    Slashdot targets "News for nerds" and other "Stuff that matters." Unfortunately, as in cases like this, we get a bit of a conflict when the story poster doesn't see the relevance.

    Rather than harrrasing Mr. Malda, why don't you move to a site that has story moderation so you can see if the general populace wants to read and discuss such a story? [] is the place. It's oriented towards technology and culture -- not just news about nerdy things or things that matter. We've even had stock stories [] before.

    I agree with Mr. Malda that this story doesn't really fit with Slashdot, it could fit on other sites. So why not use them?
  • So what? This is Taco's site.

    Actually, this is Andover's site. Taco is essentially an editor who's job depends on the advertising revenue generated by this site. If he starts ignoring the interests of his customers (us!) then he's going to either lose his job and/or drive /. out of business.

  • What happened was, these day traders started to realize that when the ruling came out, and these companies that depended on Microsoft started to drop with Microsoft, they realized that the market isn't some sort of game anymore, where their account balance was bragged about like a high score on Galaga. Those numbers they saw on e-trade, etc. was their retirement going down the shitter, and it scared the hell out of them. So the same jabronis that inflated the market with idiot buying, took it back down with idiot selling.

    Actually the real day traders probably made money on the correction. Day traders do well in volatile markets since they can short into the slides and then cover at lower prices. On minirallies they can go long and then sell as the rally begins to top out. If the market isn't volatile then a stock price doesn't move much and traders can't grind out enough on the price movements to cover commissions and fees.

    Technical analysts and momentum players usually do a good job on making money on stocks without looking at the fundamentals. So you don't necessarily need to know much about the company in order to know what you're doing.

    The people who got screwed are the people who bought on margin and decided to play the market without a coherent strategy, an understanding of the risks, or a discplined exit strategy. And no holding a stock and trying to wait out a correction/slump isn't a discplined exit strategy if you're buying on margin.

  • by Bowie J. Poag ( 16898 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @10:26AM (#1130034) Homepage

    Here's an excerpt from an email conversation between Rob and I which took place in April of 1999. It echoes the same sort of sentiments that this (today's) post does. He isn't kidding.

    ( Me: )

    > (or yours) for granted. We were just looking for a creative way to drum up a
    > little support, and have some fun in the process. :) The "Beer For Rob Malda"
    > poll turned out to be one of the most popular user polls we've ever had. :)

    ( Rob: )

    *laugh*. No problems. I just get annoyed occasionally. You should see the
    submissions box. Not posting a story usually == Conspiracy on my part
    according to some people. Its annoying ;)

    And here's an excerpt out of a different email, two weeks later in early May of '99..

    ( Me: )

    > Yeah, sometimes. The fun isn`t so much in painting the stuff, as it is in
    > actually delivering it, and seeing people use and enjoy it. Much of it is
    > just plain hard work..Prop for E alone took me well over a month to
    > produce. Making it was an ordeal--but delivering it, and seeing people's
    > chins drop was a joy. :)

    ( Rob: )


    Its a little different for me. So much of my feedback is typically
    negative that I just ignore most of it. I do what I like- I always
    have, but that 'jaw dropping' doesn't work to well here-- I've posted
    3500+ stories, and 3400 were fine, but once a week I post one that
    someone disagrees with and WHAM ;)

    Maybe that gives you a little window on what it might be like to be on Rob's side of the table. The rest of you can give the guy a fucking break and sit on your hands if you have nothing better to do than bitch. If you think about the combined effect of thousands of people whining a similar whine, you wouldn't want to be on the recieving end either. If you appreciate Slashdot, great, show your appreciation by not adding to the noise. Consider using your brain and doing something useful with it.

    Bowie J. Poag
    Project Founder, PROPAGANDA For Linux ( [])
  • f Bill Gates would decide to sell all his MS stock to finance a private space station, MS price would suffer quite a drop - simply because there wouldn't be a demand for such a large number of shares.

    Actually Gates has only about 10% of the MSFT stock according to microsoft's 10Q so its share price wouldn't drop that much. However in the current climate it would proabably plummet since investors would think that MSFT was in trouble and would then dump it

  • I don't think this is a smart move, Rob. What's next, stories about hot grits and natalie portman? As soon as you give in to these demands, you're out of control of your site. I've been pissed off lately about all this stuff too, but I don't think this is a good precedent.


  • Also, if a commercial software company like Microsoft loses capital, it directly affects their software, since the programmers at Microsoft are working for money, and if they stop getting paid then they stop coding immediately. But the Linux developers are not working for money. Even if all the RedHats and VA Linuxes in the world go under, it still will not affect the world-wide Linux development team. And even if corporations decide they can't buy into Linux without there being other big corporations to support it, that won't affect the Linux developers either.

    Keeping to my fixed policy of always looking for the silver lining in things, I conceive that the de-marketizing of Linux could be a good thing. Let's imagine some caffeine-soaked hacker hard at work past midnight, expanding the capabilities of Linux by adding some nifty new feature. In the back of his mind he's worrying about Metallica and the RIAA ("Somebody this evil hacker doesn't know, in another far-off country, might possibly use his software to listen to a recording - our property - which otherwise he wouldn't buy anyway! Sue him! Destroy him!"). He also has to worry about the FBI ("So, Congressmen, in the pursuit of upholding the all-important interests of America's burgeoning internet commerce sector, and in order to protect America against terrorists, we are asking for the right to make no-knock, no-warrant raids on any nefarious criminal hacker suspected of being in possesion of anything on this list of proscribed hacking tools: GCC, Perl, EMACS..."). He also has to worry about the American Family Association ("Yes, my brethren and sistern! These hackers, wallowing in their sinister subculture of pornography, drug abuse, body piercing and free speech, are the loathsome spawn of Satan and they must all be burned! Now! Are you with me?")

    Atop all these other dismal preoccupations nowadays, it's possible, if our hacker has a gloomy disposition, that he also reflects as follows: "Here I am, it's the middle of the night, and I'm working my ass off trying to make this &^%$# code work. And when I get done and I give it away, then what? Well, some multi-billion dollar company is going to distribute the Hell out of it, for which I will get $0.00, and packs of snobby yuppie jackasses, jabbering to their brokers over their cell phones as the drive around in their BMWs and Benzes, are going to make a killing off all the hubbub. Yecch. Think I'll go play Quake instead."

    Now you wouldn't want our imaginary hacker to get depressed, would you? Gee, I sure wouldn't. So let Wall Street go up in smoke, it's all good! Go away, get lost, go bankrupt, you pesky money men, and let our people hack!

    Optimistically yours WDK -

  • We're confusing 2 things here: brand of the product and brand of WHO you buy it from. I don't think the latter will be that important in the 'net space and is being tremendously overvalued.
  • Look, lots of things are "big stories" that don't belong on /.

    For example, NATO goes to war in Kosovo? /. non-story.

    Dow breaks 10,000? NASDAQ hits 5,000? Not a word on /.

    India and Pakistan test nukes? Nope.

    The possible impeachment of the U.S. President? Not covered on /., because it was, for /., a non-story. (Well, there was a story about a Microsoft Exchange bug, and Katz did a "Impeahment and the Internet" rant.

    So I don't give a damn how "important" this is, it is a /. non-story.

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • Anyone else get the feeling that Greenspan is pissed that all his New York/Washington socialite pals have been making a killing on the stock market, and that deep down inside, he feels a little extra incentive to shut them up?


  • You know, there's a whole side of the 'Open Source Movement' for whom all this really is irrelevant, no matter what anyone might say. The 'gnuuuu-linux' folks, Stallmanites, RMS. Not everybody ran out and madly started buying stock and waving their tails at IBM in a seductive manner. It's easy to forget that after the days of massive IPOs and stuff- it looked at first glance like those people were right in some way, like they were really onto something.

    Well... do you know why my GPLed code still has the same value it had back when linux/gpl/opensource was IPO heaven? I'll tell you why- because I'm perhaps a bit strange and that concept, that the stuff I _shared_ had a speculative value, never even 'computed' for me. It's a big nil pointer for me, because to me the value of the stuff I share _is_ that sharing, is the RELATIONSHIPS I create by doing so. _that_ is where the value is and that is where Linux started and why it will always have a core value that can't be swept away...

    I've built a recording studio (obHype: []) and several times now, I've offered to help out CmdrTaco and the whole Geeks In Space crowd, which would be fun and not too hard for me to do. And you know, from the viewpoint of a linux-stock millionare, I can see how the help of some dude in Vermont building equipment with a soldering iron and wirestrippers might seem nice but pointless- more fun to buy your own! Bigger mixers, more tracks, etc etc etc since money flows like water!

    Well- he ain't a linux stock millionare anymore. I'm not sure how many of the Slashdot people's plans are still feasible- but _I'm_ still there, offering to help. What I offered never had anything to do with money and demands nothing from Taco and company but sharing- let me help out, let's play, let's see what we can do.

    Look around- there are a _lot_ of Linux things that are utterly unaffected by the crash. People trying to 'rub it in' about the obliteration of those wild valuations? It's like they're speaking a different language- and they always were. ESR may be shocked or hurt by all this, because it hits him where he lives- he always bought heavily into wanting Linux legitimised by business and valuation. Some of us always resisted this pressure to redefine the value in money and profit terms. Now maybe it'll be easier to make the point that Linux is not a phenomenon based on money.

    *g* anybody considered the idea that if there _is_ another Great Depression and everybody's reduced to living off pentium IIs and such ( ;) ), they won't be able to afford The Microsoft Tax, and will _have_ to turn to Linux and proliferate it, not because it is a lottery ticket to wealth, but because it is free?

  • Many IPO's return to the price they start out at aaafter taking off for a few months.

    RHAT will very likely find a bottom in the mid to low 20's. It will also probably grow slowly back to the highs it saw in the next 18 months or so.
  • Linux stocks have been dropping all year, even when NASDAQ was going up. Since April 3, when all the tech stocks started getting hammered, Linux stocks in particular have been tremendous losers. Some numbers, in increasing order of losses:

    • Compaq: -10%
    • Dell: -10%
    • Intel: -15%
    • Microsoft: -18%
    • NASDAQ itself: -21%
    • RedHat: -42%
    • -52%
    • Caldera: -52%
    • VA Linux: -54%


  • by spikesahead ( 111032 ) on Sunday April 16, 2000 @12:15PM (#1130064)
    Hello slashdotters. I apologise for the size of this posting, but in it I described the stock market to someone who didn't understand it. I hope there is someone else out there I can likewise enlighten, and perhaps whore up some karma points for myself :)

    4/15/00 2:57 AM Rommel Ooooh, the stock market makes me wish I had nippels the size of toledo so I could rent them out to survive the coming great depression!

    Lemur *points out you have created a terribly confunsed fox with that statement*

    Rommel it's badnasty

    Lemur rEAL BAD? HOW COME i HAVEN'T EVEN HEARD ABOUT IT? (oops, caps lock) I watch the news every day.

    Rommel they're trying to downplay the hell out of it, but the dow was down 744 points on friday, it creeped back up to 612 down, but that's still down

    Lemur What does it mean?

    Rommel it means the investors are running scared, the stock market was melting like a candle in a quasar

    Lemur *a clueless face greets you...

    Rommel 0414/aonline210441_000.htm

    Lemur That looks not-fun to read..

    Rommel well that's what it's all about. if you want to know, go there. someone has censored the press of the rest of the country

    Rommel the worst stock market drop EVER and no news about it in america? that's bullshit, I watched the mother f'er happen

    Lemur Stock fox?

    Rommel tell everyone you know, biggest market drop ever and they're trying to sweep it under the rug

    Rommel I woke up, I joined a couple channels on undernet, someone mentioned the stock market was disolving. I understand the stock market rather well, so that filled me with an odd mixture of glee and fear. I hit my favorite news sources and they're all pissing in their pants. then the market closed and all the news articles were quietly swept under the rug. that's bullshit

    Lemur Who/what does it effect?

    Rommel everybody, the last time the stock market crashed was 1920. ever heard of a little thing called the great depression?

    Lemur yeah but I don't know what that means... The stock market went down and suddenly everyone is poor... There was no money to back up the numbers... Where does it go?

    Rommel it never existed to begin with, that's the secret. the idea of the stock market is that I have some money, and I give it to you in the form of stock, but everyone looks at me as if I still have it. you go spend it and give me some of what you make off of it, and whoever you give it to gives it away again as stock, but everyone looks at him as if he still had it. it just goes around and around until someone figures it out and wants their money back

    Lemur When someone ends up with stock they can't use?

    Lemur use/sell

    Rommel yeah. the only reason people SHOULD by stock is that you get back a pretty good return on what you give out, based on what the company you gave it to is earning. but if the company suddenly doesn't make money anymore nobody wants it's stock and they all want their money back. the company won't give it, they spent it all, and nobody will buy it from them because it's worthless. so they just flushed their money down the toilet

    Rommel they they think, "oh shit, maybe I should get rid of the rest of this stock before the same thing happens." something is only valuable if more people want it than has it, if nobody wants it it isn't worth anything, and the only reason managers and CEOs bust their asses for the company is that they have lots of stock and they want to keep it valuable. if they're stock isn't worth shit anymore they tend to shoot themselves and then all us workers don't have jobs anymore

    Rommel the dow and nasdaq were pushed up by people saying 'hey! these stocks may make me a good return someday! I want to buy them NOW so I can make a lot of money later. these companies are never going to make money, and when the stock holders figure that out they find out all the money they spent would have been better utilized to kindle a fire to keep them warm when the next depression hits because of the morons and their stocks

    Lemur oh..

    Rommel see why I'm nervous yet?

    Lemur yeah

    Rommel AND NOT ONLY THAT, but everybody and their sister has been working for years and years to put money into a 401k plan, which is a way to put your money into the stock market. if the market crashes it's just bilked most of america out of their retirement plans. and people won't be happy with that

    Lemur yikes

    Rommel idiots, all of them. I have no money put into a 401k, because I would rather have that money now than watch it disolve later. like any jar, it only gets fuller as long as people put more into it than they take out. if everyone puts it in at once it looks like it's filling really fast, so people put more in. when people get old and start to take it back out, it turns into the social security system that there won't be a dime left in when I get old

    Rommel the difference is that this time instead of a government program run bankrupt it will be the stock market, which is tied to our frigging jobs. IDIOTS. I want to move to the asteroid belt

    Rommel the reason you don't hear about this is that nobody wants to hear it. it's making money right now, so screw the future. the ones putting it up will be living in barbados off the cash they milked off the market by the time push comes to shove

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.