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If you are an founder or employee of a public company, repeat after me:
This is one of my favorite Jeff Bezos quotes.
It’s easily to get bummed out when your stock price drops. I believe the emotions follow the +1/-5 rule. Each time it goes up, you get one unit of happiness. Each time it goes down, you get -5 units of happiness.
Think about that for a second. If you look at the stock price every day the market is open, you’ll look at it about 250 times a year. Let’s assume that your stock is higher at the end of the year, but that on 125 days it goes up, and 125 days it goes down. You’ll have +125 happiness for the up days and -625 happiness for the down days. Even though your stock price is higher at the end of the year, you’ll have -500 happiness points.
Now, in the above case, if you only look at your stock at the end of each month, you’ll have 6 up days and 6 down days. That’s +6 – 30 = -24 happiness points. Still unhappy, but less so.
If you look at the stock only one time at the end of the year, you’ll have +1 happiness points.
Lesson: Don’t look at your stock price. Run your business. Work in your business. Do amazing things. Build value. Derive your happiness from the amazing things you are doing for your customers, the great people you work with, and the mission that you are on. Oh – and all the great things in the rest of your life outside of work.
Remember: You are not your stock price.
I considered titling this post “why RSS isn’t dead” but decided that was too easy.
I don’t pay much attention to public markets. However, now that the IPO window for tech companies has opened back up there are some companies that I want to track. However, I don’t really care about the daily stock prices – instead, I’m focused on the actual SEC filings.
I used to subscribe to several services for SEC filings (remember EDGAR Online and 10KWizard) but let them lapse a while ago. My partner Jason suggested I just use the SEC website. So I went there and discovered that it’s really good.
I went to Search for Company Filings and quickly found all the companies I cared about. I then clicked on the RSS icon in my browser and subscribed to the feed for each company I was interested in using Google Reader.
Google Reader is part of my daily information routine. I subscribe to a bunch of blogs – those of all of the companies I’ve invested in, their founders and employees who blog, and a bunch of random people I like to read. I long ago unsubscribed to all the news sites – I just scan them via Twitter throughout the day. But I find 15 minutes a day with Google Reader allows me to stay current on most of the “other stuff” that I care about.
Now, whenever a company I’m tracking files something with the SEC, it’ll show up the next morning in Google Reader. Perfect – as I never need this info real time. No extra email notifications. No subscription service that I have to pay for. No need to periodically go “check on stuff.”
I love how fundamental wiring – like RSS – is – well – fundamental. It always delights me when I find a simple solution to a problem like “track SEC filings for companies I am following.”