Why I Owe Steve Jobs a Debt

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Like what seems to be all of America, I had something to say about the passing of Steve Jobs.

I don’t own any Apple products. I was wrong when I thought the uber-cool factor was gone once my Sugar Momma bought an iPod Mini. A long time has passed since then and it’s still going strong.


Then I was wrong when I thought being lampooned on both The Simpsons and South Park was the kiss of death.

More popular than ever. Innovation and buzz will do that.

Of course, my kids have had their Apple products since conception, or so it seems.

I awoke this morning to my son’s call telling me that I was on the front page of the New York Times.

Normally, that would make me nervous, seeing as my annual envelope for good news had passed, with the Nobel announcements having already been made.

Apparently one of his friends saw a Tweet that I had sent that was displayed on the Times’ front page, probably along with several billion other Tweets.

Back when Napster was around, I used to always be amazed that at a specific moment in time I could find other people that shared the same music tastes, centering around obscure 1960’s Hungarian Rock and Roll. I don’t see that as  a popular offering at the iTunes store. Too much emphasis on Bob Dylan.

Now I’m amazed that at a point in time someone sees something that has tangential meaning to them, takes a screenshot, posts it onto Facebook and so on.

At least I made it into the New York Times without it having to be a paid obituary.

The Tweet, as if you really cared was unusually philosphical for me these days.

“You can’t have focus without vision, but Steve Jobs’ focus never obscured his vision.”

Heady stuff.

Apple LisaDespite not owning any Apple products, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Steve Jobs and remembered so fondly, albeit indirectly in the Option to Profit book.

Back in about 1983, I was insanely almost ready to plunk down $10,000 for the new Apple computer, dubbed “Lisa.”  For a brief time that computer captured everyone’s imagination, albeit not market, but was solely responsible for the drastic increase in newborns being named “Mouse” by their die-hard and tie-dye wearing parents.

As much of a chick magnet as a Lisa computer could have been, I walked out of the little Boston boutique camera shop and early authorized Apple dealer thinking about what else I could do with that kind of money.

I could have bought about 25 laser disk players and at least 10 movie titles, including such classics as Smoky and the Bandit III and Mad Monkey Kung Fu.

Apple early logoI could have bought two of those insanely arcane straight out of the box  IBM PC’s.

Instead, I started buying stocks. My first was Raytheon and I held it for 3 days, getting enough profit to pay about 4 months rent.

How un-zenlike was that trade off? Apple for Raytheon?

I still kept kept freeloading in that little Boston shop, Ferranti Dege. where I had been playing with their Apple computers since about 1978. I can still remember the little sign that they had hanging out above the door, long before the rainbow was associated with another type of cultural revolution.

Show that logo to someone today and they would likely associate it with the forbidden fruit of gay love.

Don’t bite. Don’t Swallow.

I could be wrong about that.

In the meantime after suffering through a Tandy TRS-80 computer with a word processing program that could only handle documents of a single page in length, and painfully setting up a workplace 4 workstation IBM network using Novell v1.2, I finally got to an environment where Macintoshes could be used, even though they were not supported by MIS.

No matter. They were so easy to use, add SCSI devices, network. You name it.

But yet, I never purchased one for home.

Then Microsoft stole the operating system. We all know they did, even though a court ruled otherwise.

I bought my first PC, networking was relaltively easy, and it cost a hell of a lot less.

Although I never bought an Apple product until getting my oldest son a first generation iPod for his High School grauation, Apple became a fixture of my investing world.

Following the unexpected death of my stock broker, Bob, Apple was one of the first purchases I made without having my hands held.

It was also one of the first upon which I sold call options and I traded them like crazy, as Apple was in the $50 or so range at the time. Apple was volatile and the options premiums were great. I used premiums to buy more shares, just like a drug dealer takes his profits and then parties. 

In all likelihood, those Apple options premiums paid for the iPod, and then the next iPod and quite a few after.

But It’s been over a year since I’ve owned any shares.

In addition to being wrong about Apple being poised to lose its coolness, I was also wrong about Apple’s price coming back down to a level where I would be ready to purchase shares again.

In Google’s case, I waited until it went to $300 a couple of years ago. Now I’m ready to buy Google again at $500, after last losing them to asignment at about $550

For Apple, I had my sights set on $350, but now, I just don’t know.

Now that Tim Cook has re-established Apple’s charitable matching program, what’s next?

A dividend? A stock split? Back in ancient times, those both happened, but those were truly ancient times.

Mainstream for Apple? Is that what it’s going to take to reassure investors?

How about reassuring consumers, the Apple investor’s best friend?

While Apple flip flopped between a loss and a gain in Thursday’s 183 point gain, I took the opportunity to sell weekly Mosaic options.


I also bought back my October ’11 ProShares UltraShort Silver ETF calls.


Steve Jobs’ passing for me has a feeling of one of those “where were you when”” moments.

These days it’s easy for me to remember, since I’m most always in my La-Z-Boy.

Although years from now I may not remember where I was when the news came along, but I’ll always remember the path I took to get to where I am today and the role Steve Jobs unwittingly played.

It’s time for an iPad. It’s never too late to change your history.



See “Of Patriots and Plagues” for more on Steve Jobs








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