Avram's Past

The Crash of ’87

Kevin Maney who use to be at USA Today and is now at Portfolio wrote a column on some of the changes that we have experienced in the last twenty years (since the stock market crash of 1987).  Those of you (there may be one or two) that read my blog regularly know that I love to think about the past and the changes that have taken place. I also love to think about the future and the changes the may take place.   That is why I have to do yoga, meditation, the Alexander Technique, psycho therapy and most of all, play piano, just hoping to stay in the moment even for a moment.   Anyway, I enjoyed Kevin’s remarks.  The stock market crash of 87 is one of those days where you remember where you where and what you where doing (like the two Kennedy assassinations and the day I lost my virginity).  We were living in Portland. Our children were actually children. I worked for Intel trying to make business sense out of a technology experiment masking as a business ( a venture with Siemens to build a multi processor, fault tolerant computer with a new micro processor, new operating systems and any thin else new we could think of).  This all ended up as a JV company called BiiN which “fail to launch” as they say.  A year later, we would move to Palo Alto, where I would start up Intel’s venture arm (what eventually became Intel Capital).  Intel was still primarily selling memory chips (I am laughing now thinking about the fact that Intel use to be referred to as a “memory” company in the context of this post) but realized that its future would be as a microprocessor company.   The crash of 87 was very scary.  For the first time every in my life I actually owned stock and had been building a “nest egg” so that I could send my kids to college.  I watch this dream lose its grip on reality and in a panic. I actually sold my stock holding, thereby locking my loss and learning a very valuable lesson:  you want to sell when the market is high not when it is going down.  This lesson paid off when in March 2000, I sold most of my stock holdings which were primarily in the technology sectorJ.   

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