Monday, September 27, 2004

An Everyperson's Guide to Taking It to the Man

Who ever says that corporations have us under their thumb need to get out more.

The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article Friday about a retire real-estate developer and his new online hobby: screwing over a business development firm called Allied Capital Corp. James Brickman, who mockingly labels himself “tellmeitsnottopsecret” on Yahoo chat rooms, spends his days digging through public records and elaborating on all the weaknesses of the company. Over the past two years, he has posted over 2,000 articles about Allied. Some posts, like the one that details their loan-transfer data, literally causes their stock to tumble (in the week after that information was posted, Allied stocks dropped by $2).

For Mr. Brickman, it’s not a matter of revenge. Allied is just a company that has a lot of problems, ones that the gadfly thanks them for (he started doing this literally because he was bored with retirement). Not only does it create a lot of material to post on, he’s made some money shorting the stock. (For all you non-economists, this basically means you sell borrowed shares and give them back later by buying the stocks at a—hopefully—reduced price.)

Mr. Brickman has no training in the stock market. He’s just a man with time on his hands, a trait shared by many of the people that hate “big corporations.” For all you college students out there, if you want to “take it to the man” and make a little money on the side, why don’t stop complaining and start posting? The economy will appreciate the accurate information, you will appreciate the income and empowerment and I’ll appreciate the cut you’ll sure to give me.

1 comment:

Chris said...

"(For all you non-economists, this basically means you sell borrowed shares and give them back later by buying the stocks at a—hopefully—reduced price.)"

David, I don't think you need to be an "economist" to know what selling short is. I'm not an economist, but I knew what it was because I have been trading stocks for years. Please, don't "sell" us non-economists "short" :) :) !!!!!