Adam, I'm glad you have your health back.
"Every Time a Friend Succeeds, I Die A Little Inside,"
The highlight of the evening for me was my chance to meet Adam
Rifkin. Adam, a 29-year-old Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Cal
Tech, is perhaps the prototype of this new kind of investor:
independent, committed to learning, and dedicated to sharing his ideas
with the wide community that is growing at an astonishing pace at
www.fool.com. More to the point, he is best known to readers of The
Motley Fool as "IFindKarma". His thoughtful posts are sought out by
other Fools at a rate that makes him one of our most popular
contributors. I'm afraid I embarrassed him when I called his
contributions to our message boards "legendary," but what other word
did I have for it? In spite of his excellent work, he seemed genuinely
surprised at the impact his efforts are having. "How do you keep up
with all the email?" he asked me.
Like I should know? Hey, Adam, you're the legend here, not me.
Adam is at the front of a trend, a trend that represents a shift in
the way the investment industry is structured. More and more,
investing is becoming a cooperative endeavor, a community
effort. Today's investors, instead of humbly offering the stewardship
of their hard-earned capital to some high priest in the gold tower of
some Manhattan cathedral, are more and more likely to organize
themselves into groups, pool their information, and, with the counsel
of their compatriots, make their own peace with their financial
affairs in the comfort of their own hearts. If that sounds like the
reformation of a centralized religion, then call me an evangelist. And
if religion it is, you might be surprised at who is joining the
congregation -- check out Bob Bobala's Fribble describing a Foolish
encounter with John C. Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Mutual
Funds. Somebody say "Amen!"
User Name: IFindKarma - A Proud Fool Since October 1998
Total Messages: 1056
A Foolish Interview with IFindKarma
The Fool: If you could be the CEO of any public company, which one
and why? IFindKarma: Instead of CEO, I'd like to be the righthand man
to CMGi's CEO, David Wetherell. That guy is a genius.
The Fool: What other financial products or services do you use?
IFindKarma: Geez, there's so much stuff available and not enough time
to read or watch it all. I like to watch CNBC , MSNBC, CNN, and CNNfn
whenever I can. I like to read the Wall Street Journal, New York
Times, Investor's Business Daily, Barron's, and Forbes whenever I
can. Online I check out OptionInvestor.Com, IQCharts.Com,
TheStreet.Com, IQCharts.Com, Slate.Com, and WSJ.Com.
I try to check in with PointCast and
at least once a day as well. dnaas gave a really good list of
resources on the DELL board, too:
The Fool: What has been your best work experience, and what made it
so great? IFindKarma: I haven't really had any POSITIVE work
experience yet. You know, for all intents and purposes, I haven't
really had ANY work experience yet. I've been in school for the past
26 of my 28 years. I wonder if I can proceed directly from
dissertation to retirement (do not pass "Go" and definitely do not
The Fool: Are there any local companies in your area that Fools
should consider for investment? IFindKarma: Since DELL sells on the
Internet, I consider it to be local to me (amn't I pathetic?). Buy
DELL for the Long Term Buy and Hold -- 3-5 years from now, you won't
The Fool: Share with us your best money-saving secret -- cutting
coupons, sneaking candy into the movies, shopping on Wednesday and
pretending you're over 65? IFindKarma: I pay my savings account
monthly like it was a bill -- 20% has taken out before I pay all my
other bills ever since I started working at 14. The only thing I'll
dip into savings for is emergencies and to pay taxes; otherwise, it
gets rolled into investments for the long haul.
I wish there were some way I could make money off my cats' hair. They
leave clumps of fur all over the friggin' house.
The Fool: How'd you find out about the Fool? (Make your answer as
colorful and truthful as possible.) IFindKarma: Three words:
location, location, location.
Actually, I think I saw Tom Gardner (or was it David?) in Old Town
Alexandria during my visit to NoVa in 1997. Whoever it was, was
selling watches and investment advice on the street. From that point I
was hooked: time to make me a fool and show me the money.
The Fool: Okay Gilligan (or Ginger), you're stuck on a deserted
island. What one material possession would you hope to have with you?
IFindKarma: I'd rather have one of my cats with me than a material
possession, because no matter where we are, pets enrich our lives. If
I have to choose an inanimate iterm, and if I couldn't have my wife
there with me, I would choose this really cool scrapbook she made for
me with pictures and momentos of our nine years together.
The Fool: Make a confession. IFindKarma: I used to own mutual
funds. Shame on me. I still haven't convinced my father or my
grandfather to get rid of their mutual funds. Shame on me twice.
The Fool: Tell us about your greatest personal success, not
necessarily finance related. IFindKarma: When I met Bill Gates last
summer, I maintained my cool and didn't throw up on him.
The Fool: Have you had a brush with fame, the proverbial '15
minutes'? Tell us about it. IFindKarma: One winter day just after I
had gotten my driver's license, I was driving icy Ridgefield Road past
a jogger. As I passed him I noticed he was David Letterman, just as I
hit an ice patch and skidded out of control. Through some combination
of luck and divine intervention, I didn't hit him, and skidded
roadside just behind him. He didn't stop jogging, he just looked back
and gave me the finger as he continued on his way. Now that I think
about it, *that* was my greatest personal success.
The Fool: Your most heroic moment in life? IFindKarma: Not running
David Letterman over right after he flipped me the bird. And not
throwing up on Bill Gates. It's a tie.
The Fool: Describe the worst Internet experience you've ever had.
IFindKarma: Is there really any such thing as a *good* Internet
experiences? All my good experiences seem to happen offline.
The Fool: Tell us about Your Dumbest Investment... and the lesson you
learned from it. IFindKarma: Mutual funds. Paying some other monkey
to sit there and make decisions on how to "invest" my hard-earned
money (and take a cut to boot!). If I wanted my moolah managed by an
idiot, I could do it myself. In fact, that's just what I did. Cost me
a pretty penny in commissions and taxes to liquidate my muties, but in
the long run I am convinced it is totally worth it.
Now, I'm pretty much just a single monkey at a single keyboard hoping
one day to either type an accidental Hamlet or understand technical
analysis. Maybe both if I'm lucky. Meanwhile, I'll stick with the Long
Term Buy and Hold strategy.
The Fool: What's been your best investment to date and how did you
discover it? IFindKarma: Investing time, money, and energy into my
marriage. It seems like every little thing I put into my marriage
returns to me a millionfold.
The Fool: Do you have a favorite company or stock which the worldwide
Foolish community should know about -- and why? IFindKarma: My
absolutely favorite company right now is CMGi, although sometimes its
stock can be very cruel. One day I'd like to work for CMGi if they'll
My favorite stocks are by and far my tech stock holdings: CMGi (CMGI),
America Online (AOL), Dell (DELL), EMC (EMC), Microsoft (MSFT),
Mindspring (MSPG), Broadcom (BRCM), and Network Appliance (NTAP). I
also think the big pharmaceuticals Pfizer (PFE) and Schering-Plough
(SGP) do an excellent job of R&D and marketing; I cannot get enough of
The Gap (GPS) and Best Buy (BBY); and I like the Softbank-affiliated
Internet companies Yahoo (YHOO), e*Trade (EGRP), and Broadcast
(BCST). I am currently investigating the following companies as
potential Rule Breakers to consider taking small positions with my
portfolio: Doubleclick (DCLK), Sepracor (SFE), Rambus (RMBS), Citrix
(CTXS), Orbital Sciences (ORB), Network Solutions (NSOL), and
Safeguard Scientific (SFE).
List some of your favorite websites, with running commentary where
appropriate. (Please provide the URLs, too.) IFindKarma:
My favorite online community since 1995 has been FoRK -- Friends of
Rohit Khare -- whose archives are available at:
Lately I've been addicted to the Raging Bull, Company Sleuth, Hollywood Stock Exchange, and
And I even spend a little time every now and then working on my own Web page: