Here's a real-world reminder of what's important. Red Herring
describes how some investors are angry about their losses in the
stock market and are now trying to take it out on company
officials. The example used in the article: Red Hat's Matthew
Szulik, who has received death threats against himself and his
family because of the decline in Red Hat's stock price:
Death threats have arrived at the doorsteps of some
Wall Street analysts and CEOs. Class-action lawsuits are gobbling
up the time and precious cash of technology companies, who are
turning out to be the prime targets of late: more than half of
investors' lawsuits targeted technology companies in 2000, up from
35 percent in the 1990s. Meanwhile, investment banks are under fire
from regulatory bodies for allegedly rigging the IPO process during
the height of the Internet craze. No one is beyond suspicion;
everyone is on edge.
"My kids' ages are off limits, because of security. We
get death threats at work from dissatisfied shareholders," says
Matthew Szulik, CEO of Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT), whose stock
plummeted from a high of $143 in December 1999 to a low of $5 a
year later, erasing $23 billion worth of market capitalization.
"People bought in when the stock was hot and the movement was hot,"
Mr. Szulik groans, "and now they're pissed."...
People traded on whims, gut feelings, and often with no
more knowledge than a company's ticker symbol. So imagine the
surprise of these novices when the stock market -- which had done
nothing but go up since they signed on -- suddenly expected them to
share the burden of $4.7 trillion in losses.