A Foolish Interview with dpickard
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|The Fool:||Give a short description of your best and/or worst vacation.|
|dpickard:||Northern Spain. Land at Santander, drive Westwards gently along the coast, each night stop in a little village just the same as the others but different: sea, river, fishing port, lighthouse, seafood restaurant. Santiago de Compostela - sheer magic. O Grove peninsula - choose the kind of beach you like: long, short, sandy, rocky, empty, crowded, surf, calm. More seafood. Then gently drove back again. More seafood.|
|The Fool:||Tell us about Your Dumbest Investment... and the lesson you learned from it.|
|dpickard:||A smooth-talking salesman got me to sign up for TWO endowment schemes to cover the mortgage for the home that I might want to buy one day by stressing the amount of tax that I would save. Since I was living in Dubai at the time and not paying any tax anyway, that was pretty dumb. I know how it came about - I knew that I should be doing *some* saving and financial planning, but didn't have a clue how to proceed, so grabbed the first thing that came along. It cost me a couple of thousand, back when a thousand was a lot of money. It was a very expensive (but very valuable) lesson in the difference between "wise" and "Wise".|
|The Fool:||When you aren't working or sitting in front of the computer, what occupies your time?|
|dpickard:||Wow, when you think about it, nearly everything I do involves sitting in front of a computer. I program the damned things all day, smurf the net, e-mail friends and family, bank, trade, browse the Fool - add in the time I spend watching TV and there's not a lot left.|
|The Fool:||What's one of your special talents?|
|dpickard:||Irritating people. I specialise in walking briskly into the office on Monday morning, big smile on my face, whistling, commenting on the glorious weather, wishing everybody a cheery "good morning". People hate it. Don't know why.|
|The Fool:||What industry do you follow most closely and why?|
|dpickard:||Telecommunications/Computing (getting harder and harder to separate the two) as I started my working life using Morse code to send telegrams around the world, and have gradually gravitated to providing IT services to comms companies.|
|The Fool:||What's been your best investment to date, and how did you discover it?|
|dpickard:||Without knowing exactly what I was doing, I grabbed every "Save-as-you-earn" share option scheme that my employers offered, figuring that it had little downside risk and unlimited upside potential (not that I used big words like that at the time). It hasn't made me rich, but it has added considerable peace of mind to my imminent retirement.|
|The Fool:||Do you have a favorite company or stock which the worldwide Foolish community should know about -- and why?|
When I was 21 (when most of you were still in short pants) my father gave me 100 shares in Shell T&T. Five years later I needed a deposit to lease a flat, so sold half of them. 30 years on, after splitting a few times, they're still worth significant money. If I'd reinvested the income, instead of frittering it away on beer and cigarettes, I'd be rich. They're a real object lesson in the merits of long-term buy-and-hold. Pity that it's a lesson it took me 30 years to learn !!
|The Fool:||List some of your favorite websites, with running commentary where appropriate. (Please provide the URLs, too.)|
http://www.hoteldulac.com - It just epitomises to me what a small business can do with a bit of imagination on the web. Here's a site that makes me think: "I want to go there now, I want to have dinner there tonight and I want to be buried there one day.
http://www.nationaudio.com because it reminds me, daily, how lucky I am to live in a reasonably prosperous, reasonably stable country.
http://profiles.wisi.com if I ever want to find out quickly what some obscure company does for a living
http:/www.iii.co.uk because they let me keep both shares and unit trusts in my portfolio.
http://www.google.com is my first choice for a search engine, followed by http://www.alltheweb.com for the really obscure stuff
http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/thoughts.html - where a lot of thought and effort has gone into putting together a thought-provoking site entitled "Thoughts worth Thinking".
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