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Quote of the Day

I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.

-Mark Zuckerburg, who on this day in 2004 founded his new website, Facebook.

February 4th – This Day in Stock Market History

February 4th, 1971 – NASDAQ stock exchange founded. NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) would be the first all electronic stock market. Trading on the exchange would begin February 8th.

Today, the NASDAQ is the second largest exchange in the world.

Picture from Wikimedia commons
Picture from Wikimedia commons

February 4th, 1971 – Rolls Royce declares bankruptcy.

New York Times coverage of Rolls Royce bankruptcy
New York Times coverage of Rolls Royce bankruptcy

Here’s the interesting part of this period in Rolls Royce stock history, though:

The day prior to declaring bankruptcy, Rolls Royce shares were trading at about 90 cents per share. Once bankruptcy was declared, trading in Rolls Royce shares was suspended.

Rather than let the company go bankrupt, the company was nationalized for national security reasons.

And this created a massive opportunity for astute investors.

Shares resumed trading a week later, and traded as low at 1.5 cents over the next couple of weeks.

Over the next 5 years, holders of Rolls Royce shares would receive about $1.15 per share. Notes from Rolls Royce say an additional distribution was made in 1982, but I’m not able to find the amount of this final distribution.

In the end, well timed purchases of this “bankrupt” company in 1971 led to nearly 100x returns over the next 10 years!

Rolls Royce was spun off as a private company in the late 1980s and recovered. Today it is worth $31 billion:

rr_chart

February 4th 2004 – Mark Zuckerberg (a 19 year old sophomore at Harvard at the time) launches his website, Facebook. Initially the website was only available for Harvard students, but would quickly expand to include everyone.

early_facebook_2004

In 4 years Facebook would reach 100 million users.

Facebook would have its IPO on May 18th, 2012 where the company would be valued at $90 billion. At the time, it would be the largest IPO in history.

By 2018, more than 1.8 billion people would be on Facebook and the company would be worth $550 billion.

Best February 4th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1938 – Up 1.71%, 2.03 points.

 

Worst February 4th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1920 – Down 2.73%, 2.73 points.

Read of the Day

One of the first investors in Facebook was venture capitalist Peter Thiel, author of: Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

“If you do what has never been done and you can do it better than anybody else, you have a monopoly – and every business is successful exactly insofar as it is a monopoly. But the more you compete, the more you become similar to everyone else. From the tournament of formal schooling to the corporate obsession with outdoing rivals, competition destroys profits for individuals, companies, and society as a whole.

Zero to One is about how to build companies that create new things. It draws on everything Peter Thiel has learned directly as a co-founder of PayPal and Palantir and then an investor in hundreds of startups, including Facebook and SpaceX. The single most powerful pattern Thiel has noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas. Ask not, what would Mark do? Ask: What valuable company is nobody building?

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