The Missed Opportunity

Mark Twain was a sucker for innovation, wasting thousands of dollars backing losers.

One day Alexander Graham Bell’s people asked him to a meeting to discuss investing in a company he was forming to market telephones.

“I went there with my check in my pocket,” recounts Twain, “there was a young fellow there who was with Graham Bell and was agent for a new invention called the telephone. He believed there was great fortune in store for it and wanted me to take some stock.”

“I declined,” continued Twain, “I said I didn’t want anything more to do with wildcat speculation. Then he offered the stock to me at twenty-five. I said I didn’t want it at any price. He said I could have a whole hatful for five hundred dollars. But I resisted all these temptations, resisted them easily, went off with my check intact, and next day lent five thousand of it on an unendorsed note to my friend who was going to go bankrupt three days later.”



  1. I wonder how many of us were tempted to throw a thousand at Microsoft in 1986?

  2. It never occurred to me, Scunnerous, but if you did, I salute you.

  3. How many of us were tempted to throw a thousand at Microsoft in 1986 or so… just in case?

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