Tech employees: You are not your stock price

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Image Credit: Eric Blattberg

If you are an founder or employee of a public company, repeat after me:

I am not my stock price.”

This is one of my favorite Jeff Bezos quotes.

It’s easily to get bummed out when your stock price drops. I believe the emotions follow the +1/-5 rule. Each time it goes up, you get one unit of happiness. Each time it goes down, you get -5 units of happiness.

Think about that for a second. If you look at the stock price every day the market is open, you’ll look at it about 250 times a year. Let’s assume that your stock is higher at the end of the year, but that on 125 days it goes up, and 125 days it goes down. You’ll have +125 happiness for the up days and -625 happiness for the down days. Even though your stock price is higher at the end of the year, you’ll have -500 happiness points.

Now, in the above case, if you only look at your stock at the end of each month, you’ll have six up days and six down days. That’s +6 – 30 = -24 happiness points. Still unhappy, but less so.

If you look at the stock only one time at the end of the year, you’ll have +1 happiness points.

Lesson: Don’t look at your stock price.

Run your business. Work in your business. Do amazing things. Build value. Derive your happiness from the amazing things you are doing for your customers, the great people you work with, and the mission that you are on. Oh – and all the great things in the rest of your life outside of work.

Remember: You are not your stock price.

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