By the Spring of 1998, Jonathan was 13, and his ambitions were
growing. He had glimpsed the essential truth of the market: that even
people who called themselves professionals are often incapable of
independent thought and that most people, though obsessed with money,
have little ability to make decisions about it. He knew what he was
doing, or thought he did. He had learned to find everything he wanted
to know about a company on the Internet; what he couldn't find, he ran
down in the flesh. It became part of Connie Lebed's life to drive her
son to various corporate headquarters to make sure they existed. He
also persuaded her to open an account with Ameritrade. ''He'd done so
well with the stock contest, I figured, Let's see what he can do,''
Connie said.
What he did was turn his $8,000 savings bond into $28,000 inside of 18
months. During the same period, he created his own Web site devoted to
companies with small market capitalization -- penny stocks. The Web
site came to be known as (''You know, like racing
dogs.'') plugged the stocks of companies Jonathan found
interesting or that people Jonathan met on the Internet found
interesting. At its peak, had maybe 1,500 visitors a
day. Even so, the officers of what seemed to Jonathan to be serious
companies wrote to him to sell him on their companies. Within a couple
of months of becoming an amateur stock-market analyst, he was in the
middle of a network of people who spent every waking hour chatting
about and trading stocks on the Internet.
Michael Lewis
Full article at NYT:

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