In doing some filing tonight I ran across some old paperwork. Sitting next to me now is a NOTICE OF STOCK OPTION GRANT from Yahoo Inc. to Jeremy Zawodny (at my old address). It grants me thousands of options to buy YHOO at a strike price of $390.25. These options expire on 12/28/2009.


That's my initial grant from 5 years ago when I started at Yahoo. Can you say "joined just before the bubble burst?" I thought you could.

Of course, the stock has split since then, but it's still not enough to make "twice as many at half the price" that exciting.

I'm sure there are thousands of similar stories out there, many from companies that aren't even around anymore--casualties of irrational exuberance.

At least we survived.

I'll keep this piece of paper, mainly as a reminder of how crazy things really were back then.

Posted by jzawodn at December 12, 2004 09:27 PM

Reader Comments
# Steve said:

Hehe - hang on to it - it'll be a great piece of history one day as future economists look back and laugh at our half decade of fiscal madness.

on December 12, 2004 11:29 PM
# Yun said:

C'mon don't you wanna provide Y! with a bit more working capital and dilute everyone else's holdings just that little bit more? :D

on December 13, 2004 04:19 AM
# Rob Meyer said:

I just logged in to my yahoo for the first time in years; the portfolio of stocks that I had (which was my options + the prices of our competitors) was still on the front page. Out of 10 different design/engineering consultancies, 9 of them showed as N/A 'cause they were gone or delisted...

on December 13, 2004 07:07 AM
# rr said:

There have been two splits. Those are $97 options. Still a few fathoms deep now, but 5 years from now?

on December 13, 2004 07:30 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Yes, there've been 2 splits so they're just below $100. It's plausible that we'll climb back up there.

But given that these were nearly $400 options 5 years ago, it's hard not to laugh a bit. :-)

on December 13, 2004 07:42 AM
# rr said:

I was pretty laughable then too considering the stock went from $200 to $400 in 5 weeks. On the bright side, 5 days later and you could've had $500 options.

on December 13, 2004 08:18 AM
# No Laughing Matter said:

While funny, I'm guessing that a large portion of your total compensation (in terms of percentage) is potentially options-driven.

Personally, I lost over $1M of compensation (on paper anway), as my company's stock price tumbled. The options I had were not executable at the time of the plunge (60 month vesting time), but, ouch it stings hard.

Even after taxes would have been paid, that's a net loss of over 600k, which would definitely have changed my life for the better.

It's sad, funny, etc., but for lack of a better word, sucks. Options are given as a reward for hard work. When they expire worthless, what does that say about the value of your hard work?

Net-net = I'll take my compensation in the form of salary. Any money my options generate is pure (unplanned) upside.

on December 13, 2004 02:00 PM
# Troy said:

You're a tool if you think that $1MM was "a reward for hard work", or that 1999-era options had any relationship to hard work.

Nothing wrong with stock options as long as they don't go to your head. A million bucks is not a just reward for a few years of 60 hour workweeks, it's a lottery.

on December 13, 2004 09:08 PM
# Brian St. Pierre said:

Heh. At least Yahoo! is still in business. Companies have only a 25% chance of survival after hiring me: since my 2nd year of college, of the 8 companies that I've worked for only 2 remain in their original form. (And one of those is a independent financial consultant for whom I did some development work.)

Two liquidations, one asset sale, one Chapter 11, one broken up into separate businesses, and an acquisition that might as well have been an asset sale (nobody made any money).

on December 15, 2004 07:27 AM
# Bert said:

Misery loves company! I've averaged around two years per employer over the last twenty years and only two of them still exist; Nortel and a little startup called Topspin.

There was a running joke among Nortel employees when the stock hit fifty cents that if you'd invested $100 in Nortel in 2000 and $100 in beer at the same time, you'd have gotten to drink the beer and the deposit on the cans would still be worth more than the stock.

on December 15, 2004 11:49 AM
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