Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Episode 5 - The Stock Tip

The Plot:  The last episode of Season 1 and the very first episode I saw live.  George gets a hot tip on a stock and passes it along to Jerry & Elaine.  As soon as they act on the tip, the stock takes a nosedive, giving Kramer great joy at his friends misery.  Kramer spends the entire episode coming into Jerry’s apartment to gleefully tell him that the stock went down again.  Tiring of Kramer’s annoying updates, Jerry finally decides he wants to dump his shares and take the loss.  George, always the pessimist, decides he wants to go down with the ship.  Trying to take his mind off the financial hit, Jerry invites his girlfriend, Vanessa, on a trip to Vermont for the weekend.  A 72 hour downpour leaves Jerry and Vanessa staring at one another and finding they have very little to talk about.  Searching for anything to do to break up the boredom, Jerry grabs a newspaper, only to find that the stock took a meteoric jump the day after he sold it.  This prompts an argument between he and Vanessa over the stock market.

He comes back to NYC to find George reveling in the money he made, teasing Jerry for getting out, and in a rare show of generosity, treating his friends to lunch at Monks. 

Fun Facts:
  • This is the first episode with a reference to Superman.
  • Vanessa also appeared in Episode 2, being one of the few girlfriends to appear in more than one episode.
  • The first of many episodes with Jerry embodying the frustration we all have with various vendors in our lives as he argues with his dry cleaner about a shrunken shirt. 

Favorite Quote:  JerryI think Superman probably has a very good sense of humor. He's got super strength, super speed, I’m sure he’s got super humor.

Favorite Scene:  George pretending to be a big spender giving the waitress at Monks a big tip, only to revert back to his normal self and take some money back from her hand.

The Lesson:  This may be the easiest lesson to understand, as it is straight out of the startup playbook.  Like the stock price in this episode, all startup companies have their daily ups and downs.  A well established household name can see its stock price move up and/or down in significant swings.  Startups are even more susceptible to dramatic swings.  One big customer signing up can change the fortunes of early stage companies overnight.  Likewise, the loss of such a customer can have a disproportionate impact on the company.  The lesson is thus, not to panic when things take a slight dip as yesterday’s distress can turn into tomorrow’s success with blinding speed.  While there are times when cutting your losses and moving on are the best tactic for a startup, decisions like that should not be made without careful consideration and clear evaluation.

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