My mid-life crisis over technology stocks - CNBC Comment

I’m nostalgic about the past – but then remember life is so much better today
Nostalgia is a dangerous thing. A couple of years ago I broke a golden rule of mine. I went to a LIFFE market reunion. It was a big mistake. There is nothing worse than a bunch of greying, balding, slightly tubby middle aged men (mostly) banging on about how great times were “back on the floor”.

Don’t get me wrong, it was great to see so many old faces. But I got to thinking that we should have left the 1990s in the 90s and moved on. Too many people just couldn’t. Yes, open outcry was the best job a young man who loved the City could have had in his 20s. It was fast, exciting and stunningly well paid. But it was also rife with front running, dodgy deals, huge cost for the clients and slow by today’s microsecond trading times.

Open outcry is now toast for a whole host of good reasons, and markets where it is still the main way of order execution outside Portobello Road or Romford market are quite possibly doing clients a disservice

In the same way, every time I see a picture of a TDK 90 minute tape or a VHS player, something nostalgic rises to the surface. Then I remember having to get out a Bic biro and trying to wind the missed tape back in. Life is so much better now in so many ways.

I’m not sure if it is a midlife crisis or a midlife epiphany, but I’m suddenly getting overly excited about a whole host of technologies. And at the same time, I am getting more and more suspicious of technology market valuations.

I have had countless arguments on set about tech company IPOs. Every time an AO, an Etsy or an Ocado comes to market, someone is there to tell me about how they are disrupters, how they are going to change the world, etc.

There are, of course, true disrupters, from Tesla to Apple, and yet those stocks normally come with groupies. Being a bit of a contrarian at heart, it is hard to fall in love with stocks so adored by such large herds. So to recap, I seemingly don’t like any tech stocks either because they are overpriced and unprofitable or they are profitable and owned by so many unquestioning fans as opposed to cold hearted investors. So much for putting growth in my portfolio.

On the other hand, as a consumer, my epiphany is becoming a bit tiresome to my younger colleagues. “Have you tried Uber?”, “Oh my god, this Spotify lark is amazing?” Shut up you sad old man is one of the kinder responses.

And now I’ve been asked to work on a live blog. Truth is, it will probably be a work in progress but I’m genuinely excited. The days of me just spreading my very often contrarian but as often incoherent stream of consciousness purely for three hours on SquawkBox are over. As a late adopting technology junkie I can only apologise in advance.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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