RIP J.R. Simplot – from chips to chips

J.R. Simplot passed away today.   A real Horatio Alger story – started in business at 14.

In 1923, he left home with four $20 gold coins and paid $1 a day for room and board at Declo’s only hotel. As a shrewd young businessman, Simplot bought interest-bearing scrip paid to teachers who also were boarding there for 50 cents on the dollar.

Question: is there anything you can buy today for fifty cents on the dollar?    His story comes wonderfully full circle:

n 1980, at age 71, Simplot took a gamble on the next generation of businessmen, giving Ward and Joe Parkinson $1 million for 40 percent of what would become computer chip maker Micron Technology Inc. Over the years, he pumped in $20 million more to help Micron build its first manufacturing plant and to stay afloat. Micron went on to become a major producer of DRAM memory chips, which are used to store information in personal computers.

Question: if you can’t run your own business, can you take an ownership stake in someone else?  Dreams need funding today.