eBay idiocy

Teo Zenios teoz at neo.rr.com
Fri Jan 19 14:35:42 CST 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sellam Ismail" <sellam at vintagetech.com>
To: "Classic Computers Mailing List" <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
Sent: Friday, January 19, 2007 5:55 AM
Subject: re: eBay idiocy

> and Teo Zenios:
> > Sellam seems to post on the list when he is looking for something to
> > resell and make some money, I seem to recall he got pissed when I
> > referred to him as a dealer. If Sellam expects the people here to do all
> > his advertising and build up users for him so HE can someday cash out he
> > is dumber then I thought.
> This is patently ridiculous.
> First, I'll address your ignorance.  I have a 4,500 square foot warehouse
> filled with around 2,000 computers going back to the 1950s, thousands of
> peripherals of all kinds, thousands of software packages, thousands of
> books, tens of thousands of magazines, plus all manner of computer related
> ephemera and things.  This warehouse currently costs me $3,646.20 a month
> to lease.  As you might imagine, I also have other costs, such as
> insurance, utilities, wages, etc.  In short, it costs me a lot of money to
> store all this stuff.
> Now, if I was in this for the money, why the hell would I be stupid enough
> to incur thousands of dollars of expenses every month to store all this
> stuff for the past 10+ years of my life?  Why did I pour all my money into
> acquiring old computers rather than landscaping my backyard, which to this
> day I'm embarrased to admit is still a field of weeds?
> If I was someone only in it for the money, my warehouse would be a rented
> storage shed and I would've been doing a brisk trade out of it.  And if I
> were so inclined, I'd be driving a Lamborghini by now.
> But I don't.  And do you want to know why?  I will tell you.  It is the
> same reason I started the Vintage Computer Festival 10 years ago and have
> been doing it year after year ever since, in fact growing it to multiple
> events around the world, with a wash (in terms of cash) to show for it
> (and that's only if you count expenses and don't take my time into
> account).  It is the same reason I used to charter a bus at my expense at
> the VCF so that people could take a tour of the nascent Computer Museum
> History Center (now the Computer History Museum) while they were in town
> for the VCF and raise its exposure.  It's the same reason I actively
> contributed to this list for nearly nine years, never deleting a single
> message without first reading it.  I do this because I have a passion for
> vintage computing and a love of computer history.  It is what I have done
> since I was a teenager.  It is my life's work.  This is why I do it.
> So hopefully you'll understand why I think your comments are incredibly
> insulting and demeaning, bordering on libelous, and why I now have nothing
> but contempt for both of you for ascribing such a shallow motivation to my
> life's work, especially Teo, who is reading nothing new here.  You've
> questioned my integrity before and I explained to you quite adequately
> that I am not someone who merely buys low and sells high.  If you do this
> again then you and I will tangle, but in a serious fashion.
> As for how I am able to afford to keep all this material preserved while
> earning a living, it's no secret.  I've explained it before, and every
> e-mail message I send out has a link to my business' website which
> explains my work.
> Regarding those periodic requests I post to the list?  Those are what I
> call bounties.  They are opportunities for hobbyists to make a little
> money in their hobby, sometimes a lot of money.  Among other things, I do
> consulting for law firms in the field of patent litigation.  I perform
> research to uncover prior art, and then I go out and try to acquire that
> prior art for my client (the law firm).  Am I doing well by it?  You bet.
> And as the many people who've successfully responded to one of my bounties
> can attest, it can be quite lucrative for them as well.  If I was just
> using the list for my sole personal gain then yeah, I can see how that
> would be annoying.  However, and here I will unashamedly toot my own horn,
> I'm actually spreading the wealth.  Now tell me, what's wrong with that?
> Now, as for selling computers for profit, I do this very, very rarely.
> Most of what I provide to my law clients are items on temporary loan from
> my (or someone else's) collection.  In the rare event when I do sell, I
> only consider profit motives when selling to businesses because I won't
> feel guilty about adding a considerable mark up.  With individuals (i.e.
> fellow collectors) my primary motivation is doing a fair trade.  In many
> cases I just give stuff away to other collectors for the prospect of a
> future favor returned (it's a concept I learned from a good friend called
> "enlightened self-interest").
> By the way, the most exotic thing I ever sold from my own collection, an
> IMSAI 8080 for $3,500 on eBay, was to fund VCF 3.0.  The next most exotic
> thing was an Apple //e.
> But enough of the self-adulation.  I'll be honest and admit that I am
> exploiting my hobby, which I've managed to make into my work, for money,
> and as much as I can.  It's the only way I can afford to maintain and grow
> this wonderful archive that I've built.  So I do it shamelessly.
> Sellam Ismail                                        Vintage Computer
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> International Man of Intrigue and Danger
> [ Old computing resources for business || Buy/Sell/Trade Vintage
mputers   ]
> [ and academia at www.VintageTech.com  || at
http://marketplace.vintage.org  ]

Hmm where to begin.

How am I questioning your integrity?

The VCM was setup for selling on the ebay model (but with only computer
related equipment) and if it was popular a fee would be charged from all
sales so it was setup with the idea of making a profit down the road (if not
then why bother mentioning fees at all). I don't have a problem with using
ebay when I can find a deal, same with using VCM to buy (I don't sell just
acquire it seems). If you could IPO the VCM and make a few million then more
power to you, just don't freak out when it isn't doing so well because of
little or no advertisement outside of this small list. You are smart enough
to know why ebay does well and the VCM is not, scolding the buyers and
sellers will not make it work.

You are not a list member, but do show up when you need something (items you
offer a bounty for, or information needed to prove prior art). You also
mentioned earlier that you had clients who gave you a credit card to acquire
equipment for them. So you are mining the list for information directly
related to you making a living, plus you have been known to deal equipment
(even if it is somebody else's).

All I did was state facts, which tend to annoy you for some reason (go talk
to a shrink about it). If I stated something that was not a fact (don't give
me 5000 words about the motivation behind it, just the fact was wrong), then
I will retract my statement and offer an apology.

I don't have a problem with people making a living off of their hobby, but
once you do its not JUST a hobby anymore now is it. I am sure you have spent
a great deal of time and some money advancing this hobby, but that does not
give you the right to treat this list the way you have been lately,
especially since you are not an active member any longer.


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