I heard on the radio the other day that Disney would no longer issue stock certificates, and I thought of Lance Lee.
I met Lance in the late 1990s at a yoga retreat at White Lotus in Santa Barbara. He told me about his company, OneShare.com, which sells single keepsake stock certificates. Lee had been a conventional stockbroker, but enough clients asked to buy single shares through him that he saw a business opportunity. (He still needed a broker’s license to sell single shares.)
I wrote up OneShare.com for California Computer News in July 2000. Among many fun facts, Lee told me that Disney was the most popular stock he sold. A quick look at the OneShare.com website today shows that ranking hasn’t changed. The stock was — is — a popular gift for kids — in part because the certificate is lovely, depicting Disney characters and a smiling portrait of Walt.
For Lance’s sake, I hope that more companies don’t follow Disney’s lead and stop issuing certificates.