Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM Friday, February 18, 2005: It
was a truly wonderful day. Todd and I bicycled two hours through thousands of
Gates in Central Park. The wind blew. The saffron fabric made wonderful
shapes. The sun shone through it and it glowed. The park, usually quiet at this
time of year, is teaming with thousands of tourists from all over the world. I've
never seen so many cameras in one place, or heard so many foreign languages. It
was a gigantic party. It's New York at its finest. Please visit. Today, the sun
is shining and we have azure blue skies.
There's 7500 gates. They're all through the Park.
This is the view from the top end of the park, in Harlem.
This is the view from my apartment. For more on The Gates exhibit, click
here. Make sure you watch the Multimedia feature.
thoughts on finding that perfect investment: The
perfect investment remains your own business. You work at it 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. You succeed. The business eventually throws off rewards,
also called money. Then what? What level of minutiae do you want? What time
do you have? Clearly little. And, the time constraint doesn't change much after
you've sold the business and "retired." I thought that with more time,
I'd be better at this. But "retirement" has its own time demands,
chiefly from the family. So, tipping my hat to my friend, Dan Good, who figured
this out long before I did, it all comes down to finding trusted experts
to guide you. Increasingly that has been my quest -- find trusted advisors,
find trusted managers.
feel especially elated this morning. I found another great one yesterday. I
won't identify them, yet. I need their permission. But I can give you a thumbnail
of what they do. They call themselves value contrarians. They find good companies
who've stumbled and are out of favor, i.e. Wall Street has given up recommending
them. There's often bad press on a small part of their business. My manager
looks for temporary, fixable stumbles. He checks the balance sheet and cash
flow. Are they strong? Will it pull the company through? He looks for an "inflection
point," a fancy way of buying the stock somewhere near the bottom of the
fall. He often watches stocks for six to nine months, waiting for the assurance
of a slight turnaround. Then he buys buy and holds. His typical holding period
is 3 1/2 years. The portfolio has 40 stocks, enough for one person to monitor.
Average turnover is only 25% a year. But the rewards are spectacular. He's beaten
all the indexes by a wide margin for 13 years with only one stumble. He was
up only 14.5% in 1997. The S&P was 33.4% up that year.
There are two keys to their success: patience and discipline. The patience to
make sure the problem is fixable. The discipline to buy out of favor stocks
and the discipline not to buy today's "Hot Stock du Jour."
P.S. Don't Google "value contrarian," thinking you can figure it all
out and delve into Harry's secrecy. Google comes up with the wrong name.
Surprise: New Hampshire regulators accused American Express Co.'s
financial-advisory unit of defrauding customers by giving its sales force secret
incentives to sell poorly performing in-house mutual funds, rather than
investments from competitors. American Express Financial Advisors awarded bigger
bonuses for selling the proprietary funds, investigators said. E-mails collected
by the state show supervisors praising advisers who sold American Express funds
and chiding those who didn't. In one sales contest, American Express offered
advisers free one-year leases on Mercedes-Benzes as prizes for promoting a new
in-house fund. The New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation said in an
administrative complaint that the American Express unit violated state and federal
securities laws requiring advisers to act in clients' best interests and to
disclose conflicts of interest that could taint their recommendations. All this
from today's Journal.
I love multiple screens. Here's a neat way
of joining four together.
The web site says
the gadget (excluding the screens) costs $580. But their latest catalog, which
I received yesterday in the mail, says it costs $326.99. Click
off with Hotmail: My wife hates her hotmail
account, which she got for traveling. She can never get into it. The good news
is that Google is apparently opening
up its from Gmail. I had signed up for their email newsletter about their service
and this morning they emailed me, saying I could open an account. I can't give
you my account, but trying going here. Click
here. Gmail comes with 1,000 megabytes of free storage, Google search
technology to find any message you want instantly, and a new way of organizing
email that saves you time and helps you make sense of all the information in
your inbox. Here are just some of the things which Google told me in their email
that they had added in the last few months:
- Free POP access: Take your messages with you. Download them, read them off-line,
access them using Outlook, your Blackberry or any other device that supports
- Gmail Notifier: Get new mail notifications and see the messages and their
senders without having to open a browser
- Better contacts management: Import your contacts from Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail,
Outlook, and others to Gmail in just a few clicks. Add phone numbers, notes
and more. Even use search to keep better track of it all.
statistic: In the U.S., deaf people have a better driving records
than do their hearing counterparts. Could it be the lack of a cell phone grafted
to the ear?
Mclean "Vincent" Starry Starry Night": Someone
has put made grafted Don Mclean's singing Starry Starry Night to Vincent van
Gogh paintings. And the effect is stunning. Truly wonderful. The song apparently
is called Vincent and was written about van Gogh.
Click on the image, say you want to use Powerpoint to play it. Wait a second
for the song or Click here.
Blonde with a Cell Phone
A young man wanted to get his beautiful blonde wife, Laura, something
nice for their first wedding anniversary. So he decided to buy her a cell phone.
He showed her the phone and explained to her all of its features.
Laura was excited to receive the gift and simply adored her new phone.
The next day Laura went shopping. Her phone rang and, to her astonishment, it
was her husband on the other end. "Hi Laura," he said, "how do
you like your new phone?"
Laura replied, "I just love it! It's so small and your voice is clear as
a bell, but there's one thing I don't understand though..."!
"What's that, sweetie?" asked her husband.
"How did you know I was in Saks?
The Joy of Being in Hospital
A woman called a local hospital. "Hello. Could
you connect me to the person who gives information about patients. I'd like
to find out if a patient is getting better, doing as expected, or getting worse."
The voice on the other end said, "What is the patient's name
and room number?"
"Sarah Finkel, room 302."
"I'll connect you with the nursing station."
"3-A Nursing Station. How can I help You?"
"I'd like to know the condition of Sarah Finkel in room 302."
"Just a moment. Let me look at her records. Mrs. Finkel is doing very well.
In fact, she's had two full meals, her blood pressure is fine, she is to be
taken off the heart monitor in a couple of hours and, if she continues this
improvement, Dr. Cohen is going to send her home Tuesday at noon."
The woman said, "What a relief! Oh, that's fantastic... that's wonderful
The nurse said, "From your enthusiasm, I take it you are a close family
member or a very close friend!"
"Neither! I'm Sarah Finkel in 302! Nobody here tells me shit."