Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM Tuesday, March 1, 2005: The
only lesson I can figure from my 401(k) disaster (see yesterday) is don't let
your human resources person/accountant pick the mutual fund for your 401(k). But
it was the mid-1980s and who knew better? Who knew B from A? Moreover, I had a
new business to grow at that time. And the whole thing started with less than
$2,000. Reader Karl Harrop, writes,
I see a lot of people who come in with B share funds and annuities with hefty
CDSC (Contingent Deferred Sales Charge -- i.e. back-end) sales charges. They make
me ill. Typically, the broker who was initially paid no longer feels to have an
obligation to service the client. Not only did the clock stop ticking when you
went into the money market fund, be aware that many fund families will keep the
funds in B share even when the CDSC period ends. B shares usually add about 1%
or so to the expense ratio compared with A share funds. If you don't see any funds
in the family you like, and you have a ways to go before the penalty ends, I'd
pay for the "education" & find a more cost effective investment.
Chances are that you will make back the penalty with the savings from lower expense
Just for giggles, I'm going to guess Putnam, although B shares from all firms
are usually about the same. Like most annuities, they are terrible investments."
Well the firm
was Dreyfus -- the answer to yesterday's quiz. Dreyfus makes up for in
advertising (the lion) what their funds lack in quality and what their people
lack in helpfulness -- one horrible company. I'm emotionally against letting
them take their penalty. So I'm "researching" their fund family, praying
that one or two funds will turn up with merit. So far, my pickings are thin.
There are thousands of blogs on the Internet. They look like a normal web page.
What distinguishes a "blog" from my column is that a blog accepts
and publishes contributions by readers, which the readers post themselves.
Many blogs focus on specific product and service problems. Reporters from many
magazines monitor blogs for story ideas. Blogs often report problems before
the companies discover them. As a result, companies are reading blogs to see
their problems before they get out of hand and they get national press.
New software is being developed that can float around the Internet, read blogs
and figure if a blog posting about a product or service is positive or negative
(also calling flaming). Blogs often have things called RSS feeds, which is the
new way of sending information directly to your computer's screen -- typically
as a scrolling bar. Two main companies are Blogware.com
Another called Hitwise helps businesses
answer the question "How does your business compare online?"
According to its website, "Each day Hitwise reports on how 25 Million
Internet users interact with over 500,000 websites across 160+ industries."
Yesterday, CNET's News.com, reported "Kanoodle, a search-advertising
specialist, wants to help turn blogging into small business. On Monday, the
company introduced a self-service system that lets online publishers pair advertising
with their RSS feeds. Called BrightAds RSS (after the technology format known
as Really Simple Syndication), the service takes advantage of Kanoodle's keyword
advertising system to match Web content to relevant ads. Once a publisher signs
up, an advertising link will piggyback on its syndicated feed sent to third-party
And with the help of Moreover Technologies, the service will offload a publisher's
infrastructure demands of delivering RSS feeds to hundreds or thousands of readers.
Moreover's technology will do the work.
is democratization of content," said Jim Pitkow, CEO of Moreover. "The
benefit is that small publishers now have a choice as to if and how they make
money from their content."
RSS feeds are
a key area of interest among major news outlets, investors and technology companies.
The publishing standard has flourished, but many experimenting with the format
have yet to figure out how to profit from it.
Kanoodle and Moreover, based in San Francisco, have been testing RSS advertising
for more than six months, and according to Pitkow, the tests have been profitable.
With BrightAds RSS, more publishers will be able to sign up for automatic advertising
links. And the three companies will share in the fees collected from marketers
each time people click on an ad."
Want more on RSS? Click
flying story is disturbing: It turns out, according
to today's Wall Street Journal, that a
British Airways 747 had an engine fail during takeoff in Los Angeles
10 days ago. But instead of returning to the airport to land, Flight 268 continued
on across the U.S, up near the North Pole, across the Atlantic -- all the way
to England. The flight, with 351 passengers on board, didn't quite make it to
London, its scheduled destination. It made an emergency landing in Manchester,
England, setting off a controversy over the risk of flying 10 hours with a dead
engine hanging under the wing.
For U.S. airlines,
Federal Aviation Administration regulations require commercial carriers to land
at the nearest suitable airport after an engine failure. However, British Air
and safety experts say that British regulations don't. In the complex world
of aviation law, which is governed by bilateral treaties and international agreements,
the bottom line is that the FAA doesn't have jurisdiction over a British crew
in this instance.
seems to make sense to fly American airlines, even bankrupt ones.
decent idea: I have a decent idea for a new business startup about
once every three years. I had one last night. That's why this column is a bit
short this morning.
One hell of a headache: The doctor said,
"Joe, the good news is I can cure your headaches. The bad news is that
it will require castration. You have a very rare condition, which causes your
testicles to press on your spine, and the pressure creates one hell of a headache.
The only way to relieve the pressure is to remove the testicles."
shocked and depressed. He wondered if he had anything to live for. He couldn't
concentrate long enough to answer, but decided he had no choice but to go under
left the hospital he was without a headache for the first time in 20 years,
but he felt like he was missing an important part of himself.
As he walked
down the street, he realized that he felt like a different person. He could
make a new beginning and live a new life. He saw a men's
clothing store and thought, "That's what I need - a new suit."
the shop and told the salesman, "I'd like a new suit." The elderly
tailor eyed him briefly and said, "Let's see...size 44 long."
"That's right, how did you know?"
in the business 60 years!"
on the suit. It fit perfectly. As Joe admired himself in the mirror, the salesman
asked, "How about a new shirt?" Joe thought for a
moment and then said, "Sure."
eyed Joe and said, "Let's see, 34 sleeve and 16-1/2 neck."
surprised, "That's right, how did you know?"
in the business 60 years!"
on the shirt, and it fit perfectly. As Joe adjusted the collar in the mirror,
the salesman asked, "How about new shoes?"
on a roll and said, "Sure." The salesman eyed Joe's feet and said,
"Let's see...9-1/2 E." Joe was astonished, "That's right, how
did you know?"
in the business 60 years!"
on the shoes and they fit perfectly. Joe walked comfortably around the shop
and the salesman asked, "How about some new underwear?"
for a second and said, "Sure." The salesman stepped back, eyed Joe's
waist and said, "Let's see...size 36."
"Ah ha! I got you! I've worn size 34 since I was 18 years old"
shook his head, "You can't wear a size 34. A size 34 underwear would press
your testicles up against the base of your spine and give you one hell of a
While riding one day,
a cowboy met an Indian riding along with a dog and sheep and he began a conversation.
Cowboy: "Hey, nice dog you got there. Mind if I speak to him?"
Indian: "Dog no talk."
"Hey dog, how's it going?"
Look of shock )
this Indian your owner?" ( Pointing at the Indian )
"How does he treat you?"
good. He walks me twice a day, feeds me great food, and takes me to the lake
once a week to play."
Look of disbelief )
"Mind if I talk to your horse?"
"Horse no talk."
"Hey horse, how's it going?"
Extreme look of shock )
"Is this your owner?" ( Pointing at the Indian )
"How does he treat you?"
good, thanks for asking. He rides me regularly, brushes me down often, and keeps
me in a shed to protect me."
Complete look of utter amazement )
"Mind if I talk to your sheep?"
This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't
give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities,
which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday
through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting
things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing
called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage
my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can
all learn together. My email address is .
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will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense,
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