Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Harry Newton
AM EST, Monday, May 18, 2009. I'm seriously
proud of my children. Claire is the best lawyer around -- so good that her
firm has my poor baby girl working nights and weekends. It's great for me.
I know always know where to reach her -- in the office. It's bad for her.
She never gets to breathe. Still, in today's world. better to be loved by
your employer than to be unemployed by the world.
My son graduates in two weeks and is starting a new business. He must be good
at it because his professors awarded him a $1,000 prize for the best second
year kid to be entrepreneurial. The award, "A faculty committee selects
a second year student who demonstrates strong entrepreneurship and leadership
skills as the recipient." The $1,000 he won was on top of the $20,000
he won in the business plan contest. At this rate, I suggested, it would be
better for him to go back to school for a third year. Maybe we could finally
make a profit on the school. Have you seen grad school fees recently?
this new business idea. I can't tell you the idea. He'd kill me. But he needs
about $750,000 to start. I took him to a friend who knows something about
Michael's new industry. Michael wanted advice. The kid's good at listening
-- something he learned from his mother. My friend was so impressed with Michael
and his partner Jon Altman that he offered to invest. I had to chirp in: "We
don't come down to get money out of you. We came down because you know a lot
about Michael's industry. You're the world's leading expert." He said,
"I know. I know. But... " My friend said he was convinced that Michael
and John would succeed -- which was more than I was when I went into the meeting.
Michael and John have an idea to take on one of the biggest industries in
the world. I had always thought this was a big bite for the first venture.
But my friend thought it doable and it would succeed.
later I sent Michael an email, "Before the train leaves the station,
its time for the Newton family to put in for $250,000."
His reply: "That's
a lot of money. I don't think you should. Moreoever, we're going after strategic
What he means
by "strategic investors" is ones with brains. I think Harry Daddy
(that's me) just got put in his tiny place. Which, of course, makes me beg
harder to get in." Brilliant sales. This kid is going to succeed beyond
his and my wildest imaginations.
bright side of the recession. Big companies
are focused on survival. That means they're less likely to waste resources
to squash the fly crawling up the elephant's leg with rape in mind. (Think
my son's new venture.) The conventional economy is cratering but vast new
areas are being born -- especially ones benefiting by continuing explosion
92-year old father-in-law thinks he's still 60. He walked in the woods, fell
and jabbed a branch deep into his leg. Bingo, call in Johnson & Johnson's
new Prisma Matrix Wound Dressing. Only $156 for a small box. Magic stuff.
It will save his leg, though not his ego.
If you're short
of a job and short of ideas, the best idea to Google "business brokers"
in your local town. Go visit a few and see what's available. You'd be surprised
how many businesses are available for a song. The key success ingredients
seem to be heavy customer love and common sense. Neither of these are rocket
science. A decent web site will also work wonders. Many businesses are being
sold for the dumbest of reasons -- the family can't agree, the IRS wants some
taxes, the president is a non-listening egomaniac, the bank needs its money,
to look at about 100 to find one. My friend bought a gun wholesale business
last Fall. He sold his furniture, mortgaged his house and cashed in his children.
He bet his life. Lady Luck helped. Obama got elected. The right wing freaked
he'd outlaw assault rifles and other implements of mass destruction. My friend's
sales boomed and they're still booming. I should have invested.
dull side of the recession. There's a site
From today's site:
stock market is up sharply since early March, the economy as well as corporate
earnings continue to suffer. Today's chart helps provide some perspective
as to the magnitude of the current economic decline. Today's chart illustrates
that 12-month, as-reported S&P 500 earnings have declined over 90% over
the past 20 months (with over 90% of S&P 500 companies having reported
for Q1 2009), making this by far the largest decline on record (the data
goes back to 1936). In fact, real earnings have dropped to a record low
and if current estimates hold, Q3 2009 will see the first 12-month period
during which S&P 500 earnings are negative.
what this thing fetched on the weekend?
1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, widely regarded as one of the most desirable
of Ferrari sports racing cars, fetched €9,020,000 ($12,134,606)
a new record as the most expensive car ever to be sold at auction.
trip to Rome.
A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a
trip to Rome with her husband.. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser,
Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty.. You're crazy to
go to Rome . So, how are you getting there?"
taking Continental," was the reply. "We got a great rate!"
exclaimed the hairdresser. " That's a terrible airline. Their planes
are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they're always late. So, where
are you staying in Rome ?"
be at this exclusive little place over on Rome 's Tiber River called Tereste."
go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks its gonna be something
special and exclusive, but it's really a dump.."
going to go to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope."
rich," laughed the hairdresser. You and a million other people trying
to see him. He'll look the size of an ant.
Boy, good luck
on this lousy trip of yours. You're going to need it."
A month later,
the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her
trip to Rome .
wonderful," explained the woman, "not only were we on time in one
of Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped
us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome
28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot.
And the hotel
was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job, and now it's
a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they
apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"
muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you didn't
get to see the Pope."
we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped
me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the
visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait,
the Pope would personally greet me.
five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I
knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."
What'd he say ?"
He asked, "Who
screwed up your hair?"
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 . You can't
click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from
software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role
in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some
look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please
note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay
Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense,
here and here.