Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST, Monday, October 1, 2007: Buy
Kimberly-Clark (KM). Kleenex sales this weekend boomed. There wasn't a dry eye
(including mine) as I walked Claire down the aisle for her storybook weekend
biggest wedding "takeaway"? The world is in good hands. Actually superb
hands. I met Claire and Ted's young friends. You'd be hard pressed to find a
more impressive bunch. One young lawyer is about to argue before what is effectively
the supreme court of Massachusetts. That's a huge coup. Some lawyers go through
their entire career without doing what Ries at age 30 is doing in two weeks.
Brian is working at MIT on the next generation of optical communications. If
you're in awe of how the Internet has changed our lives in the past 15 years,
wait till you see what Brian, age 32, has in store for all of us. Truly awesome.
That's just two examples of their awesomely talented friends.
shined on us with a bright blue sky and warm 70 degree weather.
Claire's brother, Michael and Kit, Ted's sister, did the ceremony. In Massachusetts,
you pay $25 and you're allowed to perform one marriage on one day. Here is the
application. Photo by Dan
I gave a talk, saying "this was my last chance to lecture my daughter.
After today there's no way she'll listen to me - if she ever did."
I stressed some of the key traits I believe in:
Undying curiosity. Your mother and I didn't believe in pushing you into anything.
We believed in exposing you to anything and everything. Too many people are
not curious about the great world around us. Discover it. Enjoy it. Keep learning.
Keep the words talking and the emails coming. Susan, my wife, likes talk. I
like written. We've been together over 35 years. A feat of infinite amazement
to our friends.
Your integrity is all you have.
4. Generosity. With yourself, with your family and with your friends.
Giving is a lot better than receiving. Giving back is even better.
It doesn't hurt to be a little nutty. It makes life more interesting. The only
downside is that people often don't take you seriously. There is a difference
between somber and serious. You can be serious and have fun. It's hard to be
somber and have fun.
6. Change the
world. You will. Ries and Brian will.
patience. I have none. It's my supreme failing. I believe unless you do
it now, you'll probably never do it. Patience often works better, however.
umpteenth reason -- change: I
can't get this story out of my brain. With a few moments to spare I drive into
the local Chrysler dealer. I wonder how they're coping with the new Cerberus
ownership. Answer: they love it. How's business, I ask? The
owner tells me it used to be easy to a successful auto dealer. All you had to
do was take care of your customers' cars. Give them good service. But
now running a dealership is really hard and much less profitable. Two reasons:
Cars work much better, so it's harder to impress with great service.
The Internet has removed virtually all the profits. Everyone knows what cars
cost the dealers. Everyone knows the markups. And everyone knows how little
they should pay for a new car.
good news: Expensive cars drop hugely and quickly in price. Everyone can afford
to drive a Mercedes, BMW or Lexus. Just buy a secondhand one. They work great.
Once auto dealer
owners were the richest dudes in town. No more. Now it's the hedge fund owners.
There isn't a
place where change hasn't accelerated and -- within a remarkably short
time -- upset the entire apple cart of profitability. Think newspapers. Think
ethanol plants. Think subprime lending. Think phone lines. Think long distance
Once hot, now
stone cold. And in such a short time.
Remember my rants
against newspaper companies in general, and The New York Times in particular.
Look at its stock:
industries and dying companies can be very profitable. The problem? Sometimes
there's huge disconnect between when you think they are dying and when
the stockmarket does, though The New York Times has been in steady decline
since June of 2002 when it was around $53.
cockroach credit contagion: UBS said it will
write down $3.41 billion of its fixed income assets, including securities tied
to subprime mortgages. The writedowns follow losses in other areas, including
some especially risky hedge funds. Citigroup expects its third-quarter net income
to slump about 60% due to "dislocations in the mortgage-backed securities
and credit markets."
be more to come. I don't like financials. These things are cockroach stocks.
My brain still reels with the words, "Mark to model, not mark to market."
Financials are still not clear about their methodology behind their
writedowns I suspect it is starting small. As they dig, they'll find more and
more disasters -- assets carried on their books at way above what they're worth
on the market.
Economy Could Survive Oil At $100 a Barrel: Talk about a self-fulfilling
prophecy. The Wall Street Journal says the world can survive at $100
a barrel. This is great news to countries pumping oil, many of whose fields
are peaking. Now they have no guilt about pumping oil prices even higher. The
usual suspects -- drillers, oil service companies, etc. -- will benefit. Nothing
is replacing oil fast. The ethanol industry is busting. Read the New York Times'
Boom Stalling as Glut Depresses Price. (The New York Times website is
now free. So you should have no trouble reading this link.)
Paddy had been drinking at his local Dublin pub all day and most of the night.
Mick, the bartender, says "You'll not be drinking any more tonight, Paddy."
"OK Mick, I'll be on my way then". Paddy spins around on his stool
and steps off. He falls flat on his face.
he says and pulls himself up by the stool and dusts himself off.
He takes a step
towards the door and falls flat on his face again. "Damn!" he says.
He looks to the
doorway and thinks that if he can just get to the door and get some fresh air
he'll be fine. He belly crawls to the door and shimmies up the door frame. He
sticks his head outside and takes a deep breath of fresh air, feels much better
and takes a step out onto the pavement and falls flat on his face.
I'm soused," he says.
He can see his
house just a few doors down, and decides to try for it. He crawls down the street
and shimmies up the door frame, opens the door and looks inside. He takes a
look up the stairs and says, "No flappin' way."
But he somehow
crawls up the stairs to his bedroom door and thinks, "I think I can make
it to the bed." He takes a step into the room and falls flat on his face
again. He says, "This is hell. I gotta stop drinking."
He manages to
crawl to the bed and fall in.
The next morning,
his wife comes into the room carrying a cup of coffee and says, "Get up,
Paddy. Did you have a bit to drink last night?"
Paddy says, "I
did Jess. I was totally pissfaced. How'd you know?"
You left your wheelchair at the pub."
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. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look
mighty 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 Claire's
law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click
here and here.