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Are we talking ourselves into a recession? Who cares? There are wonderful technology opportunities out there. Let’s find them.

There’s much gloom and doom being written. Too much.

I’ve been checking on the tech startup scene and on syndicated residential and commercial real estate.

There are wonderful opportunities out there.

It takes more time to find them, and more time to check them out. Hence it’s not easy to write a daily blog on great investment finds.

There was a time last year, when you could dump all your money into FAANG — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

And live happily ever after.

No more. FAANG is overpriced, hit by regulatory problems (FB, and GOOGL) and hence out of favor.

But tech is strong. I’m seeing companies being started to address our “new” technology-driven society — where the cloud enables new services and delivers old services, where devices are connected remotely and need to be monitored and responded to, where complex machines have to be fixed instantly (think of Salesforce for machines), and where healthcare is finally moving into the 20th century and being managed on the cloud. Finally.

Most companies are still small and not public. The closest to what I’m talking about is Twilio which helps its client  companies “talk” to their customers, using phone, text, video and WhatsApp. Amazon’s web services leads with cloud stuff. Rather than just providing storage, Amazon is also aggressively writing software which their customers can use to write useful applications for their own companies. I like two things about AWS: First anyone can get on AWS for free. Second Amazon is rushing around the world giving seminars on what’s new with AWS and how to use it. I’ve signed up for an upcoming one in New York. For more, click here.

You and I can get a good inkling of what’s happening in technology by eyeing the vast array of useful WiFi connected equipment we can install in our homes and offices.

An example: I have a couple of $70 Honeywell  Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak & Freeze Detectors:

They’ll “call” my iPhone if things go awry in my house — a temperature drop or a flood. I get an ongoing report on temperature and humidity. To do this before, I needed a full housing monitoring system and a totally unreliable, understaffed and stupid call center.

My daughter uses Nest cameras to monitor her kids. She loves the cameras (and her kids). And my son uses the SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System with Easy DIY Setup.

You can buy this bundle on Amazon for $297. Click here.

These gadgets are going to put all the home monitoring services out of business. I couldn’t be happier since ours is useless. And the only reason I have it is because it cuts down on my house insurance.

Think about all these little IoT things (Internet of Things) and how they might apply to your business and how, in coming years, you will use the services of companies like JFrog, Datos, Dust Identity and Vault.

I’ve personally been using the services of companies like WeTransfer and DocuSign, DropBox and Box. I use these services every day.

Interestingly, I threw my old fax machine out just before Christmas. Not that it didn’t work. It did. But I just never used it. Love my Fujitsu scanner.

Now to predicting the economy

Clearly you can’t predict anything. I’ve written all the goods and the bads. Skip this section if you’re bored. There’s fun stuff below.

What’s new:

Bob Prince, the co-chief investment officer at Bridgewater Associates – the world’s biggest hedge fund – told  Business Insider that while he does think an economic slowdown is in the cards, he expects it to unspool over a prolonged period.

“You’re not really likely to have a sharp, depression-type environment, 20 years of ugliness is kind of what it looks like to us.”

At the center of Prince’s slow-burn view is what he perceives as a toxic combination of populism and income inequality. He argued that it’s a deep-rooted issue that could stretch for decades — one with no quick fix.

You can read the full piece here. 

Here’s a piece from the Financial Times. Don’t click on the picture.

To read the full piece, click FTOnThe economy

Some guru suggested that it would be useful if you watched this prescient deck — published just before the 2008 downtown. Great predicting. Don’t click on the slide.

Tech stock Index funds

There are index funds and index funds. Here’s a chart showing the differences between QQQ, VGT (the Vanguard QQQ), the Nasdaq (IXIC) and the S&P 500 — the blue one on the bottom. In short, good to own a few technology index funds. My favorite: VGT.

This is called pfishing

I received it by email yesterday.

Something horrible will happen to me if I click on that link. The whole thing is a scam. Look at the sender’s weird email address:

There are millions of them. They come from Amazon, Costco, Walmart and a million other places I don’t buy from. It’s all a gigantic scam and getting worse.

FiOS does it.

We upgraded to the “new” FiOS: One big plus: The remotes are now Bluetooth. Which means you can have your cable box in a closet or another room. You don’t have to point your remote at cable box and hope it sees it.

One BIG warning. Make sure you watch everything you’ve recorded on your FiOS DVR. You lose everything when they replace the box. And there’s no way to move your programming and your recorded programs to the new box. And they don’t tell you that you’re about to lose your saved software. Be warned.

Think of it this way: The guys who carry your calls and your data — Verizon, AT&T, etc. — understand telecom, but not computers or software. Most remotes today still don’t use Bluetooth. They use line of sight (which is cheaper).

So, we now have Bluetooth, the cable boxes are in closets or in another room, and we have 100 megs up and down Internet speeds. Life is good.

It’s hard to run government

Trump signed an order to hire 15,000 new border agents two years ago. Customs and Border Protection paid $60.7 million to the consulting firm Accenture Federal Services to “recruit, vet and hire” 7,500 such officers over five years. The company has hired 33 such officers to date. [Los Angeles Times]

Sure beats the TSA.

This is the most spectacular, most dangerous, most fascinating stunt I’ve ever seen. Click on the photo.

Harry Newton, I’m optimistic about business, about technology, about rental housing, less optimistic about the stockmarket. But, if you want optimism, here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s Ross Rant:

The December panic is over, and now the market is in recovery, although we are still almost 10% off the October high of 2924. While the black swans continue to circle, the Fed has finally decided to listen to the market and likely reduce, and maybe suspend, the unwind of their balance sheet. This matters more than rates. By taking $50 billion a month, $600 billion a year, out of money in circulation, they are essentially cramming down liquidity and negatively impacting the economy as much as a tick up in rates would. Reducing money in circulation you reduce cash available for investment. If they do suspend the wind down and they suspend rate increases for most or all of 2019, as I think will happen, then there is a very good chance the stock market will continue to rise as very good earnings appear over the next few weeks. Note that applications for unemployment are at a 50 year low, and actually, on a percent of the working population they are probably at a historic low. This in spite of the shutdown, and gloom and doom predictions of a recession looming, tariffs, and all the political and economic uncertainty in the EU and China. Hiring is still strong, capital investment is still good. GDP will likely be around 3% for Q4, and the past year. GDP under Obama was 1.6% in 2016 and only 1.8% in Q1 2017 before Trump could make an impact. The economy was slowing going into 2017. Recall, 3% is the number the administration predicted back in early 2017, and the liberals, the press and Obama said was not possible. Remember when over a year ago pundits in Wall St were saying the economic boom and bull market could not last this long. They were wrong. There is nothing happening in the US economy right now which is likely to kill the growth story during 2019, now that the shutdown is at least on pause. M2 -money supply, is increasing again at a rate greater than GDP, which usually means the extra cash is used to buy assets. M2 for much of 2018 was slower than GDP growth. All major central banks are adding liquidity, or are about to, and all have stopped raising rates. All good for stocks. After the last three corrections, stocks rebounded by an average of 24%. When corrections happen, central banks add money supply, and lower PE ratios make buying stocks much more attractive.


  1. Scooter says:

    I heard on CNBC that people aren’t out of the market because they don’t want to be out of the market when a trade deal is made with China, as the upside probably will be big.

  2. Lucky says:

    How do you send to a FAX from your PC if you do not have a landline? I had to FAX a medical document to my doctor recently and wound up driving over to one medical office to FAX it to another. I suggested they get up to date with sending documents via email. After many years in the past being deeply involved with FAX machines I gave mine away long ago. Now with only a cell phone I can not send directly to a FAX machine without subscribing to a third party service. Researching for this I did fine a FREE service, have not tried it.

    • harrynewton says:

      Scan the doc. Attach it to an email and send it.
      If you don’t have a scanner, take a picture of the doc. That usually works.

      • Lucky says:

        That is what I do, however, you can not send it directly to a FAX machine without a landline…only to another computer via email. I am quite sure cell phones will not carry FAX transmissions.

    • Vah says:

      I use GreenFax

    • Scooter says:

      I was told by the my Doc’s office that FAX is secure and email isn’t, just ask Hillary who HIPPA is named after.