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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

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8:30 AM Wednesday, December 7, 2005: California is about as close to Paradise as you can get. There seem to be opportunities on each street corner, ready to be scooped up by any ambitious entrepreneur or traveling investor.

It has a Gold Rush feeling -- exciting and warming the cockles of an Eastern boy (i.e. me) who left twenty degree weather only last Sunday.

I'd like to say "Yes," drink of the enthusiasm and frolic in years of high returns. Investing, sadly, isn't that easy. The ideas and the technology are stunning, the management less so. And the valuation -- well that's another story. One deal I saw yesterday raised its last monies by valuing the company at $3 1/2 million. That was last week. By the time my plane landed from the East, the valuation had doubled to $7 million. Presumably Easterners are either frivolously rich or horribly naive, or both.

I came out to eye raw land development... on which I've been lending. The good news is everyone is aware housing is cooling. The better news is that it's not cratering. Today's Wall Street Journal talks of investor interest in individual homes declining. That "business" of buying a house and "flipping" it three weeks later, without adding any value, always seemed a little flimsy to me. And now -- surprise, surprise -- it's evaporating. Read today's WSJ, click here.

But our country's population grows. People flock here. I did. We have babies. I did. There is an inexorable need for affordable entry level housing. And while it's hard to find in California, you can find it in places like Phoenix and Tucson. That's where my developers are thrusting. Thank goodness.

How to buy a TV: First rule, leave your decision until the last moment. Prices are falling and quality is improving daily. Second, sit in the store and study the sets. Nothing will serve you better than your own eye. Third, make sure your new set can display high definition TV signals. One day we'll have a lot of high def. It really is a superior signal, especially for watching sport. For more, Walt Mossberg has a piece today. Click here.

California occupations -- part 1: At Monday's party, I seek a dance from a handsome lady. Naively, I ask, "So, what do you do for a living?" She answers, "I'm looking for my fifth husband." Sadly (for her), I am happily married. We had a nice dance.

California occupations -- part 2:
Suddenly, the young boy is choking, turning blue. His father realizes the boy has swallowed a quarter and calls for help. An attractive woman in a blue business suit looks up, puts her coffee cup down, neatly folds her newspaper and gets up from her seat.

Reaching the boy, the woman pulls the boy's pants down, carefully takes hold of his testicles, and stars to squeeze, gently at first and then ever more firmly. After a few seconds the boy convulses violently and coughs up the quarter, which the woman deftly catches in her free hand. Releasing the boy, the woman hands the coin to the father and walks back to her seat.

As soon as he was sure that his son was OK, the father rushes over to the woman and thanks her profusely. "I've never seen anybody do that before. It was fantastic. Are you a doctor?"

"No," she said, "Divorce attorney."

Recent column highlights:
+ Dumb reasons we hold losing stocks. Click here.
+ How my private equity fund is doing. Click here.
+ Blackstone private equity funds. Click here.
+ Manhattan Pharmaceuticals: Click here.
+ NovaDel Biosciences appeals. Click here.
+ Hana Biosciences appeals. Click here.
+ All turned on by biotech. Click here.
+ Steve Jobs Commencement Address. The text is available: Click here. The full audio is available. Click here.
+ The March of the Penguins, an exquisite movie. Click here.
+ When to sell stocks. Click here.

Harry Newton

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. That money will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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