Technology Investor 

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 Thursday, January 26 2006: "You have to learn to be patient," Glenn Hutchins, Silver Lake Partners, told CNBC this morning. "All I have to do to is to find one big deal a year." This philosophy of infinite patience has been hard for me to learn. My background is a publishing -- daily, weekly, monthly deadlines. I revel in deadlines. Patience is to be dead. I'm learning.

Buying what you admire: This investment philosophy is simple. You keep your eyes open and always ask yourself questions: "Am I impressed with this company? Am I getting good service? Is this company doing something unique? Am I recommending its products and services to my friends? Is the stock still small enough to grow?" You won't instantly fill a portfolio. But if you ask these questions every day, you will eventually fill a portfolio with very neat stocks. It's how I found Whole Foods (WFMI) and how I recently found VistaPrint (VPRT). Companies I'm a happy customer of usually do better than those I don't I do business with. Peter Lynch discovered the same thing.

How to relate to the stocks I write about: I mentioned GigaMedia (GIGM) here. A reader bought it and called yesterday to say "Thank you."

That's the key to reading this column, to listening to Cramer, to listening to your friends. Grab the ideas. Do a little fast due diligence. Look at financials. The Journal has a quick hit. Look at the "buzz" on bulletin boards. Raging Bull (click here) can be useful. I like setting a Google Alert on a company. The more emailed Google Alerts I get, the hotter the stock.

Not sure I understand GM: The company will lose $5 billion in 2005. Its share of the US market is down to 26%, the lowest in 80 years. GM's debt rating has been cut, again. It's now junk. The company hasn't done a single logical thing Kerkorian wants -- cutting dividend, cutting exec salaries, etc. Yet -- on the basis of recently cutting its car prices (again) its stock has climbed. This makes zero sense. GM is now an even better short. This thing belongs around $15.

Why I live in New York:

Katsia Damenkova of Belarus, center, winner of last week's 2005 Ford Supermodel of the World contest, poses with 3rd place winner Charo Ronquillo of the Philippines, left, and 2nd place winner Bojana Reijic of Canada. The festivities were held at Skylight Studios in New York's Tribeca, where guests were greeted by the sight of oversized black-and-white photos of each of the 39 contestants, who hail from 39 different countries - from Albania to Kazakhstan to Slovenia to the Ukraine.

First prize was a $250,000 one-year modeling contract. Second prize was $150,000. Third was $100,000. There were three $50,000 runner up awards (for Annika Vohta from Estonia, Rosanne Doosje from the Netherlands and Chanel Iman from the US).

"I'm really excited!" one winner said. "My shoes didn't fit so it was really hard for me to walk."

The big winner, Katsia Damenkova is 17. She could be your granddaughter. That you should be so lucky.

All I ever learned about Windows PCs: Macs works better and easier than Windows PCs. If you want relative headache-free computing, get a Mac. End of story.

If you're stuck with a PC then you'd better learn how to take care of it. Keys:
1. Install only what you need. Don't install "cool" software. Windows machines eventually grind to a halt under the weight of superfluous software.
2. Remove all superfluous software that came with your machine. All makers -- Dell, Toshiba, IBM -- add software you don't need.
3. Stop most software that loads on startup. Do this through msconfig.exe. You don't want Messenger starting if you never use it.
4. Delete all entries in the Windows/prefetch directory. You don't need them. Windows will eventually put them all back. Then you'll delete them again.
5. Remove all entries in Windows/temp.
6. Get Windows to error check your hard drive. Open my computer. Right click on your C: drive. Left click on properties. Go to the tab tools. Left click on error checking. When that finishes...
7. Go to the same place and defragment your hard drive. Here's what mine looked like yesterday -- before and after. It runs faster now.

8. Back all the work up on your on hard drive to another drive that only has files -- no software.
9. Clone your present drive. So, when it fails (which it will) you can
simply swap in the new one and keep on working.
10. Throw out your present c: hard drive every six months -- whether it's still working or not.

5 Best Customer Service Tips My friend Steve Coscia has been teaching the obvious for 20 years. Sadly, most people get it wrong. Here's his best five customer service tips:

1) Convey common courtesy in every interaction – it’s free. The smile doesn’t cost a penny and if you include the words, “please” and “thank you” you will differentiate yourself from most other service professionals. If you go a step further and say “may I” instead of “can I” then you will be perceived as world class.

2) Share just enough information with customers, but do not editorialize. A phrase such as: “We are getting lots of complaints this month” is too much information. This does not help your company’s image.

3) When a customer complains, fix the problem, not the customer’s behavior. Practicing restraint helps to contain problems, but succumbing to retaliation only exacerbates things. Be empathetic, use active listening techniques and write down the details.

4) When leaving voice mail messages for customers, introduce yourself, slow down your pace of speech by 25% and say your phone number twice. Customers will appreciate your extra effort and you will stand out as a service star.

5) Over the phone, clarify similar sounding consonants such as “S & F” and “N & M” because they sound identical when transmitted over the telephone. Doing this will help avert silly errors and miscommunication.

Old people joke -1
Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.
A few days later the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Morris and said, "You're really doing great, aren't you?"
Morris replied, "Just doing what you said, Doc. 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.'"
The doctor said, "I didn't say that. I said, 'You've got a heart murmur. Be careful.'"

Old people joke -2
A little old man shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlor and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool. After catching his breath,
he ordered a banana split.
The waitress asked kindly, "Crushed nuts?"
"No," he replied, "arthritis."

The Australian Tennis Open
The tennis from Australia gets better each day. Last night's matches were totally incredible. This 16-hour time difference between us and Australia is killing my sleep.

The Australian Tennis Open TV Schedule
January 26
Men's Semifinals
January 26
Men's Semifinals
January 26
Men's Semifinals
January 27
Men's Semis/Women's Finals
January 27
Men's Semis/Women's Finals
January 27
Men's Semis/Women's Finals
January 27
Men's Semis/Women's Sinals
January 29
Men's Finals
January 29
Men's Finals

Recent column highlights:
+ Munich, the movie. A must-see. Click here.
+ Identity Theft precautions. Click here.
+ 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. 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.
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