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

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9:00 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?

Michael got 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.

Three hours later I sent Michael an email, "Before the train leaves the station, it’s 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 investors."

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.

The 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 in technology.

My 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, etc.

You'll need 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.

The dull side of the recession. There's a site called ChartOfTheDay. From today's site:

While the 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.

Guess what this thing fetched on the weekend?

The "pontoon-fender" 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.

The 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, who responded:

" Rome? 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?"

"We're taking Continental," was the reply. "We got a great rate!"

"Continental?" 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 ?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome 's Tiber River called Tereste."

"Don't go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks its gonna be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump.."

"We're going to go to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope."

"That's 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 .

"It was 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!"

"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you didn't get to see the Pope."

"Actually, 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.

Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."

"Oh, really! 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, click here and here.