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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 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 wedding.

The 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.

God 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 Good.

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:

1. Curiosity. 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.

2. Openness. 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.

3. Honesty. 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.

5. Nuttiness. 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.

7. Finally, 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.

Diversification's 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:

1. Cars work much better, so it's harder to impress with great service.

2. 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.

The 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 calling.

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:

Shorting dying 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.

The 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."

There'll 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.

How 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' Ethanol’s Boom Stalling as Glut Depresses Price. (The New York Times website is now free. So you should have no trouble reading this link.)

Irish drinking
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."

Paddy replies "OK Mick, I'll be on my way then". Paddy spins around on his stool and steps off. He falls flat on his face.

"What the...." 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.

"Bi'Jesus... 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?"

"Mick called. 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.
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