Technology Investor 

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

Previous Columns
8:30 AM EST, Wednesday, October 3, 2007: "Take some money home, son. Don't leave it all in your business. You never know." My father told me that when our business was flourishing in the 1990s. We sold a little -- one magazine -- invested in real estate. And looked stupid for several years -- while that magazine flourished under its new owners. Ditto when we sold the entire publishing business in 1997. We looked as it boomed, then -- like many other publishing companies -- crashed, when the Internet took hold and moved business advertising from magazines to the Internet (and Google).

Time Warner bought a magazine called Business 2.0 in 2001 for $68 million.

Business 2.0 had around 600,000 subscribers. Its printing and mailing bill was enough to buy several small houses each month.

Time Warner is now closing the magazine down. The present October issue will be their last. $68 million has dropped into the sewer.

Our sale included eight magazines I had started. Most of them are now closed also. Over $100 million has dropped into the sewer.

What's interesting is that Time Warner refused to sell Business 2.0. And my old company's new owners refused to sell our magazines back to me. The reason? I've thought about this for years. I figured it has something to do with middle management's unwillingness to admit a mistake. Imagine -- God forbid -- that the new owner managed to make a success out of their failure! Imagine how awful their careers would look. Better to close it down and attribute the closing to "changed economic times," not their own ineptitude.

The point of all this?

1. Life is unpredictable.

2. When times are good, take a little money home and invest it in something else -- bricks and mortar, a good index fund, etc.

3. Anyone can compete with corporate giants and win. Your own business remains "the perfect investment."

Rules on partnerships: My wonderful partner of a successful 25 years, Gerry Friesen, came to the weekend wedding. It was great to see him. I love partnerships and ours was the best. There were two reasons: We had complimentary skills. We respected each others skills. We argued about things both of us knew nothing about. But things one of us knew about, we deferred. Oh, I forgot. We shared common values. He and I were scrupulously honest with each other.

Emails are not for dissing. Don't send rude emails. Write them. Get them out of your system. Then erase them. Emails are for two purposes:

1. To send compliments, flattery and general nice words. I know all the readers of this column are intelligent enough to understand the value of flattery.

2. To confirm events. "I'll see you at 2:30 PM at Sapphire."

Good idea: End emails confirming events with a question. "Is that OK?" "Does this make sense?" This way you make sure the person received your email.

Check your junk emails inbox: Outlook is the most common email client. By telling it which are safe and unsafe senders, you can train it. Theoretically. Hogwash! My rule: Eyeball all "junk" emails before erasing them. I usually find important stuff I want.

Go see The Overwhelming. The truly excellent play is about the events leading up the three-month genocide (aka ethnic cleansing) in 1994 of 800,000 Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda.

You won't be amused nor entertained. You'll leave the theater with a sense of wanting to help, but not knowing how. Profound helplessness. But you will learn how people are demonized and how genocides happen and why. Excellently acted and beautifully written -- not one superfluous word - - The Overwhelming is the best play I've see in eons. Highly recommended. At New York Laura Pels Theater at 111 West 46th Street, New York City. Buy tickets here.

This is done with Skitch. Dan Good took the photo and annotated it with his new software toy, Skitch.

Skitch adds comments, puts circles around things, highlights web site clips, etc. It's actually useful as a business/presentation tool. For more, go to Plasq.

Garmin declined again yesterday: I am not despairing. This selloff has been way overdone.

Slogans for a great selling product:
The boss of a Madison Avenue advertising agency called a spontaneous staff meeting in the middle of a particularly stressful week. The purpose of the meeting is to have a quick contest. The theme: Viagra advertising slogans. The only rule: they had to use past ad slogans, originally written for other products that captured the essence of Viagra.

After only 7 minutes, they turned in their suggestions and created The Top 10 List.

10. Viagra, Whaazzzz up!

9. Viagra, The quicker pecker picker upper

8. Viagra, like a rock!

7. Viagra! When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

6. Viagra! Be all that you can be.

5. Viagra, Reach out and touch someone.

4 Viagra , Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.

3. Viagra, Home of the whopper!

2 Viagra, We bring good things to Life!

And the unanimous number one slogan:

1. This is your peepee. This is your peepee on drugs!!!

With all the laughter and camaraderie, the rest of the week went very well for everyone!

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.
Go back.