Reading Time: 5 minutes
Wordmark for Twitter logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What is it about Twitter? A simple question, a simple program, a complex answer – maybe even unexplainable. If you were to type “twitter” into a Wikipedia field you would find this: “Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications”. If you have a basic understanding of the World Wide Web today you probably understand words like blogging, add a micro- to the beginning and you have tiny blog posts, called Tweets. Simple, Right! What isn’t so simple is why one would ever want to broadcast short transmissions about their day-to-day activities; why would I want to ask questions, and take interest in what a total stranger is doing with their life?
Twitter has been around since 2006, it quietly gained steam at first while people figured out its potential and spread the word. Twitter grew exponentially worldwide and although it has slowed down in the last year, its user numbers are in the millions! Twitter is a tool for the 21st century speeding up the flow of information, allowing people to tap literally into the resources of the entire world. Twitter has no time zone, no deadlines; it is not bound by conventionality! We don’t have to check our favorite news websites to know when a story has “dropped” anymore, no more one sentence emails either – Send a Tweet! Web 2.0 is about life, interaction and feeling like the impossible is possible; the World Wide Web is alive and constantly expanding, now it even has a voice.
Can anyone explain why Twitter has been so successful in such a short period of time? Maybe not, but I do know that in general people want to feel like they have a voice; now, everyone can guarantee an audience, hopefully a full house. The fact that Bill Gates signed on board yesterday says a lot. In eight hours he had over a 100,000 followers!
Reading Time: 6 minutes
I am sitting at my desk right now. It is Saturday 6:51AM and the view from my Tucson home office is pretty spectacular. The doves are nesting in the porch eves, the hummingbirds are fluttering around the blooming ocotillo and the prickly pear are preparing to bloom. As a write, a little bunny just walked up on to the porch enjoying the early morning weather. This week the Tucson desert around our home has been particularly beautiful and I thought I would tell you about three ways to enjoy the living desert.
I don’t want any of you to worry that my hints are going to cause you to do anything too strenuous. In fact you don’t even have to physically be in the desert to enjoy the living desert. And remember, this is Judy writing today. I gave up hiking, backpacking, camping, and bicycling a long time ago. So here we go…
1. Rent or buy a copy of Walt Disney’s The Living Desert. This film was released in November 1953! Yes, I know that is over 55 years ago, but it won the academy award in 1954 for best documentary and if you have never seen it, then you are in for a surprise. There was a time that I offered a You Tube video clip from the movie that deals with the cute ground squirrels; however, as is often the case the video has been disabled. Here you can visit a Walt Disney site and view the limited trailer. My parents took my sisters and me to see this movie in 1954 and I have never forgotten the beauty of the blooming cactus.
2. If you live in a desert environment, particularly around Tucson, AZ, then just take a walk in your neighborhood. It is spring time in the desert and for the next few months the cactus will take turns producing beautiful flowers and fruit. Just yesterday I was retrieving my neighbor’s mail and I had to stand back and wonder at the simple beauty of the living desert. And if you really think that a desert tortoise is just to be seen in the movies, here is a photo that Dan took last summer in Gates Pass a few miles from our home in Tucson..
3. For those of you who can not rent or buy the Living Desert and do not live in the desert, I invite you to watch my slide show of a RED TORCH CACTUS. This cactus is located outside my bedroom and Daniel decided to chronicle the blooming process. These photos were taken over the course of 24 hours. And you should know the flowers really are only in full bloom for one day! (I created this slide show using Googles’ Picasa Web Albums.)
So I will sign off for the day, more living desert for me to see, sans snakes!
P.S. If for some reason my slide show is really not of a Red Torch Cactus, I hope one of my readers will correct me.
Reading Time: 5 minutes
One school of thought is that investors should be well diversified. If one investment goes down, then another may go up and things balance out. One tenet of those that preach diversification is that no one can predict movements in individual stocks or sectors, so diversify and reduce your risk. Those that preach diversification also generally think that the at any one time the market is right and future changes are unpredictable. Another concept, which may be a little tough to grasp, is that throughout history a “valuation” of the world has gone up, except perhaps for the Middle Ages. With technological advances one expects the world to get more valuable.
However most who have made great fortunes did little diversification. Suppose Bill Gates had said to himself, when his Microsoft stock was first worth $100,000 had probably represented a large portion o f his net worth, “Gee its crazy to have so much of my net worth in one company, I should sell 99% of it and put the rest in a mutual fund.” And did that repeatedly. You do not read about investors who made fortunes by diversifying, but rather because they made it “oil” or “real estate” or Microsoft. Even Warren Buffet keeps his holdings rather small.
Investors who do not diversify think that they with their brains and hard work can outperform the market over time. They think that the best you can hope for when you diversify well is to get “average” returns and so if they are smarter than average and work harder than average then they should exceed those returns.
The safety aspect of diversification can not be denied. We rarely read about those that had all of net worth in Enron and saw it vanish, or Lehman Brothers etc. Unfortunately there are people who were in that boat.
Diversification has a cost. You either need to pay someone to diversify for you, ie a mutual fund, or you need to pay the transaction costs of buying multiple assets. It took $100 to buy our Fortune Magazine group of 10 stocks but only $30 to buy 3 mutual funds. If you only had $100 then the commissions would have precluded buying the Fortune Magazine group. If you had $100,000 then the commissions would have been a much lower percentage of your assets.
If you think you are really good, then research the 10 companies on the Fortune list, pick 1 or 2, and see how you do against the portfolios.