Taking Stock: Looking Ahead And Looking Back - InformationWeek

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Commentary
12/28/2004
11:20 PM
William Schaff
William Schaff
Commentary
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Taking Stock: Looking Ahead And Looking Back

My resolution: Spend more time with friends and family this year.

It's a new year. The champagne has been poured; the hangovers have almost worn off. And like most people, I've made some resolutions for the upcoming year.

My faithful readers should note that I'm not making any impossible resolutions--after all, I'm a realist. No resolutions about losing 10 more pounds this year or exercising more. My resolutions are simpler. First, I'm going to spend more time with my family. This is a resolution most of us make, but somehow we always get busier throughout the year. I plan to change that. Second, I'm spending more time with my close friends. Time is the most valuable gift we give to our friends, and I know I'm not getting any younger. And my third and final resolution is the one I know I can keep in order to achieve my first two resolutions: I'm stepping down as the financial columnist for InformationWeek.

This was a very painful decision, as it feels like I've been a part of CMP Media's InformationWeek for most of my adult life. Yes, yes--I know I achieved maturity at the early age of 40, but I had some growing up to do. I've lived through the ups and downs of the technology cycle more than a few times along with my many experienced readers. We went through the early evolution of technology in the early 1990s up through the exuberance of the late '90s together. And now we're back to the reality that followed. I've made many calls--some right, some wrong. On the wrong calls, most readers have been very forgiving, and I appreciate that. I've received great feedback from many readers. Some questioned my sanity, but most appreciated the fact that I gave it my best, right or wrong. To all of you, thank you for your support.

I have gone through many great editors at InformationWeek, more than one of whom wondered whether I had actually taken English in high school and college (I showed them my transcripts). All are close to sainthood now, and I salute them, as they are the unsung heroes that made my articles sound reasonable throughout the years.

The reason my departure is so hard is that the editors and staff at InformationWeek have become my friends. Over all my years, I've had a few great constants within InformationWeek: wonderful people such as Bob Evans, Mike Friedenberg, and Stephanie Stahl. The magazine wouldn't be the same without them.

I have a few parting pearls of wisdom for you. If the valuation of an investment seems ridiculous, it probably is, and there are many other alternatives. Don't invest on rumors and hearsay--you have a high probability of losing money. Don't let emotions (fear and greed) guide your investment choices. Always remember how hard you work for your savings, so don't be quick to give your money away. Remember that technology is only one small sector of a large equity market; it isn't an asset class by itself. And most important, make a sound long-term portfolio strategy and stick to your plan through up and down markets.

To all of you, thanks for the memories. For those still crazy enough to keep in touch, you can reach me at my personal E-mail address at [email protected]

William Schaff is chief investment officer at Bay Isle Financial LLC, which manages the InformationWeek 100 Stock Index. Reach him at [email protected]. This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any security. Bay Isle has no affiliation with, nor does it receive compensation from, any of the companies mentioned above. Bay Isle's current client portfolios may own publicly traded securities in one or more of these companies at any given time.


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