"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 2 July 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Money Changes Everything


[Red Herring]

It seems that the concept of

convergence has brought us much

more than the glowing future

vision of the Web as

hyper-linked network television.

Anyone exhibiting the weakest

link to the Internet industry

has become an overnight

valuation specialist and stock

market analyst. Arrogant

technophile publications have

slipped into know-it-all mode as

fast as Dilbert slipped from

pseudo-management parody to

pseudo-management text.


For years programmers,

technologists and futurists

alike had hunkered over their

CRTs, trying to divine the next

cutting edge. They were proud of

the label "early adopters" and

had the collection of $1,000

calculators to prove it. But

even a vast library of Betamax

movies couldn't prove to anyone

the fundamental rift between "a

good idea" and "a good




And while advice from Dogbert may

be more palpable than Tom

Peters' latest, anyone who

thinks that a bunch of webheads

know how Wall Street works will

be the same people watching the

"Wallace and Grommet News Hour"

on MSNBC. It's not all that

far-fetched, really. Just as

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were

able to make a healthy living as

estate planners late in their

careers, tech columnists are

quick to extend their

"credibility" to the financial

realm. All it takes is a quick

read of the latest IDG buzzword

guide and a dartboard covered

with NASDAQ quotes.


When the masses began seeing URLs

plastered on everything from

city buses to movie marquees, it

became clear who's consuming

whom. According to the Dow Jones

News Service, one of the few

industry groups in the U.S. that

is out-performing the software

sector is the securities and

brokerage industry. No wonder

every net.surf publication

suddenly fancies itself a

must-read for armchair financial



Of course, this hyperbolic growth

is not really about who's buying

the latest Internet-related

widget, it's about financial

markets. But who wants to switch

magazine subscriptions? The

chroniclers of the digital

universe throw around terms like

"business model" and "IPO" with

reckless abandon. No matter that

market forecasts were as closely

related to their core

competencies as interesting

content is to your local RBOC -

most industry mags and techie

wags have covered the boomlet

with casual glibness and

audacious straightforwardness,

working under the same kind of

assumptions that would have

Playboy reporting on breast

augmentation prices.



Few computer publications have

confessed their ignorance of the

financial markets, but all that

will change with the

announcement of the suck.com

technology fund: The Few

Investments Suck Harder index

(FISH$) will track only the

hottest, fastest-growing

Internet companies. We will

prove to the universe that our

finger is as equally comfortable

on the pulse of the financial

markets as it is left-clicking

through our favorite corporate

home pages. We want you to know

that we're not just a bunch of

Johnny-come-latelys whose only

experience with macro-level

market analysis is playing a

fast-paced game of SimCity.



We are, in fact, very educated:

some of us majored in Rhetoric

before we learned HTML! Suck has

been on the cutting edge for

years. We knew what market

capitalization meant months

before Netscape went public. We

were logged onto the Fool when

it was just a cool spot on AOL,

back when the Gardner brothers

were the Beavis and Butt-head of

personal finance instead of the

Siskel and Ebert.



No sir-ee, we're ahead of the

curve. We've had our

subscription to the Red Herring

since November! Louis Rukeyser

watch out, the Sucksters are

coming to da Street and it's not

going to be pretty. While the

fund will be initially composed

of 100% securities, we expect to

eventually branch out into all

types of gnarly derivative

offerings and corporate debt

that will accommodate only the

boldest of investors. Our

initial portfolio will consist

of $10 million spread over the

hottest, newest Internet

companies like IBM, Microsoft,

and AT&T, just to name a few. The

astounding returns that FISH$ is

expected to earn should rival

even your early-'80s portfolio

of junk bonds!


Not only are we going to put our

money where our mouth is, we're

gonna get all our investment

advice off the net. It's such a

great place to receive

investment advice, why not

capitalize on it? I mean, where

else can someone's personal

memoir become extrapolated into

sweeping industry analysis? Why,

just the other day someone

recommended that their problems

installing Windows 95 suggested

aggressive short positions for

both MSFT and 3COM. By the same

investment logic, Suck is

putting a good portion of its

money in Apple because their

computers are so, you know,

friendly and easy to use.



We admit it - we're tired of

sitting on the sidelines while

every self-proclaimed net

entrepreneur rakes it in,

kicking sand in our faces as we

wallow in self-pity like an

indie-rocker whose personal

relationship with Steven Malkmus

has been reduced to an

overpriced festival ticket.


[Smith Barney]

While some have been spending

their cash money on glossy

brochures which hype their

hype lists and discuss the

sublime philosophical

elevation of information, the

paradigm shifts, the "third

waves," and other sundry

neuromanceresque fantasies, the

evil greedy business people have

been out there ruining the free

exchange of information. And to

top it off, some of them are

making money. Well, now it's our

turn. Who knows? It's always

possible that these tech stocks

are undervalued.

courtesy of The NasQuak