Friday, September 21, 2007

Stock Market Info-What You Must Know Before Investing In The Market

Many people today want to learn how to invest their money. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bogus stock market info out there when it comes to investing. The bottom line question you need to ask yourself is this: is stock market investing right for you?

The answer to this is different for everybody. For instance, many people simply dont want to take the time to educate themselves about investing outside of work. Yes, learning about investing does take some effort However, the rewards of financial freedom and prosperity you will gain down the road are well worth the effort.

However, if you are like many people who dont know anything about investing, and dont want to know anything about investing, then certainly making your own investment decisions can be financial suicide. At the very least, put it in a mutual fund with a proven record of performance.

You see, its uneducated investors who not only ruin their own financial futures, but also cause the market crashes so prevalent today. Often times, an uninformed investor will look at factors that really have nothing to do with their companies performance. Since they cant read a balance sheet or a financial statement, they have no way of determining the overall health of the company they are investing in.

Therefore, whenever any bad news about the economy comes out, they immediately sell, even if that news has little to no effect on their company. When thousands of investors do the same, the result is a market crash similar to the Great Depression and at other times. Some simple education on reading stock market info could have prevented this catastrophe.

The bottom line is this: learn the stock market terminology, educate yourself about the company or companies you will be investing in, and be able to read a financial statement.

If you do plan on getting into the exciting, highly lucrative (yet risk) world of investing, be absolutely sure you know what youre doing. Dont ever invest without knowing how to read companies financial statement and determine their profitability and future growth potential.

Only once you have this understanding should you even consider putting your money into the market. Remember: if you do take the time to learn and understand the market, the sky is the limit for you as far as wealth. Hopefully this stock market info will help you achieve financial success with your investments.

For more info on how to buy stocks, and tips for investing in the stock market, visit, a popular site that teaches how to make a fortune from your investments.

Investing- How Political Risk Affect Your Investments

Recent articles have discussed the importance of investing overseas. Political risk applies to both developed and undeveloped countries. It is important to consider the political risk associated with those investments and the effect that risk can have on your portfolio.

From an investment portfolio perspective, unexpected changes in actions and policies taken by a countrys leaders can greatly impact that countrys financial markets. Nowadays, the actions taken in one country will often reverberate through other financial markets around the world. This risk is referred to as political risk.

For instance, the press reports that a Chinese government official raises concerns over how high and fast stock prices have risen. Traders around the world speculate that the Chinese government may take action to control the market. Chinas stock market has a massive sell-off, erasing 10% of its value in one day.

That speculation then reverberates through the worlds financial markets. The major U.S. stock markets decline 3% in one day. At one point during the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops over 150 points in one minute. The average investor loses thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars in one day.

But it doesnt stop there. The worldwide market correction causes investors to reassess the amount of risk in their portfolios. They are concerned and take action to reduce their exposure. So the markets dont just drop one day, but a down-cycle lasting weeks or months develops.

There are many other examples that I can give. There is a coup in Thailand, which affects foreign investors. Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, announces the government is taking control over various industries with substantial foreign ownership. Stocks of companies with investments in Venezuela are immediately affected.

Political changes are a risk to a portfolio, but they can also be an opportunity. Having the foresight to anticipate political changes and the effects it will have on a country will allow you to buy in before everyone else does.

For instance, countries issue bonds just like companies do. The interest rate paid on those bonds (how the bonds are priced) depends on the financial and political stability of the country. Several years ago, Brazil was in serious financial trouble. Its bonds paid a very high interest rate to reflect that risk.

The government took steps to improve the financial condition. It changed tax policies and opened markets to foreign investment. As those policies took effect, the country became more stable. As the risk associated with owning Brazilian bonds decreases, so does the interest rate those bonds pay. If you purchased one of the bonds when it was paying the high interest rate and sold it after the country became more stable you would have made a handsome profit.

For years, most industries in China were government owned and controlled. Foreign investment was restricted and there wasnt a viable means of trading stocks. In the past several years China has made it easier for foreigners to invest. It has also been privatizing government owned companies. That process is still in the early stages. Although there continues to be significant risks associated with investing in China, there are also great potential rewards.

Remember that there is a trade-off between risk and reward. An investors goal should not be to avoid all political risk. If you do, you will have to settle for lower returns. Lower returns mean you will have to save more to provide for retirement. Lower returns mean that you may not get the income from your portfolio that you need to live on during retirement.

Instead, there are two things that you need to do. First, understand that political risk exists. Even if you only invest in U. S. stocks and bonds, your portfolio will still be impacted by the actions of political leaders around the world.

Second, try to identify the political risks associated with the investments you own. The risk associated with equity investment in emerging market economies is different than those of developed countries. The risk associated with bond investments is different from those of equity investments.

Third, take steps to manage that risk. Alter your investment strategy. Broadly diversify your portfolio to reduce country-specific risk. Utilize both stocks and bonds. And have an exit strategy in place in case something unexpected occurs.

Nationally-syndicated financial columnist and Certified Financial Planner Jeffrey Voudrie provides personal, in-depth money management services and advice to select private clients throughout the USA. Hell answer your financial question FREE at

Nagymama's Hungarian Chicken Soup for Your Family's Soul

OK. I promised you my Hungarian chicken soup recipe. Being that we are suffering from an arctic blast, with wind chills in the negative 15 to 25 degrees, it seems that a wonderful pot of simmering chicken soup is the perfect anecdote for the bone-chilling days were experiencing in many parts of the country. Here is the way I remember Nagymama, my Hungarian grandmother, making it. Ive carried on her tradition by making it this way for my own family as well:

Fill up your stock pot about two-thirds of the way with water. No need to measure; just fill it so that theres enough room to add all of the following ingredients. (two-thirds should be just about perfect.)

Rinse your chicken with cold water and add it to the pot. Use either a whole cut-up chicken with the insides removed or three to four split breasts, with skin. Season the pot with ground kosher salt and pepper. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil.

When it boils, remove the lid, reduce the temperature to a roaring simmer, and once you get the boiling under control, partially cover again. Cook at this temperature for around 30-45 minutes, until the chicken is tender when poked with a fork.

Turn off heat and remove the scum from the top of the pot. Then remove all chicken from pot. De-skin, de-bone, cut into bite-size pieces and put it back into the pot. Add peeled carrots (the authentic Hungarian way is to add them whole, not cut up), diced celery (again, add whole stalks if you want to be authentic) and quartered peeled medium size onions. Check your seasonings, now adding genuine, sweet Hungarian paprika (I also add a healthy does of thyme, although Nagymama never did!) Simmer on low heat for at least a couple of hours, until the flavors have a chance to mingle. (You can also let it simmer all night long on the lowest possible heat, removing it from the stove first thing in the morning.)

Right before youre ready to serve it, add thin egg noodles right to the pot, turning up the heat so that they cook through (about eight minutes.) Enjoy!

Nagymama always served this with homemade bread and pure butter. A European pastry was also served, as was a good cup of after-dinner coffee or tea.

Fewer aromas fill up your home better. Fewer memories of your childrens home could be stronger than the ones this will create. Try to keep a pot of this going for the rest of the winter. I am trying to do the same

Carolina Fernandez earned an M.B.A. and worked at IBM and as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch before coming home to work as a wife and mother of four. She totally re-invented herself along the way. Strong convictions were born about the role of the arts in child development; ten years of homeschooling and raising four kids provide fertile soil for devising creative parenting strategies. These are played out in ROCKET MOM! 7 Strategies To Blast You Into Brilliance. It is widely available online, in bookstores or through 888-476-2493. She writes extensively for a variety of parenting resources and teaches other moms via seminars, workshops, keynotes and monthly meetings of the ROCKET MOM SOCIETY, a sisterhood group she launched to encourage, equip and empower moms for excellence. Please visit

Adding Business Value: How do you Add Value in your Business?

When owners of small businesses want me to coach them to grow and expand their business, I often find that they are have reached a ceiling in selling their goods (products and services) and have run out of ideas for moving forward.

As I talk to them about how they currently add value to their customers' lives and to their company's assets, I find that few of them actually understand what value is. Memorably, Warren Buffett (CEO of Hathaway) said in 1999, "Price is what you pay when you buy an asset, value is what you receive for your money".

Revenue - Cost = Value added

Accountants say that value is the residue left when costs are subtracted from revenues. As a simple equation, this hides more meaning than it reveals.

In greater detail, successful business leaders recognise that after the clients cash has moved into their bank account, and they have paid for the materials that they used, there is money left over and this added value represents a growth in their business assets.

Types of value - with examples

At a deeper level, I see there are four types of business activities that affect value:

1. Value Transfer is when I pay for your products or services - including access rights, knowledge, expertise or personal advice. In the transfer, we transfer equivalent values of goods and money so there is no overall growth.

2. Value Increase arises when I pay for something that is cost-less for you - possibly service brochures, product lists, serving suggestions, residual materials or by-products. In this transaction, you offer goods that have a low or nil cost to you and I pay money for them.

3. Value Creation occurs when I pay for your novel idea - such as packaging complementary products, putting current goods to more uses or identifying different consumption models. Here your ideas create a wholely new arrangement of products and services and I am willing to pay for the resultant intangible (productivity, beauty, entertainment, progress, fashion etc).

4. Trading is where we bargain so we both add value - perhaps through relationships, networking or referrals. The trader buys plentiful goods and takes them to where they are scarce and swaps them for goods that are plentiful there. Then the trader carries these goods to trade where they too are scarce. The value arises from the sequence of trades.

Further practical ideas

Applying these ideas to your business, ask yourself:

  • Beyond your main products and services, what other goods might your customer buy that would improve their use of their purchases?
  • Given that the by-products and waste from your production processes can often attract a

    disposal cost, how could you package them or further process them so that people would pay for them?

  • Where do you have static stock (and dead money) which you could liquidate and turn into


  • Which of your buildings and machines are partially used and how could you rent them out (or sell them off)?
  • Which processes produce waste and how could you adjust your materials and processes to

    avoid this shrinkage in value?

  • Where could you train your staff and where can you invest in product design and production processes to create new opportunities in your market?
  • What intellectual assets (such as designs, patents, staff suggestions) have you that are

    dormant and unused?

As I work with my clients, my 'outside pair of eyes' helps them recognise an abundance of assets that they had previously ignored. Then they can set to work in adding more value to their sales and to their customers lives.

Adrian Pepper coaches people through business and personal difficulties, helping companies figure out what to do, how to move forward and what to get organised. You can contact him through Help4You Ltd, through his website at or by phone +44-7773-380133. At, you can listen to his podcast for small businesses.

Day Trading For A Living

Every person that is considering trading in the stock market considers day trading. It is inherent to the game of investing to want to play with the Big Boys by day trading. It can be an expensive game to learn, and for some people, it will forever be a losing game.

Part of the problem with day trading, is getting information soon enough to make a decision. Another problem, is trying to scalp small percentage points like you see the analysts on TV doing. If you have a big enough bank account, and have access to really fast equipment, you might be able to pull this one off. My recommendation, leave it for the big boys who pay the big bucks to have a seat on the board of trade, as a small investor, you are never going to beat them at their game.

However, the biggest single problem facing a novice day trader is simply pulling the trigger. Most novice traders suffer from paralysis of analysis, they are trying to find the perfect time to get in or get out. There is no perfect time, you just have to make the best you can with what you got.

One of the saddest things that can happen, is for a trader to know deep in his heart that a trade has gone bad, but doesnt want to take the loss. He will sit there, holding a losing trade, knowing he should sell, but he just cant force himself to take the loss. Until he sells, it is just a paper loss, not a real loss, and the trade may turn around. When he sells, it becomes a permanent, real loss. However, while he is hesitating, his position is losing ground and when trading options, they can end up completely worthless.

This is where having a good mechanical trading system will come in handy; it helps to eliminate the emotion from trading. A good mechanical system will have a set point to enter the trade, and a set point to exit the trade. As long as the trader remembers, and uses, the rules of his system, the odds of winning on a trade greatly increase. More importantly, the odds of having a devastating loss are greatly decreased.

To find what trading system works best for you, use paper trading until you completely understand what the rules are, where you should enter the trade, where you should exit the trade. Learn where to place the trailing stops to minimize loses. Dont be afraid that the time spent paper trading is time lost in the market. One thing you can be assured of, there will always be another trade coming along.

John Marston is a self taught trader who has traded online for over 15 years from his home in California. You can go to his website at which has a wealth of information about various trading strategies. You can also read his Blog which describes some of his personal trading strategies.

How To Control Fear And Greed In Trading

There is an old saying that the market is driven by fear and greed. Anyone that has placed more than a couple of trades will surely have experienced these two emotions.

All traders experience emotion. The distinction between a successful trader and an unsuccessful trader comes down to how they deal with that emotion. Let's look at how these emotions affect a successful trader and an unsuccessful trader in various scenarios:

1. The trader's three previous trades have been losers. The unsuccessful trader will consider this before placing his next trade and be fearful that this trade will also end up a loser. This might result in a delay in placing the trade whilst waiting for the price to confirm that they were right - thus missing a perfectly good entry. They might suddenly discover that some other factor, previously unconsidered, is a reason not to enter the trade at all. Basically they will be fearful of another loss.

The successful trader will have tested their strategy extensively and will be aware that a series of losing trades is very probable. They will also measure their success on whether they place the trade according to their system rather than whether it is purely a winner or a loser. They trust their system and place the trade when the set-up occurs. The fear is removed from the trade because they know that several losers in a row is to be expected.

2. Once a trade is entered it immediately moves against the trader. The unsuccessful trader will fear that they have made a mistake. They fear making another loss so they wait and hope that the market moves back in their favour. The fear of taking another loss now controls their trading decisions, they might move their stop further out so the market doesn't take them out for a loss. They might ignore the trade, hoping that it will get back to at least breakeven - the daytrade becomes a position trade of a few days and then it becomes a long term 'buy and hold' strategy.

The successful trader, of course, will know from extensive testing of his system that such trades happen and that the trade might come round or it might hit the stop. His stop is in place and it will remain in place - the system dictates where the stop is, not the trader's fears.

3. Once a trade is entered it immediately moves strongly in the traders favour. The unsuccessful trader will suddenly see a villa in the sun or a new sports car flashing before his eyes. This trade is going to the moon so he removes his price target and decides to let it go. Greed has now completely taken over his trading decisions and the previous plan (if any) is ignored. Of course, markets rarely move in one direction for long and when the market turns the greed turns to fear as the dream slips away and the trader tries to hold on until the price gets back to where it was. The daytrade becomes a position trade...

The successful trader has set a target, either a certain price or a timed exit and will stick to it. If the trade only takes 5 minutes then that's just great, there's plenty that won't.

Fear and greed are human emotions - we can't do anything about that. But, when it comes to trading we need a way to control those emotions. Here's a few tips:

1. Know your system. If you have confidence in your system this helps to override those feelings of fear and greed. Confidence can only come from designing and extensively testing your own ideas. You can never be fully confident when you rely on someone else's tips or signals.

2. Automate your system. Computers do not suffer from fear and greed, they won't hold onto a loser praying for a miracle or screaming at the screen that the market is wrong - they'll just cut it if that is what the system says to do.

3. Money management. Quite simply, no matter how good your system you must only risk a sensible amount - and always money you can afford to lose.

Tim Wreford runs Online Futures Trading, a website that provides information and resources for traders. Tim also provides a free day trading system, the results of which are updated daily on the site.

Saifun -- Is It The Little Flash Company That Could?


Do you think the market for smart phones, digital audio (MP3) players, consumer solid state drives (SSDs), portable media players, digital video cameras, GPS devices, multimedia and music handsets, memory cards and USB flash drives are growing? All these products provided a disruptive position taking away market share from their predecessors.

One market segment that could see even stronger growth than these separate products we mentioned, and include other growth products, is the flash memory market. Flash is a root component used in all the above products and more.

Based on history we are forecasting that flash is the memory medium of choice for a plethora of devices in the consumer electronics in wireless devices and that flash will grow faster than the wireless devise market. It appears that in the past, memory for computing devices has grown faster than the device that utilizes the memory. Memory of the Personal Computer (PC) and the Internet has grown faster than their supporting platform. With the PC creating tremendous growth and history as our guide the demand for both memory and disc drives for the personal computer was often the impetus of many upgrade cycles. The Internet with the many millions of new web pages created a tremendous growth in storage. Ive seen in many reports that forecasted storage of the internet has been one of the fastest growing subsets of the internet as a whole.

With a decrease in price per gigabyte (GB) of more than 80 percent over the past three years and with the high growth in wireless data the need for new and addition memory could exceed the growth of the hardware device market that uses flash for its memory. The current market in flash memory is about $25 billion annually and its forecast is about 40 billion by 2010.

With each new product cycle the advantages of flash have become more disruptive allowing it to become about 30-40% cheaper every year. Many experts are forecasting this disruptive curve to replace the disc drive market for PCs. Flash has already replaced hard drives in most MP3 players.

Currently the flash memory is designed to support two types of flash memory. One type of memory supports your machines internal usage or operating system, the other type is for more external storage needs. The internal memory often uses the architecture of NOR, which has been established for years and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) considered by many as the market leader. The NOR technology is a more complex technology and is starting to see the market mature.

Often you will find both NOR and NAND in the same mobile device.

The much faster growing market is for external memory market needs or NAND and the one of the leaders is SanDisk. SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK), founded and managed by president and CEO Dr. Eli Harari. SanDisk and Toshiba jointly launched the multi-level cell (MLC). This technology made it possible to divide the cell and store two bits of data on the same piece of silicon (x2, as it were), which significantly improved the profitability of manufacturers and fabs, basically doubling the price performance curve.

This process has become the leader and allowed NAND MLC to become disruptive to the predecessor NOR architecture and in 18 months penetration has been so great that MLC is becoming dominate force in flash.

We believe that this new curve of double captivity on a single cell technology will become the single most important factor for next generation flash memory, and it will become essential as flash is staring to see possible limits in the reduction of its die size as many experts are starting their forecasting. If flash is going to continue on its curve of lowering the price of a gigabyte by 80% over the next three years, it is my opinion they will need an architecture thats designed specifically to establish this goal. There is a proprietary NROM architecture that has many advantages toward increasing capacity of bits per cell. The NROM is close to production of 4 bits of memory in each cell or quad flash.

The company we believe has a unique position and leads the NROM approach in the flash memory market is an Israeli based company called Saifun (NASDAQ:SFUN).

Saifun is an intellectual properties company which its revenues come in three forms: licenses, royalties and support. This type of model has been very successes for our model portfolios in the past. The three previous companies that had core business from intellectual property we investment into our portfolios were Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) in1997 at 3.31 per share and still holds a position. Arm Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMHY) in 9/29/1999 @ 9.60 and holds half a position and Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS) in 1998 which appreciated about 350% in 2000 and we sold the position in the model portfolio when Intel stopped supporting the Rambus architecture late and 2000 and in 2001.

Even though it is very early is Saifun publicly traded history we are excited by its new form of flash memory architecture, it appears that Saifuns approach has many advantages over the more established NAND and especially NOR. The single most important part is their technology curve. They have the ability to double the bits per cell allowing for a second compounding curve. The other architecture they are working hard on is to shrink their size and increase density, but we believe that Saifun with its simpler model should achieve a smaller die than the others but the real advantages with Saifun is the ability to allow 4 bits of memory in every piece of silicon (x4). Doubling again the events of MLC while at the same time reducing their size thus possibly leading the new flash architecture. Another advantage is NROMs ability to work both as an operating system and memory component being able to supply both markets that individually NOR and/or NAND has target.

A second company has just announced that in 2007 they will start producing a 4 bit cell in NAND. The company making this announcement is M-Systems (NASDAQ: FLSH). They claim they will have a product on the market some time in 2007. Even though they have achieved this tremendous breakthrough we believe that because they use the whole cell instead of a fraction of the cell for this doubling process, the whole cells ability to double again may become geometrically tougher. On the last review M-Systems has not explained their business model to (make at own fabs or licenses) and delayed the secondary offering.

It is has been our opinion that companies that form successful royalty models resemble gutters and the fab companies have the appearance like shingles when looking at a roof. When it rains the gutter can create a stronger stream receiving income and achieve a much higher level of profitability. The delay of M-Systems secondary offing might reduce the chance of more fab developments.

Either way this looks like a marathon race and since this is such a very large market it will be about a $40 billion market when quad flash is widely available, that means that any of the top three or four should benefit.

Saifun already competes extremely well with NOR but early 2007 when it doubles the number of bits from 2 bits to 4 per cell it should be able to show advantages over MCL NAND currently the price performance leader. Saifun has a chance of repeating the same step that, in our opinion, allowed SanDisk to lead the last cycle.

There are many new technologies looking to replace flash but at this point there are a few that are close to achieving mainstream volumes. You should know the Saifun technology hibernated for about twenty years. This is very common, the Internet incubated for about 30 years and electricity for 100 years. New technologies often hibernate longer than people anticipate, and then it seems that they often almost explode onto the seen very quickly.

Even though Saifuns approach is about 20 years old, the technology they have just started to achieve is commercial feasibility.

The true advantage is since they only use points in the cell versus in the more convention approach such as NOR or NAND that uses the whole cell. This simpler usage allows for higher data retention and also provides a faster response time, and hopefully more density, and less power.

This is a tremendous advantage having 4 times the bits in competitive cells. Saifun also believe future that future cells could expand to possible to 8 or even 16 bits per silicon.

Possible risk

Saifun only has a handful of clients, if they loose Infineon Technologies (NYSE:IFX) Saifun largest client, they would impact their business tremendously. On a side note, it looks like it will pick up UMC out of Taiwan.

Saifun has basically signed many very large vendors like Sony (NYSE:sne) and Spansion (NASDAQ:SPSN) a spin off Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) / Fujitsu (pink sheets) these based solely on the flash market are small in the market, since the production volume is small this could make it harder to be designed into leading volume products.

Even though we believe NROM offers a simpler cell structure with several layers, we believe it will be easy over time to reduce or migrate to a smaller form factor, but this has not been completed in high volume production. If and/or until they can compete in a smaller form factor this company will be, based on unit size, be at a significant disadvantage. Experts believe in 2007 this disadvantage should be at most minimal and Saifun believes in late cycles this will be come a true advantage.

To summarize

1) If Saifun continues to lead the flash market with more bits per cell with NROM flash architecture.

2) If Saifun if achieves the forecasting of smaller die than comparable flash.

If Saifun achieve either of these goals it could become an architecture leader in the flash memory market. If they are able to achieve both they would attain a real architecture leadership position.

According to several of our monopoly theories, available at the stock market value of the companies that lead architecture often grow faster than all the combined companies stock market values that utilize the architecture.

Thus, if Saifun become the dominant architecture with the smallest die size in my opinion it will probably attain the leading stock market value in the flash memory market.

Randy Durig manages the several Portfolios including the Monopoly Technology Portfolio to see the full list go to and

Durigs Monopoly Blue Chip Portfolio National Performance Rankings: 3rd In the United States, Ranked by 3 year annual return, for Large Capitalization Blend, 4th Quarter 2005, By Money Manager Review.

Randy Durig owns Saifun in discretionary client's portfolios and in his own account. Past performance is not a guarantee for future returns. All information we believe to be correct but make no guarantee to accuracy.

Randy recommend for open source investment news to read or publishing articles go to

Collecting Licensed Art Product One Of America's Biggest Businesses... And Hidden Secrets


If you are the average collector, like me (or like I once was), you think of a nice rendering in a lovely picture frame that looks nice on the wall and color-coordinated with carpet, furniture, and the like.

I thought that for many years and then I grew savvy.

I still love art as much as any art collector; I have some Dali unlimited editions, lots of framed museum poster art and the like.

But it wasn't until I learned about licensed art products that I learned the real game.

The bulk of art trade today, is not done on picture frame; but on art collectibles such as tee shirts, mousepads, porcelain plates, sweatshirts, caps, and other such items.

When I was in first grade, you could buy a Fun With Dick And Jane lunch box for about 35 cents. That same box goes today for around $200. Early similar Peanuts products have brought a thousand or more. These are not framed art pieces but licensed manufactured merchandise.

So what to buy?

Well I always say buy what you like because no matter what the value, you are going to enjoy owning it.

But if you want to hedge as they say in the stock market, do a little research and find out who is right on the edge of fame, up-and-coming, etc. and their prices are still low on their manufactured goods. Usually most of these goods from t-shirts to mousepads to tote bags range in the $20-$30 range.

When I first became a cartoonist, in 1997, I had zero knowledge of the art licensing business, much less did I know that it is one of the largest volume businesses in the U.S. With about 40 billion dollars exchanged annually in it.

It was not until almost 10 months ago, when I began licensing my own cartoons onto manufactured products at deep discount rates, did I realize, (and surprisingly how many people were and are buying) that there really are collectors out there who are serious. (I was relatively unknown when the first purchase came in).

So I studied how the Internet-savvy investor figured out who was up and coming and who was not. There are a number of analytical sites; one owned by called and another called Most investors monitor weekly or monthly how their favorite creator is doing. With about 8-10 billion websites on the Internet on any given day, most just look at the top 1 million websites that include, art, cartoons, cartoon merchandise, etc.

Our main cartoon website has now received 7.5 million visitors since 2005 (I can remember when 100 per day was reason to celebrate); now it is more like 4000+ per hour). What was my formula? I wish I could tell you. I did a lot of blogging and article writing (still do) and keep creating.

I can sleep well at night when someone buys one of my cartoon mousepads, or tee shirts, or whatever, not just because it causes laughter which is a good thing, but because we have been scrutinized by the Internet analytical community as up-and-coming which means now buyers can buy and begin collecting at a very reasonable price, which, next year, might not be so reasonable; I wish I could control that; I can't, the manufacturer gets to do that. If it were up to me, I'd sell it for pennies so everyone could enjoy it. But I can't.

My point (seems like hype, of course) and partly it is. But I can only tell you about my own experience (being on the verge of being well-known, not quite there, I'd say); I can still walk around town and nobody raises an eyebrow. These days, unlike the days of old, "celebrities" are not necessarily flesh that talk seen on celluloid (aka Hollywood); many "celebrities" of today are common everyday people who took the time to study various marketing techniques of the Internet and made it work for them.

Whether you buy and sell licensed art goods, pure art, electronics or anything else, the same principals apply on the Internet that do in a department store. Except the Internet can be even more brutal. Word of mouth gets around lightening fast and if you make a mistake, thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people can know about it within hours if not minutes. On the other hand if you do something right, the same principal applies. Not to worry, you *will* make mistakes and most people can accept them. The issue is not if you make one or not, but if you learn from it. I don't always, but I do try my best, and I can honestly say I make a lot less of them today than I did a decade ago when starting.

Does that make me an Internet guru? I have some bad news. There ARE no Internet gurus, and frankly I am not so certain there are gurus in any field, though, there are some who know a bit more than others and are generous enough to teach it. The Internet is for everyone. It has leveled the business playing field. Information that used to be available just to large corporations are now available to all of us. It is how we use it that matters.

I would never teach you all I know even if I could for a variety of reasons. One being, it might not be your style. You might not have the slightest interest in buying and selling licensed image collectibles. You might, but mine might not be your taste. You may love mine, but my style is different than yours. A lot of paths lead to that Internet pot of gold. You may like blogging more than article marketing. Social networking might be your thing. You might be a wiz at ppc marketing. I try to learn a little about each and interconnect it all with incoming links. That seems to keep my sites ratings high. I still have much to learn, but so do the "so called gurus" who taught me.

If you still think there are "gurus", think about this. If Albert Einstein came back from the dead and was to be thrown into the workplace, he'd probably be fired immediately (he wouldn't even know what the Internet was much less how to send an email. So even the guru that he was, gurus are here today and gone tomorrow as information changes. The secret, I think, is to keep up with that ever changing information and become flexible. Some information is right on target and some people who claim to be gurus don't have a clue.

Can you imagine the Dali Lama telling you "Hey, I'm a guru. Look at me!" Nope. Too humble; and probably the closest thing to one. So if someone is hyping him/herself or another as a guru, don't walk, but run the other way. That is what I do and I make a lot more money, as do my associates by taking that posture. We all have the "guru within". I

In any case, the bottom line is not just to research but have fun; don't buy just to sell at a profit; not that that is a bad thing, it is not;l but buy what you enjoy, and you will (usually) find someone else enjoys it just as much if not more, and is willing to double or even quadruple your profit within a few years.

Rick London is a cartoonist and owns two licensed cartoon e-stores; Londons Times Tees and Londons Times Superstore He recently invented the world's first fully-automated medical alert device called Insert Alert