Sunday, 7 February 2010

Why you should focus on the eight fundamental markets (Part 1 of 3)

The cult of innovation returns to haunt us every decade. In the stock market, such occurrences lead to disproportionately high valuations of technology companies. In colleges and universities, the demand for biotechnology and computer-science courses grows. In the job market, companies hire less accountants and more engineers.

At those times, newspapers report the creation of novel businesses and professions. Radio talk shows announce that the world has changed and that nothing will remain the same. Television commentators ask viewers to forget traditional ideas about the economy and invest their savings on technology.

Periods of foolish exaggeration end badly without exception. Shares experience a momentous rise before a collapse in their price. Companies cut down on research and salaries for scientists return to reasonable levels. Biotechnology graduates cannot find jobs in high-technology companies and opt for less glamorous positions in the food industry.

The misconception behind those fads is that technology can multiply essential human needs. That idea is false. Every time that investors have fuelled immoderate expenditures on technology, it has proved a disaster. Every time that journalists have predicted an era of unlimited growth, it has led to economic catastrophe.

Technology developments that are unconnected to fundamental human necessities require a long-term view that few companies can afford. Original research is a narrow path fraught with difficulties. Ground-breaking innovation demands extraordinary knowledge and dedication.

For these reasons, before you begin to walk such narrow paths, you should ask where they are going to lead you. Will your efforts take you to a crowded or lonely place? Is there a market on the other side of the desert that will reward you in case of success? In any case, you want to avoid working for years on a dead-end project.

To be continued in Part 2


[Image by Paul Resh under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]

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