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A national park visit reinforces a popular rule of investing.


I love our county’s National Parks. They’re truly national treasures.

In my quest to see as many as possible, I recently visited Acadia National Park in Maine. It was my first venture into Maine, and I not only enjoyed Acadia, I enjoyed my travels throughout the state.

When you travel these days, the good news is that it’s easy to stay in touch. For example, I was able to follow the strike at General Motors, the ongoing political bickering, the ups and down of our sport teams, and all the business and financial news. It was all available 24/7, just as if I were in my office or at home.

But such availability can also be bad news. All that input can become a distraction and interfere with the enjoyment of your trip.

Years ago, when I was out of the office for a week, I returned to a stack of messages and mail. Today, I can handle day-to-day calls and correspondence remotely and return home to a clean desk.

Despite the world changing, it’s nice to see that our National Parks look pretty much the same as they did years ago. But as I traveled outside the park, I realized how much our nation’s landscape has changed. In Maine, many of the huge red brick buildings along the coast and riverfronts that decades ago employed thousands, have now been renovated into housing.

I grew up in Michigan during the advent of strip malls. Back then you were likely to see a Fotomat or a Blockbuster in almost every one. In 1975, there were 2,269 Fotomats in those distinctive pyramid-roofed, standalone kiosks luring you in to drop off your film and pick up your photos.

At Acadia, I saw a lot of people taking pictures, mostly with their cell phones. Film processing is pretty much obsolete. 

Not that long ago it seemed like every strip mall was also home to a Blockbuster Video. Interestingly, years ago Blockbuster turned down an opportunity to purchase an unprofitable company called Netflix. Apparently, Blockbuster management expressed no interest in the young company and saw little future in the concept of streaming.

Today when you buy a new television Netflix is preloaded and, of course, Blockbuster is long gone. The days of being scolded for not rewinding a VHS tape are also gone as the streaming wars heat up with Netflix and Disney getting ready to go head to head for your business.

We all need to take time to smell the roses and enjoy the beauty of our planet. But as investors, it’s imperative to not become complacent in this competitive and ever-changing world. We have to pay attention and make adjustments as the world changes.

No matter how good a business may appear it’s wise to diversify. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Thanks to technology, we no longer have to get our film developed to see our pictures or pick up a tape to watch a movie at home.

Our national parks may be unchanging, but technology can drop the curtain on a company’s future overnight. That’s why you should never invest your life savings in any one market sector. It won’t be good forever. And who can say for certain what companies will be obsolete tomorrow?