Did you see the Stephen Fry programme last night on which he gave us, the geek viewing public, a run down of his top 100 gadgets?
I only watched the first hour, the rest is recorded on my Personal Video Recorder (PVR) which quite rightly made an appearance in the top 100, so don’t spoil the surprise by telling me what gadget sat proudly in the top slot. If I had to guess I would say it’ll probably be the iPod or the iPhone.
The programme got me thinking about how important gadgets and technology are to most of us.
If all the gadgets in the world mysteriously vanished overnight my life would be very different (for a start, I would have a lie-in as my iPhone alarm wouldn’t wake me up).
When I did eventually get up I’d have to have a boring cup of black coffee in place of the lovely espresso I usually have to wake me up in the morning.
Unless you count my kettle as a gadget, in which case I’d have to settle for some freshly squeezed orange juice.
Unless you count my orange squeezer as a gadget in which case I’d have to settle for a glass of water.
See what I mean, it’s still early and the absence of gadgets has already messed up my day!
As I sit here writing this blog entry, while I keep an eye on the 4×4 vehicle auction taking place at the excellent Brightwells in Leominster via their live auction video feed on the internet (yes, technology again), I realise life would be very different without technology and gadgets.
I was talking to an art dealer a few weeks ago. He was telling me that a few years ago much of his week would be spend on the road, travelling to various art auctions around the country. He now spends much of his week in front of a laptop watching the auctions online, via their live auction feed. He bids on paintings via the online bidding system, pays for them using his debit card then sends photos of his purchases via email to his list of clients.
Technology has changed the way he carries out his business. For the better? Ask him on a cold, snowy January day when he’s watching an auction from the comfort of his centrally-heated office at home and he would surely say yes. But ask him on a sunny summer day when instead of driving to a country auction in his soft-top to pick up a few oil paintings and have a chat with a few dealers he’s sat at home, alone, bidding on paintings via a jerky video feed and his answer might be quite different.
Think of your own life. Can you honestly say that gadgets don’t play an important part in your life? I very much doubt it.
Anyway, “I thought this was an investing blog” I can hear you screaming at your screen. Yes it is. But technology and investing go hand in hand. Disagree? Then disagree next time you are placing an order to buy shares online or next time you’re carrying out some research on that AIM company you’ve read about on a share tips website.
So if technology is so important, just how much of the Amateur Investor portfolio is allocated to technology? As I scan down the portfolio not a lot, it would appear. Just a scattering of Vodafone here and Logica there.
But look deeper and many of the funds and ETFs will contain exposure to technology stocks. Any FTSE100 tracker, for instance, will have Vodafone shares, Autonomy shares, BT Group shares etc.
So even if you don’t directly hold technology shares in your portfolio, chances are some will be tucked away in one of your unit trusts, investment trusts or ETFs.
And don’t think that technology companies are just about high valuations and P/E ratings. Vodafone shares ave yielded over 5% for the last 5 years and are forecast to yield 7.1% and 7.6% in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Don’t you just love technology!