Clues for international investing and business can help us think outside the box.

Yesterday’s message Investing Internationally looked at the thoughts of George Soros and how as part of the market we can never truly know the whole of the market. Our connection to the whole blinds at least part of our view.  Think of this being a bit like how our optic nerve creates a blind spot.

We have to invest internationally or run our businesses without knowing it all.

Yet we can use this same connection to get outside the box where there are new, more profitable international investment and business ideas.

The way to use our connection with the whole is to look at our own wants, needs and desires.

We each represent a market.

We can use our emotions as keys to unlock information about markets.

As we change…so too do markets.

Once we know what we want and like,  we can fine tune this understanding with detective work that spotlights the public’s buying mood.

I call this mood the National Psyche.

Let me give you an example of what  mean.

I recently let a detective help me do detective work on the national psyche.

The detective is Adrian Monk.  We do not have TV but sometimes we get Monk sent to me via Netflix.

We like watching Monk because one imbalance I continually fight is not turning off my mind.  I go to sleep focusing on ideas for articles. I wake up thinking about ideas for articles and when I talk to someone, I really have to focus. Otherwise something they say will spark an idea for an article and I drift away.

Monk is pretty mindless… a real brain turnoff but recently an article about Monk asked me to re think, “Why do I like this reasonably stupid show?”

“The show may be a bull’s eye, but the entire target is a market” I thought,… so I looked beyond my interest in Monk to see why this is such a popular series.

A USA Today article Departing ‘Monk’ crafted USA Network into cable powerhouse by Gary Levin started me thinking this way.

Here is an excerpt from that article:  Adrian Monk, the USA’s (and the USA Network’s) favorite obsessive-compulsive detective, is looking to get his badge back from the San Francisco police — and then hang it up.

Monk begins its eighth and final season tonight (9 ET/PT) after a trailblazing run that helped vault USA Network to cable’s top spot for three years running. Beyond its own striking success, the series helped usher in a new wave of escapist, throwback TV to challenge broadcast fare.

In the process, Monk snared three Emmys and four more nominations (including this year) for star Tony Shalhoub, who at first was warned against slumming on basic cable.

“I said, ‘I don’t think the venue is the most important thing here.’ I figured why not be a bigger fish in a smaller pond and turn it into a bigger pond?” Shalhoub says.

That pond has spawned several more shows, each a hit in its own right —Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, Psych and new hit Royal Pains. Those shows have put USA on a torrid pace this summer, built their own fan bases and will all return for new seasons. That’s an unusual track record for a business accustomed to failing more than it succeeds.

The common element: All focus on one or two lead characters rather than ensembles, have a lighter, often comic touch and are twists on old genres that have been mostly absent from TV.

By design, Monk’s bumbling but effective detective harkens back to Columbo, Burn Notice’s crafty renegade spy to MacGyver, Royal Pains’ housecall-making doctor to Marcus Welby, M.D.

These shows “deliver the same sensibility,” says NBC Universal’s cable-entertainment chief, Bonnie Hammer: “Escapism that wasn’t dark.” Viewers “can go to sleep at 11:00 without taking out a razor blade, and with a smile on their face.”

And her boss, NBC Universal TV Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin, says that sensibility “goes perfectly with the economy and the psyche of the country. So many people we know are living in a very difficult time period … and it’s hard to find escape when the television shows you’re watching are more depressing than the life you’re living.”

What made this improbable quirky detective series, which languished at ABC for years before finally finding a home on cable, resonate with viewers? “There’s something about people wanting to see this character survive and do well, overcome his problems and his obstacles,” Shalhoub says, including Monk’s fear of germs, crowds, even milk. For all that, his detective skills are top-notch.

TNT, which started its original programming more recently, favors darker dramas, and its top-rated The Closer has begun to slip behind Burn and Pains.

“A lot of this stuff is more approachable and mainstream than some of their cable competitors,” and has made USA a “destination brand,” says Tom Weeks, a senior VP at ad-buyer affiliate Starcom Entertainment. With reruns of top-rated NCIS, House and Law & Order: SVU (and originals of Law & Order: Criminal Intent) mixed in, “they have a really strong scripted programming platform. They’re positioned very well for the future.”

So looking at Monk and the genre spawned by the USA Network gives us international investing and business clues.

When we see an investing or business idea… we ask these questions about the product or service.

Does it have the common element, a tight focus on individuals rather than groups, a lighter, often comic touch and nostalgia?

Plus the target is always moving so we keep testing the winds of change.

If the mood of our market changes and we do not keep up, our investment or business can go out of fashion.

Fortunately there is a really simple way to stay tuned to this national psyche.

A friend inadvertently taught me this trick years ago when he recommended a book entitled “How to Survive the Upcoming Crash of 1995”. That book was on the NY Times best seller list and it sacred me to death as it told about how the U.S. economy would melt down in 1995 because U.S. government debt was out of control.

The book offered no solution to this dilemma.

I wrote a marketing piece with a headline “Are we 23 Months to Disaster?” that mentioned the book, outlined this problem and gave readers a way to find solutions by ordering a course on international investing.

Over the next two years this marketing piece worked unbelievably well creating millions in sales and profits.

Yet the data in book was totally wrong! There was no bankruptcy of the US economy in 1995. Instead the greatest economic boom in the history of mankind began.

This taught a valuable and simple lesson on how to see the buying public as a whole…perhaps understanding the public persona better than the public understands itself. The trick is simply look at the best selling book lists…especially those of large newspapers.

The profits and sales from my 23 Months to Disaster piece did not because the product or marketing were in tune with economic markets. The disaster marketing piece was a success because it was tuned to how investors felt! In addition the piece was fortified because it related to a book that millions of investors had read.

That book had scared millions of investors and create a problem for them, just as it had me. My disaster marketing piece came along at just the right time…with a solution!

We can get clues about business trends by watching what everyone reads.

Best selling book lists are windows into a nation’s soul.  Here is a current example…  Stephanie Meyer… the vampire writer.

Previously two very successful authors offer clues about the mood of today’s customers.

J. K Rowling had three Harry Potter books on the best selling lists at one time. No author had every accomplished this before! Then Dan Brown did the same thing starting with the Da Vinci Code.

Then, she even topped her previous record on the NY Times Best Selling List!

What special element unites the Rowling and Brown books? Harry Potter is about magic.

The Da Vinci Code is about hidden codes that lead to the Holy Grail. The common link? Secrets! Both authors write about mysterious, hidden secrets.

The success of these books can help us understand that people seek magical secrets. The public feel deceived. The average person feels that life has become too complex with too much pressure…not enough satisfaction and fun. Yet this same overstressed underpaid public see a few people getting richer…and having great lifestyles. This leads the majority to believe in hidden secrets to a better life. They want to know these secrets!

How this ties with vampires, I do not know. I have not read one of these books yet. Frankly we are not interested… but I’ll  pick one up on my Kindle to see if I can spot any clues we can share that keep us in touch with the national psyche.

Fortunately there are many national psyches flowing in a stream of humanity all the time. If we spot a theme that many are jumping on… like vampires… but have no desire ourselves… we can understand but choose ignore it.   There are plenty of national psyches we can enjoy.

Investing and business are journeys into the unknown.  We never know exactly where we are headed but if we continually observe which of our wants needs and desires are popular with others… and ask why… we’ll have a handle on the national psyche. With this guide means we may not know where we are going… but we’ll never be lost.

Learn more about how to think better here.

Combining good international investing with the greatest asset of all, the ability to earn wherever you live, brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

See details of the two seminar below.


Delegates at our Ecuador seminars and tours enjoy Ecuador music.

Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of JGAM, our webmaster David Cross and me in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free.  Save $300.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Here is an email for a recent seminar delegate: Hello Gary and Merri,  I have wanted to write to tell you how much we enjoyed your IBEZ seminar, and to thank you both for inviting us all into your lovely home for lunch last Sunday.  Merri, again, thank you for taking the time to prepare foods especially for me; they were delicious, and I appreciate your effort!  Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable, very well done, stimulating seminar.  I came away not only with all the notes provided, but also with many ideas which I plan to begin working on now that we are back home.  Wishing you all the best,

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.


We take delegates on our Ecuador seminars to Otavalo markets.  Many buy enough goods to resell in North America to pay for their entire trip.  Ecuador textiles like these I photographed in Otavalo are popular.