F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." But there's at least one thing they share with the rest of us: loopy investments. You might not have a hundred million or two to squander on a badly run bloated media company. But you can learn from their mistakes. Witness some of the billion-dollar blunders that rich folks have made over the past few years.
Ted Turner might not have enough money left to buy back CNN from AOL Time Warner. You might not have enough to buy a cable subscription.
Allen basically took a gamble on a single, still-emerging industry -- cable. And it's incredibly difficult to find the one or two companies in a new business that will turn out to be the ultimate winners. One of those investments might deliver a 1,000% return, but it won't make up for all the losers you bet on trying to find that one winner. Lesson: Concentrating all of your investments in just one industry or sector can be treacherous. On top of that, betting on new companies in new industries adds even more risk. To Paul Allen, Procter & Gamble ( PG) ought to be looking pretty good right now.