A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 09, 2009
“Even turkeys fly in a strong wind” (Wall Street adage)

A “turkey” is known as a generally (but not always) flightless bird. A “turkey” is also slang for a “flop” or an “unsuccessful venture.”

“Even turkeys fly in a strong wind” (or “Even a turkey can fly in a strong wind,” “Even turkey can fly in a hurricane,” “Even a turkey can fly in a tornado,” “Even a turkey can fly in a gale") means that when the financial winds are strong, even a bad investment vehicle can turn a profit. A similar financial saying is “A rising tide lifts all boats” (even bad boats).

The “turkey” saying is often attributed to venture capitalist Eugene Kleiner (1923-2003), one of the founders of California’s Silicon Valley. However, more documentary evidence is needed. The saying was recorded at least as early as 1989 in the San Jose (CA) Mercury News.


Wikipedia: Eugene Kleiner
Eugene Kleiner (12 May 1923 – 20 November 2003) was one of the original founders of Kleiner Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm which later became Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The company was an early investor in more than 300 information technology and biotech firms, including Amazon.com, AOL, Brio Technology, Electronic Arts, Flextronics, Genentech, Google, Hybritech, Intuit, Lotus Development, LSI Logic, Macromedia, Netscape, Quantum, Segway, Sun Microsystems and Tandem.

In 1938, he fled with his family from Vienna, Austria, arriving in New York two years later. He served in the U.S. Army, then earned a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic University of New York in 1948 and a Master’s degree in industrial engineering from New York University. After briefly teaching engineering, he joined Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of AT&T.

In 1947, he married the former Rose Wassertheil (died 2001), a Polish émigré. They had two children, Robert and Lisa.

In 1956, he was among the first to accept an offer from William Shockley to come to California to help form what became Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. In 1957, he and seven colleagues (the “Fairchild Eight”, whom Shockley dubbed the “Traitorous Eight") left to found Fairchild Semiconductor, which most historians mark as the first major spin-off of what later was called Silicon Valley. According to fellow VC Arthur Rock, Kleiner led the Eight, obtaining a $1.5 million investment from Sherman Fairchild and taking over the new firm’s administrative duties.

Kleiner later invested his own money in Intel, a semiconductor firm founded in 1968 by fellow Fairchild founders Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore.

In 1972 he joined Hewlett-Packard veteran Tom Perkins to found Kleiner Perkins, the venture capital firm now headquartered on Sand Hill Road. In 1977, the company added Brook Byers and Frank J. Caufield as named partners. He retired from day-to-day responsibilities in the early 1980s.

Famous Quote
There is a time when panic is the appropriate response. In a tornado, even a turkey can fly

Kleiner’s Laws
. Make sure the dog wants to eat the dog food. No matter how ground-breaking a new technology, how large a potential market, make certain customers actually want it.
. Build one business at a time. Most business plans are overly ambitious. Concentrate on being successful in one endeavor first.
. Risk up front, out early.
. The time to take the tarts is when they’re being passed.
. The problem with most companies is they don’t know what business they’re in.
. Even turkeys can fly in a high wind. In times of strong economies, even bad companies can look good.

20 May 1989, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, “Bull Market Pushes Index Above 2,500,” pg. 1A:
‘’Even turkeys fly in a hurricane,” said James Dines, editor of the Dines Letter, a stock advisory service in Belvedere.

Google Groups: misc.invest.canada
Newsgroups: misc.invest.canada
From: Sheldon Liberman <76742....@compuserve.com>
Date: 1996/05/08
Subject: Re: INDOCHINA GOLDFIELDS IPO

However, in a broader context, many analyst beleive that gold stocks are poised for a run ahead of rising bullion prices later in ‘96. In a strong wind, even a turkey can fly.

Google Groups: misc.invest.stocks
Newsgroups: misc.invest.stocks
From:
Date: 1997/04/18
Subject: Re: HOORAY FOR ME!!!!!!!!

When market rises sharply, even turkeys fly, especially for low-priced stocks that can be easily manipulated with little outlay of cash. 

Google Groups: soc.culture.indonesia
Newsgroups: soc.culture.indonesia, alt.culture.indonesia
From: (Dennis L. Fiddle)
Date: 1997/12/28
Subject: Playing Bubbles 2/2

Q: What are you buying?
A: As we wrote in a recent strategy piece, “In a gale, even turkeys fly. Buy Italian turkeys.”

30 August 1998, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “What is Yeltsin doing? Russia is running out of time and money,” editorial/opinion, pg. 5:
As the Indians might have said: “In a strong wind, even turkeys fly. “ In 1997, the tripling in value of Russian stocks was a strong wind.

Google Books
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Day Trading Like a Pro
By Jennifer Basye Sander
Published by Alpha Books
1999
Pg. 201:
You’ve heard the expressions: “All boats float in a rising tide,” or, “Even turkeys fly in a high enough wind.”

BBC News
Friday, 24 November, 2000, 21:01 GMT
Investors turn cold on UK dot.coms
(...)
Flying turkeys
Maisy Ng of a new venture fund ADD Partners says there is still great interest in funding people with unique technology - but she believes far too many flimsy companies got funded at the height of the dot com boom.

“We have a saying in this industry, “ she says. “In a tornado even turkeys fly.” Now some of those turkeys are hitting the ground.

InfoWorld
Alan Cooper of Cooper Interaction Design sees planning as key to downstream dividends
By Michael Vizard
June 14, 2001 4:11 pm PT
(...)
Cooper: The industry has been swept with strong currents. There was a strong uplifting wind and there was a strong [downward] wind. And as the old saying goes, ‘In a high wind even turkeys fly.’

Google Books
A View from the Sidelines
By Michael Shea
Published by Sutton
2003
Pg. 81:
In a high wind, even turkeys fly.
American Indian saying

The Economist
Dec 4th 2003
Eugene Kleiner, pioneer of venture capitalism, died on November 20th, aged 80
(...)
Opportunism, with a slice of luck, always played a large part in his life. In 1938 he escaped Vienna, with his family, just before the Nazis arrived. At Brooklyn Polytechnic, walking home one night after the opera, his pretty companion said she wanted to be a social worker; Mr Kleiner immediately asked her if she would help him by becoming his wife. She agreed. It was sheer good fortune, he always thought, that brought both Mr Rock and Mr Perkins into his life, and the luck of the business cycle that put him in the thick of the wildest industrial growth in modern American history. “In a high wind,” he once said, “even turkeys can fly.”

Google Books
If It’s Raining in Brazil, Buy Starbucks:
The Investor’s Guide to Profiting from News and Other Market-moving Events

By Peter Navarro
Edition: reprint, illustrated
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional
2004
Pg. 57 (NEVER BUCK THE TREND):
Even turkeys fly in hurricanes. As the wind subsides, the turkeys stay on the ground.
KEVIN MARONI

Google Books
Active Investing:
Take Charge of Your Portfolio in Today’s Unpredictable Markets

By Peter Sander
Published by Adams Media
2005
Pg. 190:
The premise: Strength in the sector should produce gains and reduce risk. “Even turkeys fly in a high enough wind” is part of this investing mantra.

Google Books
The International Economy
Published by International Economy Publications, Inc.
22 June 2005
Pg. 20:
Even Turkeys Fly When The Winds Are Strong.

Google Books
In a Strong Wind (Even Turkeys Fly)
By Peter Guest
Published by Lulu.com
2006

Marin Real Estate Bubble
Thursday, July 27, 2006
“When the Wind Blows Hard Enough, Even Turkeys Fly” or “Temporary Religions of Convenience”

Dan Miller’s Blog
“In a tornado, even a turkey can fly”
By Dan Miller
“In A Tornado, Even A Turkey Can Fly!” is a quote from venture capitalist Eugene Kleiner. He understood that when the economy is strong, even bad companies can look good.  His principle seems to have application as we look at the current economy and workplace.
(...)
This entry was posted on October 21, 2008 at 3:33 am

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