We felt it was important to exclude Randy Shandis from this panel of experts. Not only did it seem biased to include him, but also, he always manages to offend Martha Stewart, and we knew we wanted her. But Randy argued that as the owner of the world's only Web site, he was a great businessman and would have excellent insight into the subject. But, we told him, we were assembling a list of the biggest business blunders. And he pointed out that Big Empire, as the world's only Web site, was in the midst of the dot-com crash, and that he would have excellent insight into the project-and into the fee we would collect for compiling it for you, dear readers. We thank Mr. Shandis' for his contribution and extend our sincerest apologies to Ms. Stewart.

20. 7-Up Gold-far, far worse than New Coke could ever think of being. (19)
19. Cigar Aficionado Magazine. (20)
18. Leaving my airplane models at John Fishbeck's so he could blow them up with firecrackers. (20)
17. The slogan "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face."(21)
16. Single hull used on the Titanic to save money. (22)
15. Building chalk houses. (23)
14. Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel sell the rights to Superman--their creation--for, like, 45 dollars. I don't remember the exact amount, but it was a pittance. (No need to prove what a geek you are by writing in with the correct amount.) (23)
13. 17th century speculation in Dutch tulip futures. (25)
12. Synontex's $25 billion merger with UniSystexnon. (25)
11. Trading Blood for Oil. (31)
10. Despoiling the Alaskan wilderness for six months' worth of fossil fuel. (34)
9. Rupert Murdoch buying the Dodgers. (35)
8. Selling Manhattan Island for 23 dollars worth of junk jewelry. (35)
7. The Roanoke colony in Virginia. (35)
6. Randy Shandis' $25 million investment in BigEmpire.com. (40)
5. Turnipsgalore.com (40)
4. The Indians giving Europeans America just because they asked nice. (45)
3. Any dot-com stock purchase. (50)
2. The sale of the Louisiana Purchase by the French. (60)
1. The Gold Rush (75)

Who got rich off this ghastly hype? It was the wily folk who sold greenhorn prospectors eggs at a dollar apiece-in 1849! Meanwhile, this event totally screwed up the pristine beauty of Northern California for a preciously small handful of shiny nuggets. The Gold Rush also provided the blueprint of dot-com-mania, a phenom that garnered 135 points in total including runners up. As greenhorn "Web masters" (puh-leeze) pushed to peddle "hits" and "click-through rates," the only people seeing real profits were the makers of hardware and software. Believe me, Bill Gates has no worry lines from the NASDAQ's bloat and subsequent pop.

More of the worst mistakes of money management: Quaker's purchase of Snapple, Censored pornography , Potbelliedpigs.com, Producing the bilge-worthy "Secret Files of Desmond Pfeiffer," Sending Columbus to look for India, The NEXT computer, Non-alcoholic beer.

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