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TheStreet Open House

Investing in the Visionaries

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There are a lot of really great companies out there, amazing companies that continually outperform their peers and the broader market. Some are great to own for the yield, some you want for the growth and some are appealing for stability.

Aside from looking for all three of these qualities, there's a different way to outperform the market. It can take you down the wrong road at times but the successful ones will take you far on the upside.

I'm talking about investing in visionaries, not just companies.

A visionary isn't just a great CEO. They don't just have a few good ideas that do well for a couple of years or have a well-managed tenure at the helm. Visionaries change consumers and give the masses what they want before they know they want it. Visionaries change the way we do things on a day-to-day basis.

Visionaries change the world. Jeff Bezos of (AMZN), Steve Jobs of Apple (AAPL) and Howard Schultz of Starbucks (SBUX) are examples. With a visionary's success comes shareholder success.

Let's look at the split-adjusted returns of those three companies:

  • Amazon began trading at $1.51 and recently traded at $266.26, a return of about 17,449%.
  • Apple began trading at $3.55 and recently traded at $445.09, a return of around 12,576%.
  • Starbucks began trading at 78 cents and is now at $62.67, a return of 8,041%.

Bezos' vision was to change the ecommerce landscape. Jobs' vision was to change basically everything we do with technology, such as how we listen to music, call a friend or write an essay. Schultz's vision was to change the way we buy and consume coffee, as well as the culture around doing so.

All of those visions have translated into very big returns for investors who were there from the beginning, heard the crazy madman and his goofy idea.

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