put out a
very thought-provoking piece
from Dana Blankenhorn on whether old-school research is a valid tool for investors. It's a topic that obviously hit home because, honestly -- between you, me and those unique viewers out there -- I have built an entire career on living in a mysterious world that exists
the numbers that many dissect each trading season.
With that in mind, I have a couple of secrets to divulge. The first is that I appeared in my first financial-media video with
around 2007, when I explained why then-public teen retailer
was a must-own stock going into Halloween -- an idea that worked out, despite my horrifically dry delivery. Secret number two is that, since I was an itty-bitty investing baby, I have watched Jim Cramer connect the dots on stocks with the masterful precision of a highly trained ninja warrior. I remember thinking, roughly six months into an associate analyst job in 2004, with a "coverage universe" of 15 companies: Man, I wish I could do that.
The message here is that, in order to gain a competitive advantage in anything, you
go above and beyond what every other person is likely doing. Intense, on-the-ground intelligence-gathering on a particular company or sector takes a serious amount of time, but it offers up a set of intangibles that no ridiculous spreadsheet is able to produce. I could whip up a 5,000-stage multi-factor model and still miss the fact that excess inventory is piling up at 10
(SHLD - Get Report)
locations -- a situation that could reflect that of 40 other stores, and which may therefore equate to weak underlying sales and profit-margin death.
Why go to such an extreme? Why run up and down the aisles of a Sears to look for things nobody else sees? The answer is, that's how you
an index ETF. That's how you
the newbie fresh from college, equipped with quantitative models and a burning hunger to prove him or herself. That's how you
expectations -- which is the only way to truly outperform -- and build wealth through the years.