Many of you are upset that I spend so much time answering my critics, as mindless or wrongheaded as they may be. As I treasure the interactivity of the site, I find I have to take the good with the bad. If you are bothered or don't want to hear another word about the cranks, please, please click back. DON'T READ THIS.
But if you want to understand what gets me down, here it is. "What happened? On your last (or maybe the one before that) appearance on "Squawk Box," you said when
was in the mid- to high 40s, you wanted it to come down a bit (implying it was a BIT too expensive) because you didn't own enough CPQ. Now that it's in the low 30s, you are desperately staying away from it. Was your change of heart based solely on the
revenue shortfall plus the CPQ announcement that January sales were light? Just want to know because your views change so quickly and I want to know the basis. And yes, I know you are a trader."
Why does this upset me? First of all, I don't like to answer emails about individual stocks as then I will be considered an investment adviser. I don't want that. I have to stop writing if I am deemed that. (Arcane law, but believe me, it can be read that way.)
That said, let's analyze what really happened here. A few weeks ago I went on TV and said I did not like the personal computer stocks at all. At all. Compaq was in the 40s. I reiterated this view more than 10 times on the site. I never talked about buying Compaq. I never indicated there would be a level at which I would get involved.
Now that it has broken, I don't really care for it until I see the actual number. Long termers might want it but, as I have said about one hundred times, I like other things besides personal computers. In fact I have been saying ABC -- anything but computers -- is my mantra.
Put yourself in my shoes. I make what I think was a pretty good call (if I said great call, I would be labeled a self-promoter). It was a negative call. People don't want anyone ever to make negative calls. But this reader was unhappy that I did not live up to something that I simply never said or wrote anywhere.
The lesson, of course, is that if you please all, you please none. We know that from the books we read to our children and the books that were read to us.
In the end, the only litmus test I can use is the one of self. Did I make the right call? If so, good. Did I make the wrong call? If so, bad. That's all there is to it. Beginning with this piece, I will no longer engage anyone in an email debate about my views as it simply isn't worth it. You should instead demand that
publish your letter. I support that and will urge the editor-in-chief to do so. Thank you.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column by sending an email to email@example.com.