We need a new theme! We've blitzed through B2C and B2B and now, with the decline of the
world, we've shredded the infrastructure plays.
The history of the Net is filled with fresh new concepts, each one of which comes into being when a previous one burns out. It's been like that from the beginning. First we had search engines. Remember
? The window closed before it could come public. But the
) group made it through.
Then we fell in love with the e-tailers. The goal of finding the next
was too alluring to resist. So nobody did. And we exploited that to the point where
was a $2.5 billion company. Land sakes!
Of course, those companies crashed and burned. They turned out to be merely glorified catalog companies.
Never fear, B2B was here! We had the creation of all of these auctions and reverse auctions to sell stuff. They were all supposed to make a ton of money, but it turns out that not everybody goes to these sites -- and the ones that were set up first caused the old-line companies to say "we are not going to let
Amazon us, by golly, we will set up our own." Now there is auction clutter -- and no way of cutting through it.
Finally, we believed that we could just back all of the equipment producers. Why not? Yesterday we discovered that's not such a hot idea. The cliches go something like this: Why back the miners when we can back the guys who make the jeans and the picks and the axes? Why back the warriors when we can back the arms merchants?
Good theory. But have you looked at how
is doing these days? And how many pick-ax companies can you name? You want to invest in
? Be my guest.
Now we are just plum out of new themes. Until we get one, there will be the same kind of broken field running we saw yesterday, where
will report great quarters, people will get juiced, insiders will then bail and the stocks will finish lower than they started.
In Hollywood, they understand this concept of the new theme. They pay people millions to come up with them. Wall Street understands the concept, too, and it pays many millions more for each one.
Come on guys, come up with something. We are hurting here! Don't ask us to go back to the tried and true. Give us something hot to buy! We are counting on you.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long AOL, Yahoo! and Lycos. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. 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 at