The Name Game

Cramer explains why Inktomi is 'Stinktomi' to him.
Publish date:

So, you don't like that I call



"Stinktomi"? Let me tell you something, you've never had a $48,000 trading loss because you didn't make it clear what you wanted to buy. I have.

A few years back, when

MFS Communications

(its ticker was MFST) was a highflier before it was bought by

MCI WorldCom


, I used to trade in and out of it like a banshee. This stock had moves that made

Barry Sanders

seem stationary.

One time, though, I gave my trader an order to buy 25,000 MFST. Not soon after,


made cautionary comments on


(MSFT) - Get Report

. My trader was shaking. "What do we do? Microsoft is in a free fall."

"Huh?" I said. "We aren't long Microsoft."

But we were, I was informed. We had just bought 25,000.

Oh my, I realized. My trader had bought MSFT, not MFST. A slip of the letters and a $48,000 error -- and that didn't include how much MFST went


in the interim as we took the MSFT loss.

This could never happen again. From then on, when I wanted MSFT, I asked for "Mister Softee."

Everything else was MFS.

And that's why we call Microsoft, without any disdain or disrespect, Mister Softee.

That's why, when I want


(CSCO) - Get Report

on my sheets, I say "Chisco," because Cisco is


(SYY) - Get Report

. That's why


(CBS) - Get Report

is "Channel 2" and


(CVS) - Get Report

is "Consumer Value."

People looked confounded when I would shout "Buy Inktomi on the hop." What's an Inktomi? It led to confusion. When you are trying to take a stock that ramps like this one, there can be no confusion. But no one will mistake or be confused by Stinktomi.

How important is this? Take my best trade yesterday, a take of 5,000


(LSI) - Get Report


Hey, great call. Up 2. The only problem? I meant "OSI," as in

Outdoor Systems



And from now on, LSI is "Lissee."

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long Cisco, Inktomi, Outdoor Systems, MCI WorldCom and Microsoft, although positions can 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