So I took my life into my own hands yesterday -- I visited the "Cramer's Latest"
message boards. I used to go on our boards a lot, but I grew tired of the same people blasting me for the same darn stuff and so I stopped going as often.
But I had a few moments to spare after I wrote my
piece about how the Web consultant stocks weren't working anymore, and I wanted to see what people had to say. Of course, it's the same people weighing in day in and day out, and I have to admit that if I were just checking that board for the first time, I would ask myself, Why don't those guys go form their own "I hate Jim Cramer" thread? (That thread was the hottest one on
until my wife saw it, hit the roof and made me call the company's general counsel to get it taken down.)
In fact, I am going to ask
to form a board like that so we can direct miscreants to it and they can have a virtual Cramer effigy burning 'round the clock -- much like the Iranians burnt Uncle Sam during the
days. (Oops -- that's probably like asking these folks to think back to the band
was with before
Anyway, some guy on the board was complaining about how worthless it is to have me discuss the
now that they are down. If I were any good, this critic argued, I would have alerted readers to when we had reached the top.
Give me a break! I actually responded to this -- politely even -- by informing the poster that, you bet, I would have liked to have told the site to get out of the Scient/Viant crowd at the top
if I had known that it were the top
. I was tempted to go into some human-frailty rap, but instead I questioned whether my critic thought I was dissembling to the site. Did he really think I knew the top and withheld it?
To which he responded, quite considerately, "No, I am not questioning your integrity at all. Just the fact that much of what you said was true before those stocks went down. Nothing changed 'fundamentally' one way or another."
In actuality, these businesses were growing at a lightning pace initially, but now they need increasingly expensive bodies to service all the business they have, and in some cases, they can no longer pass the costs through because other larger entities have moved into their space.
Or, to put it simply, these stocks were great
the fundamentals hit a wall, and then they became just OK. When that fulcrum gets reached, it is very hard to tell that you have passed from good to bad. The greatest moment is right before the wall. Once the wall is hit, it may be all over.
Moreover, if you look at the charts of these stocks -- if I am right, and you owned these for a while -- your investment could still have grown twofold, threefold, fourfold or even tenfold. So I didn't catch the top. Big deal. The important thing is to not give it all back.
Too many people expect perfection in this business. Heck, me -- I am trying to get it right. If I can get it right more than I get it wrong, then I am going to win. But when you read my online diary, you have to understand that I am telling you what I'm doing as I do it, not waiting to see if I am right and then pronouncing myself a genius.
Let's stipulate this: I get a lot of things wrong. But let's also stipulate that if we have compounded our results at 24% after all fees for 13 years, something's been right.
I rest my case, ultimately, on that, not on my Scient/Viant call. Oh, yeah -- past performance doesn't mean squat. But it's better than no performance.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. 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