NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Find your inner speculator," Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Thursday, as he dedicated his first segment to the art of the calculated long-shot. Cramer told viewers that he's always preached diversification, staying in a mix of stocks to minimize their downside risk. But Cramer said that he also always preaches speculation, picking one stock with huge upside potential to help keep investors engaged in the markets and excited about investing. One of those speculative picks paid off big today, he said, which is why he encourages investors to "stay in the game." That speculative winner was that of Vivus ( VVUS), a fledgling drug maker that today received approval for the first weight-loss drug to be approved in over 13 years. The news, a surprise to many, sent shares of Vivus up over 78% today. But was Vivus really a long-shot that no one saw coming? Cramer said that while many on Wall Street viewed Vivus as a loser with plenty of risk, those who did the homework on the company saw a different story. He said with the obesity epidemic in the U.S. growing rapidly, the FDA was under pressure to give doctors something to combat the problem. This was not the case 13 years ago when the last weight loss drug, phen-phen, was approved. Cramer called investing in Vivus a calculated long-shot, not a wild speculation. He said the stock's story should be a lesson to all investors that sometimes betting big pays off big. He said investors need to stay with the tried and true stocks, those like IBM ( IBM) and Procter & Gamble ( PG), both of which enjoyed small rallies today, but having a speculative stock like Vivus makes investing all the more enjoyable.
Earnings RedemptionIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com ( CRM), a stock that came under fire when it last reported in November, but also one that was able to redeem itself today with a three-cent-a-share earnings beat on a 38% rise in revenues year over year. Benioff explained that companies today need to become social enterprises, communicating better with both customers and their own employees. He said that Salesforce.com is a transformational company, helping customers use social, mobile and cloud technologies to that end. As usual, Benioff reiterated that traditional software solutions from the likes of Oracle ( ORCL) and Microsoft ( MSFT) require big outlays of cash to install, upgrade and maintain. Cloud computing, on the other hand, requires less cost and allows companies to grow faster with less risk. Benioff said he's never been more excited about his company's prospects, especially given that Salesforce is now the second largest provider of enterprise software, cloud or otherwise. Cramer said that Salesforce.com continues to deliver and he continued to recommend the stock.
Opportunities AboundIn his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Matt Roberts, president and CEO of OpenTable ( OPEN), a momentum stock that fell out of favor in late-2011 but has since been crawling back to life, up 45% from its November lows. Roberts said he sees tremendous growth opportunities for OpenTable as only 12% of all restaurant reservations are currently being made online. He said while it make take awhile to knock on the doors of every restaurant, once the company has entered a market, it becomes easier for them to make those sales and bring new restaurants on board. Roberts dispelled a few myths about OpenTable, starting with the notion that higher gas prices slow the company's growth. Roberts said that they've seen no correlation between gas prices and their ability to sign on new restaurants. Second, Roberts said that Google ( GOOG) is a partner, not a competitor, with OpenTable after the Google's purchase of Zagat last year. Roberts went on further to note that OpenTable has been great momentum from Europe, especially in the UK, despite the fact that many expected weakness in the region. When asked about the company's failed "daily deal" product, Spotlight, Roberts said that the product simply didn't resonate with their diners. The initiative didn't suffer at the hands of rivals like Groupon ( GRPN), he said. Cramer said that OpenTable's market cap is too small given the size of the opportunities the company has yet to address. He once again recommended owning the stock.