Picking Stocks

The Number Crunchers love all sorts of indexes and ratios when picking stocks. But R&D/price and debt ratios and PEGs only tell part of the story. What about some other measures to treasure?

Marketing Multipliers: Gotta have cool designs, great names, famous brands, smiley sultra-models / likeability. Tricky to assess: Sometimes ugly stuff is perceived as cool.

Service Smarts: Gotta please those customers. Who does the best job?

Incompletely Tapped Addictiveness: If only I’d known that the demand for cellphones and celltexttalk could be so infinite. Or that the coffee habit, with Market Multipliers and Service Smarts, could propel Starbucks to the stars … and every neighborhood.

What other indefinable insights could identify a hot stock? Good karma? No, doubt that. Some highly successful companies don’t have much morality on their side. Organizability? Sure, it’s key to know how to clone and regenerate over and over again. But how to measure that? Again, an impression, a perception … of how stores are organized, how each department shows care, how every facet seems to matter. For example, Disney has amazing organizability: Orchestrating herds to theme parks and movies. I wonder: Do any companies specialize in this? Is that what IBM has become? Is that how Wal-Mart ascended so supremely? How about Futurification? Notice the hidden “terrific” in this coinage. Apple’s the kind of forward-thinking corporation that epitomizes this trait. And how about Relentlessness? The aggressive persistence that looks to tap every opportunity, cash in on every corner. Microsoft, great example. But let’s not forget Enron and other Icaruses that flew too high. So how about Hubrinoia? That’s fear of pride, or at least the recognition that good times might not last, you might just have been lucky, so don’t press it, don’t count your lucky stars because they just might supernova. Reinventiveness? Can’t keep doing the same thing over and over … or else. I was thinking The Gap and other retailers. But newspapers are another counterexample.

But how to quantity these things? Let’s make this assertion: The micro reveals the macro. The evidence is in the details in every product and service. If it can’t be counted and ratio-ized, it can be sensed. You just get that good feel.

Of course, maybe this all makes as much sense as the Kit for Reading Tea Leaves.

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