Thursday, April 9, 2015

It Never Hurts to Ask

The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.
Thomas Berger
A well-worded question posed at the right time to the right person can change a life.

After hearing a news report about the Beatles phenomenon in England, 15-year-old Marsha Albert wrote to her local Washington, D.C. radio station and asked, "Why can't we have music like that here in America?" Inspired by Marsha's question, disk jockey Carroll James managed to get a copy of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" from a British flight attendant and introduced the song to his WWDC radio audience on December 17, 1963. Within minutes, requests for the record flooded the station. Within days, radio stations all across the United States were playing the song. And Capital Records was forced to release it on December 26th, three weeks earlier than scheduled.

According to Bruce Spizer, author of "The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America", when the band appeared on Ed Sullivan's TV show on February 9, 1964, 73 million people -- an unprecedented 40% of the U.S. population at the time -- watched. "There's no doubt whatsoever that the Beatles would have conquered America anyway," Beatles historian Martin Lewis told USA Today. "But the speed and magnitude of that stratospheric kick-off could not have happened without Marsha Albert. If the record had been released on January 13th, as planned, kids wouldn't have heard it 20 times a day, as they did during the school break. It would never have sold 1 million copies in three weeks. There wouldn't have been 10,000 kids at JFK to greet the Beatles. Marsha didn't start Beatlemania. She jump-started it."

That's what a single, simple question can do. 

It's no different when it comes to trading and investing, ask questions. One great source of trading and investing ideas are companies based your local area, no matter where you live. About 30 years ago when I was a broker at the then Bache & Co., one of the other brokers in the office came to me and asked what do you know about Rogers Corporation, then listed on the Amex? My response, almost nothing, why I asked? I drive by their plant everyday on my way into the office, and recently I've noticed what seems to be a much larger than normal amount of trucks entering and leaving the plant, they must be doing some great business. [Rogers Corp is located in Rogers, Connecticut, a small hamlet in the eastern part of this small state] 

We both looked up reports on the company via the many research outfits such as S&P but found nothing particularly exciting. We decided to begin asking everyone we knew, clients, friends, other brokers who do you know at this company? Within about a week or so one of our clients, come to find out was good friends with a director of the company. We asked if he could set up a dinner with us? This director was more than anxious to talk about his company. In fact he was so excited about talking to some Wall-Street folk that he wouldn't allow us to pick up the tab (a nice side benefit to asking questions). We found out that business was indeed taking off and more new customers were coming on board very
rapidly. In fact they needed to hire a great deal more people in order to take care of all the new business. We became privy to information not widely known at the time.  And all because a question was asked!

All this occurred during the primary bear market of the 1970's. This stock was trading around $3 or $4 a share, today (after several stock splits) it trades in the 80's. Look in your local area and Ask questions! What's the worst that could happen? You find nothing that excites you? What's the best that can happen? You find a gold mine!

1 comment:

Saee said...


Interesting perspective, will continue to be curious.