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Subject:  A Fool's Future Story Date:  3/30/2007  10:49 AM
Author:  deadcat2 Number:  5225 of 8357

The year is 2011 and CAPS has now been up and running for about 5 years. It's recognized as one of the most interesting and comprehensive databases of investor sentiment and behavior regarding stock picks over the previous half decade. There are now over 90,000 active players. TMFEldrehad has dropped from the Top Ten list some time ago - though he still remains a highly rated All Star - choosing instead to spend more time with his wife and children, having vowed not to miss their formative years. Another player, StockObsession, burst upon the scene a few years ago and displaced all other Top Fools, having over 4,500 total picks and a total Score of 8,927! The TMF staff has been diligently adding a multitude of new charms to recognize all the thresholds that are being broken by StockObsession in particular, and many of the players in general. Incidentally, in real life StockObsession is a hot dog vendor who sets her cart up every day in the financial district of New York City.

AssetMangler, told years ago no one was forcing him to play the game and if he didn't like it, he could quit and build his own game, did just that. While many thought the game more "real" and a better learning tool, the whole Betamax vs. VHS lesson became clear again and the Mangler learned that the miracle of marketing is always a driver for commercial success. "Better" doesn't always win.

To respond to the apparent demand for a portfolio management-based game, a couple years ago TMF included an additional tab for all players who signed up and paid a one-time fee. They are provided a scorecard for their portfolio, viewable by everyone in CAPS. The one-time fee loads his/her account with $100,000, and a virtual "trading fee" of $10 is assessed for each stock transaction. A player can declare bankruptcy at any time, and if they pay the fee again, their account will be reloaded with another $100,000. A record of all bankruptcies is maintained for all to see. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprising, is the fact that the cream of this crop is quite different from the top players who might be measured by other criteria. And so, another level of data (and subscription revenue) has been successfully and brilliantly harvested:)

Another move that smacked of genius was when TMF recognized that the more "winners" there were, the more players might be apt to play. In addition to the Player Ratings which tended to reward the quantity of picks, winners were also recognized in Top Ten Lists for Best Returns, Sector Experts, Multi-Bagger Gurus, Bankruptcy Pros, Momentum Mavens, Value Virtuosos and Portfolio Hotshots. There are many ways to succeed in the investing game and as TMF recognized more of the different approaches investors might employ, another level of interest and data mining tools were generated.

Today I'm applying some filters and doing a few sorts in the regular CAPS to see what stocks might be worth researching further. The cool thing is that the system now allows a player to save a handful of custom "screens" they've created. Since I haven't done this before, I'm building my own screening tools today.

I'm looking for recent picks from long term players who've done well. First I use the Best Returns lucky charm and look at the list (which I pare down to the top 5% only) sorted