No. of Recommendations: 2
I am just wondering what happened to BMW and where is he ? I have followed this board from the beginning and have always loved his motivational style even though I was a skeptic about his method....

And then kelbon happened - which was good in the sense he brought some sanity and contrast to the otherwise one sided BMW Method and the followers...

However, I still miss BMW posts and am wondering how is he doing...
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BuildMWell's most recent post was in March. Since then no indications of what became of him (or her).

http://boards.fool.com/rockjcp-says-quotabt-5815-pe-1244-yld...

His CAPs portfolio is still active, but no trades since '08.
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No. of Recommendations: 29
And then kelbon happened

I don't think I deserve all the credit, or blame — depending on how you see things — for chasing away the founder and the followers.

If the method had been as sound as most people who got involved with it had hoped for, then my voice would surely have been quickly drowned out.

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. If everyone was getting superior investing results with the BMW method then this board would still be lighting up like a Christmas tree. It isn't. Unfortunately, when you create monikers like "The BMW Method" you'll likely attract people looking for a magic bullet, and may even believe that you've found one yourself. There are no magic bullets in investing.

I fully endorse the broad methodology that the BMW method embodied: If a stock, with a track record, is exhibiting stock-price weakness, do your due diligence and figure out why, and, if therein lies an investment opportunity. This, after all, was the kernel at the center of the BMW method.

kelbon
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I don't think I deserve all the credit, or blame — depending on how you see things — for chasing away the founder and the followers.

Well, posting history is often interesting.

In 2006 he had over 600 posts.
In 2007 he had around 500 posts.
In 2008 that dropped to 150 or so.
In 2009 there were less than 50.
In 2010 only about 25.
In 2011 roughly 50.
In 2012 maybe 10, total.

I wonder what happened in late 2007? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

I do remember him telling me in 2007 that there was no reason to worry about the banks, that there was too much regulation of them already, and that they wouldn't do anything stupid because that kind of short-term thinking would be harmful to their business.

Coincidence, probably.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
From a post made on 1 February:

The reason that I am not around here as much as I should be is to be blamed on my boat. My wife and I bought a second home in New Bern, NC, and it came with a boat slip. Owning a 40 foot boat slip provides a very good reason for owning a 38 foot boat and, being a BMW Method believer, I just had to apply it to the purchase of a historically under-valued sailboat. Now, I spend my time varnishing teak instead of looking at the stock market. Thus, I am not around TMF like I used to be and my stock portfolio is still looking quite nice.

http://boards.fool.com/quotdenny-im-sorry-to-hear-about-jim-...
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The reason that I am not around here as much as I should be is to be blamed on my boat.

[…]Now, I spend my time varnishing teak instead of looking at the stock market.



At about the same time BMW was blaming his boat I was finishing new kitchen cabinets, ripping an old kitchen out, and installing a new one. Somehow I found time to do other stuff too.

While I was staining and waxing maple cabinets, I was able to steal away now and again and look at the stock market. There must be something about teak that makes this impossible.

kelbon
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No. of Recommendations: 41
Hi kelbon, all!

I don't speak for Jim ( BMW ), but perhaps he decided that he had "enough" money....but realized he only had limited time....and so has chosen to practice the 3L's:

http://boards.fool.com/hi-paul-rather-than-give-you-specific...

Whether one agrees with his investing strategy/tactics ( or his politics), Jim spent a lot of time and energy here and at the BMWM conferences giving freely of his opinions/advice. For that I am grateful, because it allowed me to pick and choose the portions of Jim's investing philosophy that I wanted, and incorporate them into my personal investing strategy.

Having spent time with Jim and his wife on numerous occasions, I can say that their motivation is not money ( they have enough )...and I only wish that we had more Fools with the class and unselfish nature of Jim.

Cheers!
Murph
Home fool
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Murph,

I'm sure Jim is a perfectly nice person, and yes, he did spend a lot of time and energy expressing his opinions and dispensing advice. I'm also sure he did both with the best intentions. He was a great spokesman for his "method" and certainly, for a long time, he believed the verity of it.

I was hoping that Jim would actively endorse and encourage JackCade's weekly Mr. Goodbuy posts. As an emphasis on due diligence was a crucial component of the method I wrongly assumed that, because JackCade's screens were a step in that direction, that Jim would have enthusiastically welcomed the broadening and evolution that they afforded the board. Unfortunately he chose not to.

kelbon
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Who is John Galt?

I think BMW found his own valley to retire to.
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Recommendations: 0
Who is John Galt?

I think BMW found his own valley to retire to.


LOL, as I recall marrying in to the right family didn't hurt matters either.

B
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I was hoping that Jim would actively endorse and encourage JackCade's weekly Mr. Goodbuy posts. As an emphasis on due diligence was a crucial component of the method I wrongly assumed that, because JackCade's screens were a step in that direction, that Jim would have enthusiastically welcomed the broadening and evolution that they afforded the board.

I didn't think of his screens as a step toward due diligence -- I thought he was trying to make the BMW method closer to a form of mechanical investing .... I think of due diligence as delving more into the discursive story and facts that might lie behind the numerical data of the screens.

culcha
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I didn't think of his screens as a step toward due diligence -- I thought he was trying to make the BMW method closer to a form of mechanical investing .... I think of due diligence as delving more into the discursive story and facts that might lie behind the numerical data of the screens.


The screens provided a lot of proprietary information which was hard, or impossible, to access unless you had subscriptions to Value Line and Morningstar, all neatly collated and organized. If you took the time to understand and make sense of the information it was a big step towards whittling down a long list of candidates that merited further investigation. 'Nothing mechanical about it unless you thought you were supposed to buy the top stocks of every screen! —Which, of course, you were not.

I subscribe to Value Line, but appreciated the Morningstar data, much of which I didn't have ready access to. Regardless, without further investigation and thought, the screens weren't intended as a list of stock recommendations. But, I'm speaking out of turn, only JackCade can tell you for sure what he had in mind :)

Each to his own. I subscribe to Value Line mainly for the neatly formated and chronological data. I ignore their screens and usually only give a passing thought to the analysts' commentaries on individual stocks. Everyone has their priorities and ways of interpreting and using resources.

kelbon
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No. of Recommendations: 8
Based on this thread its easy to see why he'd post less. There is enough knowledge about the method that anyone can understand. Yes, its not perfect and he's not perfect, but its free advice on a message board, BMW has done more to educate than 99.9% of the other posters at MF. At this point there is no reason to bring up points already argued about a while ago. Either you think the method has value or you don't, just because you post more consistently doesn't ever mean you've won. We can rehash DRL or WM a million times and pretend MO or DUK were never mentioned, but what is the point? Why get worked up over a few people who are more interested in cheap shots for recs or sense of self-worth than an exchange of ideas?
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kelbon,
please post your method of picking stocks
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Why get worked up over a few people who are more interested in cheap shots for recs or sense of self-worth than an exchange of ideas?

Because boards are wrecked and we are all poorer for it. I've seen three boards destroyed this way in the past few years.

Denny Schlesinger
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No. of Recommendations: 43
kelbon,
please post your method of picking stocks



This may seem like a simple question, but being on the receiving end of it, it isn't. It's true to say that I don't have a "method" as such, I have proclivities which sometimes prove profitable and sometimes lead me astray.

The ramble that follows for the next several paragraphs amounts to "know thyself" and do something about it! This may not be helpful to anyone else, but perhaps, putting it down in writing might just be a little nudge in the right direction for me.

I'm sometimes too cheap and sometimes too passive. Note the use of the word "too" —twice no-less. Being cheap and passive, in most arenas of life, doesn't usually lead to satisfactory outcomes, in investing however these traits can be successful and profitable strategies. A goal of mine is to eliminate those two "toos."

More specifically, how am I too cheap? A good stock will sometimes fall to a price that I know, in all probability, is a good price. My problem sometime is that I'll wait, hope against hope, that the price will drop into ridiculously cheap territory; it almost never does, quite the opposite, usually and the price rises to a point where I'm ambivalent, and then not interested, and then the bird has flown.

How am I too passive? Greed, and ironically, lack of fear. Greed first: when a stock I own hits a new high and logic dictates that here is an opportunity to take profits and move on, I usually don't. I suppose what is going on in my pea brain is the thought that if it's spiked out of its range then it can still go higher and then I'll take my profits. It usually doesn't and I don't. I usually goes down again. To add clarity to this observation I have different flavors of stocks, though when I buy them, with a few exceptions, I hope that they're all going to be the same flavor: the very long-term or forever flavor. If a stock that has been a winner over the years has a modest price spike I'm usually not tempted to sell. When a stock that has had a set-back and is digging itself out of a hole and has a price spike, then is the time for serious due diligence because in all probability it is the time to sell. Often I'll just sit there with my mouth open and a silly look on my face and wait for its renewed death-rattle.

Lack of fear: unfortunately my cavalier attitude doesn't serve me as it might. What I tend to do is watch the stock price of a company I own head downwards, a lot, often with good reason. I'm not worried, even when I should be. I'll tell myself that this is temporary and things will right themselves and sometimes this is true. Other times it isn't. I'm too slow in cutting bait and taking a relatively modest loss. I'm not so bad at watering the flowers, or at least letting them grow in peace, but I'm bad at yanking out the weeds. I'll look at my brokerage statement and think I really should weed this garden, but hey, those weeds just might turn back into flowers. Note to self: they almost never do. However, you do have to take all this in context. If the whole market is seriously crashing a lot of flowers look an awful lot like weeds. They are not; they are roses on sale.

A little history…

OK, enough of this self indulgence. When I first had more money than I could reasonably justify sticking in a savings account and forgetting about (though given the last 12 years, I wonder if it wouldn't have been a good idea) I had no clue whatsoever about investing, why would I? I'd not had money to invest. Long story short after blindly flailing helplessly in the dark room of "The Mystery of Money Management" and hitting my head against one wall after another I took myself to the library and sat myself down with a copy of Value Line. I'd read that Warren Buffett, when he was young, religiously scoured through every page. Not a bad example to follow I thought. All the numbers made very little sense to me. In school math was absolutely my worst subject. Anything to do with numbers sent me into a cloud of confusion and indifference. What use is this to me, I'd ask my teacher, I'm never going to need to know any of this stuff once I'm grown up. Hello, reality check! 'Truth be told you don't need complicated math to invest, in fact doing complicated math with an investing goal in mind can, I've decided, be self defeating.

If math was my worst subject in school my best was the visual arts. I'm a very visual person (how can you people live with those curtains? Yuk!) So, after hopelessly struggling with the mysteries of Value Line visual patterns started to emerge. This might seem strange coming from me because I've repeatedly said I'm not a big fan of charts because how you draw them can lead to erroneous conclusions just as you pose a question in a survey can too.

What I did pay attention to was the visual representation of the progress, or lack of, a stock's price over the years and how that seemed to relate to the impressive array of sequential numbers presented underneath. Hmm, low P/E coupled with low debt and good returns on equity often led to a rising stock price, etc. Things finally started to make some sense. Once things started to get interesting, rather than mystifyingly confusing, I was motivated to start digging deeper, though I'm a very slow digger and sometimes change my mind about what it is I've dug up.

And there you have it. I subscribe to Value Line and when the printed addition arrives once a week I sit down with my cup of coffee and pour over it (I try not to pour the coffee over it.) Over the years its become easier to identify the good companies that doggedly persist through thick and thin. Unfortunately, a lot of those companies' stocks are far from cheap, and, remember being too cheap is one of my problems. In addition to subscribing to Value Line I subscribe to one Morningstar newsletter: StockInvestor. This I take with a pinch of salt because I sometimes consider the editor and equities strategist out of his mind. Loading up on Facebook shares? You nut-case.

Balance sheets, income statements, and cash-flow statements were a stumbling block to me for years, but eventually the mists started to clear and although I'm far from adept at navigating their nuances I usually get the general idea. I'll look at these statements along with Value Line data on companies that peek my interest or I am following. Sometimes, I'll also quickly eliminate a prospect with a quick look if one comes to my attention via a posting on TMF, however convoluted and extensive the post might be. (For instance yes, all very interesting, but this company carries so much debt that it's financial position, if not now, could quickly become tenuous and this debt explains the supposedly high returns on equity the company reports —or some such.)

So what I need to remind myself of is:
Keep it simple
Be attracted to good companies, not cheap junk,
Don't be cheap: pay a good price, you don't need to pay the lowest price.
Be fearful, when you should be! which leads to:
Pull the weeds; water the flowers.
Don't panic, carry on…

I don't know if this is any help whatsoever, but it was fun writing it.

kelbon
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I thought of this remark by JackCade about the Mr. Goodbuy lists: He said the lists and the data were supposed to be a mechanical approach to finding BMWm candidate stocks.

I never thought that it was advisable to buy the top stocks on a given list, and I myself really only paid attention to lists that took the dividend yield into account. I pretty much ignored the other lists.

But then, I thought, the next step would have been to back-test the screens -- as one does with any mechanical method -- and find the one which was most useful in predicting BMWm success.

But, now that I think about it, the BMW method was not really ONE method that lent itself to back-testing, but a whole family of methods that probably varied a lot from person to person. (As I indicated above, I myself considered dividends as part of the BMW method, but I can imagine that others would use the method without regard to dividends.) Some people (like Jim) probably used the BMW method to great effect; others (like me) struggle with trying to use it.

culcha
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Because boards are wrecked and we are all poorer for it. I've seen three boards destroyed this way in the past few years.

Killing the messenger achieves nothing.

No small minority of people can wreck a board, that is unless a board is primed, willing, and able to be wrecked.

Q —How many psychotherapists does it take to change a light bulb?

A —Only one, but the light bulb must be really motivated to change.

kelbon
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No. of Recommendations: 5
Killing the messenger achieves nothing.

We kill pests, parasite and bacteria all the time to stay healthy. We kill weeds to preserve the useful crops. We put murderers to death. Messengers are one thing, killers are another. Don't confuse them.

And don't get me wrong, pests, parasite, bacteria and weeds have no ill intent. Yet they are still harmful.

Denny Schlesinger
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Because boards are wrecked and we are all poorer for it. I've seen three boards destroyed this way in the past few years.

We kill pests, parasite and bacteria all the time to stay healthy. We kill weeds to preserve the useful crops. We put murderers to death. Messengers are one thing, killers are another. Don't confuse them.



Denny, half the time I don't know if you're just being flippant and contrary in a light way, or if you are actually angry and upset. Unfortunately, there is no tone of voice or facial expression to accompany the written word.

If people posted "on topic" rather than spending their time complaining about what they, rightly or wrongly, perceive as complaining — whether tongue in cheek, or with genuine anger — perhaps boards wouldn't be so easily "destroyed?" (This is the groove you seem to be in at the moment!)

I have no idea whether you consider me a pest, parasite, etc. etc. with the other posters who sometimes disagreed with BMW and his method. But, almost without exception, there was reasoning and logic laid out in a relevant context in contrary posts. If a poster can't stand to have his views and assertions questioned and debated then likely there's little verity to them in the first place. It's an unfortunate truth that the amount of posts, effort, and generosity expended in sharing a "method" doesn't make something so that isn't.

When it came down to it the "BMW method" simply boiled down to: identify stocks that are experiencing a depressed stock price trend and then try and find out why. The identification can easily be done (without the hocus-pocus of "RMS" etc.) just by looking at any one of the readily available long-term stock price charts.

You can inflate the simple short core paragraph above with an enormous volume of the written equivalent of hot air, but when a pin pricks the balloon it pops and shrivels up. Is this not what happened here?

At the expense of repeating myself: one or two contrary posters can't wreck a board if it's sound, healthy, and active. Just as a balanced level of bacteria doesn't damage a healthy body, the bacteria makes it stronger.

kelbon
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I have no idea whether you consider me a pest, parasite, etc. etc. with the other posters who sometimes disagreed with BMW and his method.

What I think or don't think about you is irrelevant and I had not made a statement about it one way or another but now I will:

You are not a messenger. You are your own agent just as I am mine.

and:

Because boards are wrecked we are all poorer for it.

Denny Schlesinger
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In case my last post was not clear, I believe we should take responsibility for our actions. We are not messengers of any higher or lower power. We are free willed agents acting in our own self interest.

Denny Schlesinger
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We are not messengers of any higher or lower power.

Denny, I'm sure you know that "don't shoot the messenger" is a metaphoric phrase and none of the words therein should be taken literally! :)


We are free willed agents acting in our own self interest.

I should hope so. It behooves everyone to ask questions and try to get to the truth, as much as is possible, about other peoples' perspectives and advise concerning all things financial. It's your money!

kelbon
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Denny, I'm sure you know that "don't shoot the messenger" is a metaphoric phrase and none of the words therein should be taken literally! :)

I'm not the one trying to wiggle my way out of something.

Denny Schlesinger


BTW: Don't take that literally, I don't mean a physical "move or cause to move up and down or from side to side with small rapid movements" to extract yourself from a "physical hole or crack." It's "metaphoric!" LOL
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Based on this thread its easy to see why he'd post less.

Hmm. I'm not so sure. It could be he didn't like being hounded and challenged as much as he was, sure, that makes sense, but perhaps it's a bit more complicated. When you aggressively stick your neck out and are proved by events, not posters, to be demonstratively and definitively wrong that can sometimes lead to withdrawal and contrition. Just a speculation.

I went back and looked at a few posts and I was drawn to one because of it's title line: "What a Jerk!" The jerk in question was Alan Greenspan. I would be the first to agree that Greenspan has been a jerk; being an acolyte of Ayn Rand for instance. But this was far from what BMW had in mind.

http://boards.fool.com/what-a-jerk-25880095.aspx?sort=recomm...

The post starts: Today, the market dropped like a stone to a large degree because Alan Greenspan ran off at the mouth. He needs to learn to keep his trap shut

What did Greenspan open his "trap" about in September '07? He observed that the behavior of the market in the preceding seven weeks was reminiscent in many respects to 1998 and the stock market crash of 1987. Greenspan was right, not only that it was reminiscent but it was predictive. We all know what happened in short order.

BMW goes on:

I think Alan Greenspan should spend some time showing Mike's BMW charts to his friends. That would tell the true story much better and it would stop the silliness on the street. Mr. Breenspan has allowed himsoef to become a big piece of the manipulation. He needs to stop that silliness.

I think this is a perfect oportunity to pick up some bargains. Mr. Market is having a sale and we need to be shopping for underpriced securities. Remember, for every seller that these gloom and doom stories create, there is a buyer who knows what he is buying and why.

In a sad sort of way, I guesswe should thank Alan Greenspan for providing such a great opportunity. However, I feel sorry for the suckers who were manipulated into selling great companies at their low price. That is just wrong, but that is a part of this game called investing. The key to success is to learn how to not be the sucker.


Perhaps BMW's hubris and easy way with words, even in this one post, given what came next, was one step along the road to withdrawal and submission.

Just sayin'

kelbon
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Jim bought one of the older houses in downtown New Bern and was spending weekends and so on working on it and the boat and still running his business in Charlotte which is several hours away. That's a lot of work even if the "second job" (and third) was next door. I can understand the attitude about financials if you lived in the shadow of BoA pre-2008 or even if you looked at what has transpired post 2008.

It may look like it due to the bluffs surrounding it but New Bern is definitely not in anything resembling a "valley". The whole area is only a few feet above sea level. I live in there area too.
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I fully endorse the broad methodology that the BMW method embodied: If a stock, with a track record, is exhibiting stock-price weakness, do your due diligence and figure out why, and, if therein lies an investment opportunity. This, after all, was the kernel at the center of the BMW method.


Not just the kernel but that describes the method to a tee.
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Denny and kelbon are both posters that I'm grateful for, even if they end up at odds more often than not. :)

BMW as well was a great person to learn from- I hope he is doing well.
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