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Hey Fools,

I'd like to hear what you would like from a free stock picking service. Reply to this post and let me know.

For some back story, a handful of "rising star" analysts here at The Fool have been given a chunk of money to manage -- essentially we've been charged with a test to show our mettle and create a popular (in terms of followers and good investment ideas) free service.

I've been running the Un Portfolio now for a few months (in my spare time) with what I think has the skeleton of a good service. But I want to know what you think. In a perfect world, what would keep you coming back and make you want to "sign up" for a free membership?

Is it monthly stock picks? Is it deeper analysis? Is it educational opportunities (like how to do valuation or competitive analysis)? Would you like to see me talk about my research in videos uploaded to YouTube?Is it more activity? Is it a stable article publishing scedule?

Let me know,


For some more information on the Un Portfolio, go here:
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Honestly, I enjoy the rising star portfolios. However, I don't feel that it's advertised well, so many of the boards are not very active. Perhaps there should be a link on the Fool's homepage that is very noticeable and draws peoples' attention. People aren't going to answer to your questions if they aren't even aware of questions being asked.

What would I want, I am not sure. Companies with big upside and seemingly little downside are always compelling. This article from Andy on ROIC was very interesting to me, and it told a great story.

If you can find stories of your own like this and draw attention to them, I think more people will give you credit. I've read your comments on discussion boards in the past (not this one) and have always found you to be informative and knowledgeable. Other people, however, may not be aware of this...yet?!


P.S. While I do enjoy alternative viewpoints on discussion boards, there's one thing that I don't like. I've seen other people with their rising star's portfolio asking questions like "what do you think" without stating their own viewpoint first. I don't like that. I want to hear what you have to say first. You tell me what you think about a company first. Then, I can combine your knowledge on the stock with my own ideas and ask reasonable questions. Tell me your thoughts and then invite questions. Don't ask me to research a stock and teach you about it. I want to learn. I don't want to be thrown into the internet and be surrounded with so much information that I don't even know where to start.
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I would personally like deeper analysis.
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I'd like to hear what you would like from a free stock picking service.

First of all I like the free part. But hey, you get what you pay for. I realize that a good free service should be a stepping stone to a premium newsletter service.

I like the Rising Stars concept. You are putting your money (the Fool's money) where your mouth is.

On the Rising Stars page I think there should be links to each portifolio set up similar to the "My Score Card" format, that the whole Foolish community can view. Maybe it could be a way to have people sign up for the "My Scorecard" and get viewing access to your Rising Stars portifolios.

The Rising Stars page should have more of a Rising Stars homepage feel or social networking feel to it.

I like CAPS. In addition to your real money portifolio you should have a CAPS Un-Portifolio. You could have CAPS picks that follow your particular Un-philosophy with each Un-pick having an Un-pitch. Each Rising Star port would do the same according to the port's philosophy.
Again, a link to each Rising Stars CAPS profile from the Rising Stars Homepage.

That's all the brainstorming I can muster for now.

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I love the idea.

I've been toying with how to institute an official Un Port Watchlist, and CAPS seems like a great way to do it because I can log my incomplete theses, or my "waiting for a better price" comments in the pitch section (functionality not currently built into My Watchlist).

Unfortunately, there isn't much I can do about the marketing of Rising Stars, or about the homepage buildout. Though I'm in total agreement with your thoughts. When they told us that the individual RS pages were only going to link to our Buy/Sell articles, not to our other articles, I declared the homepage inadequate and built the highly inefficient, but much more customizable, Un Port Wiki page. At least there I can communicate more fully my investing style and link to all articles.

I love the CAPS integration though, and will definitely put that on my short list.

Thanks for the thoughts,

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Would love to know what Un means. You Tube video's of stock pick's and why you like them would be great, I use an Ipad and it doesn't have Flash.
This is first I have heard of what you guys are doing, How do we join?

I love the idea of stock picks across the board, not worrying about if it is a SA or RB or II etc.

Looking forward to see where this goes,
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Thanks for joining the conversation. Unfortunately, your story is indicative of one of the major problems -- no one knows the Rising Star story!

This will get you up to speed:

This is the Rising Star Homepage:

* At the bottom of this page you can watch a video from Tom Gardner explaining the concept.
* Each of the photos will send you to the official home page for each Rising Star

Because we have no control over those home pages, I've created my own:

* You can read all about what "Un" is there
* There is also a link to several articles that explain the concept of "Un"
* There is also a link to a (very short) video that explains the concept of "Un"

And most importantly, there is a repository of all the articles that I have written that fall under the Rising Star mandate.

Hope this helps! Be sure to provide feedback if you have any, I'd love to hear it!

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No. of Recommendations: 5

Sorry it took so long to get back to this question.

Honestly there is very little you can do to encourage membership within the DIY experienced veteran crowd. The DIY crowd has their own way of doing things. They are willing to accept ideas from a broad array of sources. They may be intrigued, for a while, by a methodology that is unlike theirs or could possible supplement theirs. Personally, I rarely care where the idea came from or worry much about the source; I'll check out the idea for myself and see if it fits my needs and methods.

The target audiences for this type of service are those that want more direct assistance and those trying to become more DIY self sufficient. Combining teaching with broad based research may serve both groups well. The learners want to see how its done, how its used and why it matters. The folks looking for more assistance want a clear thesis supported by data surrounded by more research which reassures them that they are being given enough information to make a decision.

The final problem every service like this runs into is the problem of style. How you pick stocks to analyze and your methods of analysis are shaped by your overarching market views, broad methodologies and finally are fitted/tailored by your personality. The best way to run a high quality fund is to do it your way. The very nature of successful portfolio management eliminates a significant population of investors.

The worst thing you can do when explaining any of your picks is to fail to explain when and why you would sell. Most professionally crafted analysis produced by the industry at best gives vague targets and reasons for selling. Very few quality newsletters explain at the time of the buy suggestion when a sale should be considered. This is actually really poor advice and it drives continued subscriptions because subscribers have to subscribe long enough to find out when to sell.

For a quality investment choice to be made the whole picture, to the best or our ability, needs to be assessed. This means before we plunk down our hard earned cash on an asset we need to know what price to buy, what price/conditions for continued hold, what prices/conditions compel a sale.

Isn't it odd that when we research a product like a car we have the lifespan of the car in mind at purchase but this often is treated as an afterthought when it comes to stock picking? When we shop for a car we consider its cost, its value, its serviceability for the purpose of purchase and we consider its lifespan, its depreciation/resale value and its replacement cost. Is it fair to assume that the person who leases or buys a new vehicle every 3 years may have different criteria than the person who plans on driving that car until it is a pile of rust in the driveway?

Stock picking is easy, any moron can buy a stock. Making money buying, holding and selling assets takes more effort, diligence and intelligence.

Assume an intelligent audience and write for them.

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Personally, I would welcome to opportunity to follow the valuation / competitive arrive at the staock pick1

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