(Confessions of a Stock Operator)
Start Date: 9/20/2018
One Up On [The] Street
I arrived at the Apple (AAPL) store around 9:30am but was told the store didn’t open until 10. I had a lot to do that day but remaining in step with my goal to become a more patient person, I decided not to fuss.
I took the extra time to visit the nearby Starbucks (SBUX)- -remember it’s Pumpkin Spice season and the last time I went to Starbucks…
…well, that story was already written.
With coffee in hand, I made my way to the Apple store. The first thing I noticed was the crowd. Notably, there really wasn’t any.
As an investor, you pay attention to these sorts of things, but for reasons entirely different than non-investors.
A few years ago, I read a book by millionaire investor, Peter Lynch titled: “One Up On Wall Street”. The book convincingly argued that the retail investor can use what they already know to make money in the stock market. Lynch states, “by simply observing business developments and taking notice of your immediate world—from the mall to the workplace”; the average retail investor can pick winning stocks just as effectively as Wall Street professionals by doing a little research.
If I am to take Lynch’s word for it, what observation can be drawn by no lines at the Apple store the day after a major product launch?
I am not sure!
At any rate, my visit to the Apple store wasn’t to do research to inform investments; I just needed to replace my laptop charger. As a trader and business owner, as the kids would say, ‘my laptop is life’.
I am not sure who approached whom first. The Apple employee greeting potential customers outside or myself. I guess it doesn’t really matter. What I did take notice of was his pleasantries during each customer interaction.
I will admit, I was very impressed. And then it hit me.
That must be their [the] winning formula?
It isn’t necessarily their innovative nature.
It isn’t the quality of their products (this is my 3rd charger replacement in less than 3 years).
It isn’t necessarily the reliability of their products. (Notes crashed about 5x during this draft write up)
It must be the customer experience!
I have heard this message before. Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon (AMZN) also made a similar commitment. Here are a few quotes from his 1997 letter to shareholders:
We will continue to focus relentlessly on our customers
Obsess Over Customers
A few things I learned and observed during my time at Apple on a Saturday morning.
Disclaimer: I am/We are long Starbucks (SBUX).
Tina "ShortMeTina" Ley (pronounced Lee) holds a Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology and a Master's of Science in Mental Health Counseling and has been a stock market participant for over a decade. Currently a Full-Time Trader and Blogger of all things financial.