I'm a huge fan of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). That shouldn't surprise to those who know me; I've been a satisfied subscriber (and shareholder) since 2002. The convenience of home-delivered DVDs is great, but I don't think it's the greatest Netflix advantage. Instead, in getting to know you a little better, it's able to improve your film-watching experience.

Whenever you return a disc and rate it on the site's five-star grading scale, Netflix is able to tap into what other films previous viewers with a similar opinion also liked. Do it once or twice, and you may wind up with some pretty good flicks. Go through hundreds of ratings, like many of the five million Netflix subscribers have, and you'll be floored at how well Netflix knows you.

This isn't an eatery's waiter trying to upsell you to a pricey chef's special. This isn't a retail clerk trying to ring you up for a high-margin extended warranty plan. This is an automated reflection of, quite frankly, you. I have 692 DVD picks waiting for me under my Netflix Recommendations tab, because sometimes, it knows me better than my own parents.

From film picks to stock picks
Wouldn't it be great if you could apply that same kind of networking know-how to unearth stocks that might appeal to you? After all, the old-fashioned way is flawed.

For example, if you buy shares of Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) because you believe in satellite radio, logic may find you going long XM (NASDAQ:XMSR) as well. Yes, they're rivals, but both are members of a duopoly. There's plenty of market share to go around. Besides, if you believe that the sector itself will be more valuable in the future, you can lock in those perceived gains by anchoring yourself to both players.

Ah, but here's a problem: If you take this approach in building out your holdings, you will not have a diversified portfolio. It's only human nature to buy what is familiar, yet it leaves an investor hogtied to a single theme or two.

At this point, let me introduce you to Motley Fool CAPS. You may already be an active player in the stock-picking simulation, or this may be the first time you've heard of the new site feature. Either way, let me show you a neat way to use it to open up your investing philosophy, much like Netflix widened your consumption of quality flicks.

By going to the Sirius CAPS page, you can absorb a lot of the same data that you'd find in conventional portals -- news, fundamentals, and stock charts, for instance. However, off to the lower left of the page, you'll see the "What the Community Thinks" section.

There, you'll find that 562 of the 688 players feel that Sirius will outperform the market in the future. And right below that, you'll find that way to expand your own investing ideas, as I promised you earlier.

Players bullish on SIRI are also bullish on...
By pooling the collective outperform market calls, CAPS delivers five more stocks to which investors who fancy Sirius have taken a shine. It's a pretty broad collection of possibilities, and it's certainly not the kind of idea-generation you would have experienced under more traditional means.

The five stocks?

  • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)
  • Netflix
  • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
  • Select Comfort (NASDAQ:SCSS)
  • Dell (Nasdaq: DELL

It may seem like a motley crew of public companies, but there are a few common themes here. Netflix and Select Comfort are plays on convenience and leisure, whether it's DVDs by mail or a better night's sleep. Much like fans of Sirius will praise how satellite radio has made things like housework or morning commutes more entertaining, Netflix and Select Comfort have also been improving the quality of leisure.

Apple, Dell, and Microsoft are names we often associate with computing, but they are also all players in digital music. Apple obviously owns the market with its iPod. Dell has been gradually backing away, in favor of selling third-party players on its site. Microsoft is gearing up for the release of Zune later this year.

Either way, it's not as if you have to tie all six of the stocks to a Kevin Bacon film to make this work. In fact, the looser the connection, the better; it indicates more independent thinking and a better shot to truly diversify your portfolio.

Something for the bears
The resources don't end there, of course. You can also check out the five stocks that Sirius bears also frown upon. If you're a fan of Sirius, you can relish the picks as contrarian plays. As it so happens, XM is one of those stocks. If you think Sirius is overvalued, you may find other companies in that list whose price seems far out of whack with your personal tastes.

In a nutshell, this is eHarmony for stock lovers. The community is at your disposal. Use yourself wisely.

Motley Fool CAPS is a new community-driven experience where individual investors pool their knowledge to seek new stock ideas. Are you up for the challenge? Go ahead and give it a shot .

XM is a Rule Breakers newsletter recommendation. Microsoft and Dell are Inside Value selections. Dell and Netflix are Stock Advisor picks. Select Comfort is a Hidden Gems selection.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz believes in taking chances to earn superior returns. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy .