Ever had a helping of humble pie? Me neither. But it sounds absolutely disgusting. Of course, there's also that idiomatic meeting -- and I've had plenty of that in my lifetime.
But this article isn't about me. It's about Todd W. No, that's too obvious. It's about T. Wenning. OK, I gave it away now. This article is about my Foolish colleague Todd Wenning, who at my last check, is barely a better investor than his fiancee, Kate, a self-described novice investor, in Motley Fool CAPS. (They're both rated higher than I am, of course, but like I said, this article isn't about me.)
Back to the burning questions
So what the heck is CAPS, who the heck is Todd, and why should any of us care? First things first. CAPS is a brand new (and free) community intelligence database that we're beta-testing at The Motley Fool. It simply asks you to state whether the stock of your choosing will beat or lag the S&P 500. In turn, your investing skills are measured based on accuracy and magnitude, and every stock is rated based on investor sentiment (using a top-secret algorithm that weights for various factors).
With thousands of investors, including Wall Street pros, already rating stocks and being rated, you can see how the system is bringing the best minds together to identify the best stocks.
Now, Todd isn't one of the "best" minds, but he's a pretty good investor, making solid calls on strong consumer brands such as Under Armour
That track record has Todd rated respectably, but it's a little too close for his liking to that of his fiancee, Kate. She's pursued a buy-what-she-knows tack, making calls on Crocs
Of course, Kate's been participating in CAPS for only a week now, so her results aren't what we'd call statistically significant. Moreover, who knows whether her results -- or Todd's -- will hold up over any meaningful time frame. But here's what Kate, Todd, and every other CAPS investor do offer: A unique Main Street perspective on companies and their products that is far too often omitted from professional analyst reports. For example, you won't hear Kate talk about J. Crew as a multichannel retailer with a cohesive brand image -- as Wachovia Securities did in a recent report. Instead, you'll hear about its great customer service and stylish fall lineup.
Both perspectives are absolutely crucial -- as Peter Lynch would tell you -- to developing a coherent investment thesis for a stock.
The Foolish bottom line
The magic of CAPS is that it's bringing together investors -- some pros, some amateurs -- with very different areas of expertise to help us all become better investors. If you're not a bride-to-be, perhaps you're not up on the recent trends at J. Crew. Similarly, if you're a Luddite of sorts, you might not be aware of all of the gadgets and whozits that Apple believes will revolutionize the way we're entertained.
CAPS -- and its thousands of minds -- can help you on both counts. If you'd like to see what CAPS thinks of your stocks, click here to join the beta test for free. And if you'd like to add your own ratings to the system, well, good luck beating Kate.