Investing 101

The Three C’s of Successful Investing

During my career, I’ve learned to rely on a systematic approach to investing. This has led to my success, record-breaking gains and a bevy of awards.

It’s also why, years ago, I developed my basic criteria for finding the next Amazon, Facebook or Netflix. Basically, the next life-changing stock.

I call them my three C’s: Connectivity, Content and Community.

Now, these criteria don’t exclusively pertain to technology companies. They apply to any company that relies on the modern consumer.

An increasing number of consumers are doing their shopping on the internet. We see this every quarter as brick-and-mortars struggle and e-commerce companies soar. This is where Connectivity is key.

If a company doesn’t have a strong enough digital presence, it’s doomed to fail. Especially as consumers continue to abandon traditional stores and malls.

At the same time, retailers are increasingly relying on social media and blogging platforms.

Many of today’s most successful ad campaigns involve “shareable” Content, whether it’s a viral video, blog post or public endorsement from a celebrity.

Companies that don’t embrace these new platforms are virtually guaranteed to lose market share. And this is why content is critical.

Finally, in the social media age we’re in, consumers are even more loyal to the brands they enjoy.

They “Like” and follow their favorite brands on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They feel invested in those companies.

Smart retailers are leveraging these Community relationships and turning them into sales.

Last year was the worst year for the markets in a decade. But stocks that embraced my three C’s largely outperformed.


Etsy (Nasdaq: ETSY), the online crafts site, gained more than 125%.

Online education company Chegg (NYSE: CHGG) spiked more than 72%.

Semiconductor Advanced Micro Devices (Nasdaq: AMD) finished the year up nearly 50%, despite the tech sell-off. As did online travel site TripAdvisor (Nasdaq: TRIP).

Of course, Amazon, IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IAC), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Twitter (Nasdaq: TWTR) all outperformed. As did online furniture company Wayfair (NYSE: W).

At the other end of the spectrum, Amplify Online Retail ETF (Nasdaq: IBUY) shares ended 2018 down a little more than 4%. But that was half of what traditional retail’s SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSE: XRT) lost.

Google parent Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) also underperformed the market.

Social media platform Snap (NYSE: SNAP) lost more than 62% in 2018. That’s because it’s in a losing battle against Facebook and Twitter.

For most of us, the internet is simply a fact of life at this point.

Our entire day revolves around it in some form or another. But the swift and massive shift online still caught retailers off guard.

I know from years of covering and investing in the sector that it’s always been a fickle beast. Brands go in and out of favor, and consumer tastes evolve.

It’s sad that so many retailers are continuing to struggle in the shift toward digital. And some are so far behind, they’ll never catch up.

They’re headed the way of J.C. Penney and Sears.

For investors looking to avoid those pitfalls, my three C’s can be your guide.

The best companies will use a variety of the three criteria to drive double-digit increases in revenue.

And that means they’ll likely succeed, even in down years.

Good investing,