Umberto Eco, in his studies of mass media and culture, has an essay on popular new devices. His thesis is that they start out by being used by the wealthy and then get used by the common man, and lose much of their value from the law of diminishing marginal returns.

He uses the railroad and cell phones as examples. I have found that many new things like the smart phone have decreased their marginal productivity. Studies show that 30% of users sleep with their smart phone next to their bed. I have not had the displeasure of being interrupted in romance by a smart phone ringing yet and answered, but I am told it is common.

What are the implications of this for market analysis, especially of individual stocks.  I find that my past research which did not use "as is" files and was heavily dependent on compustat is deeply flawed. Indeed my approach seems flawed. I am trying to improve for the future. My kids seem to make money with their stock purchases based strictly on the future growth of popular products among the younger generation. I wonder how to improve.

Thomas Miller writes:

Maybe Peter Lynch was on to something although I don't see how his "method" can be quantified.


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