Latest Performance
Originally uploaded by rustedrobot.

It’s been a while since I reported anything on the two stocks I bought 16 months ago. As a quick reminder, the two companies whose stock I purchased:

MEMC: a leading global supplier of wafers to the semiconductor industry. These wafers are the fundamental building block on which nearly all microelectronic applications are made. MEMC does a lot of business in the world of computers (hence, semiconductors), but the reason I bought it is because they are in a terrific position to take advantage in the emerging field of renewable energy, specifically solar technologies. It has, evidenced by the graphic at the right, paid off handsomely for me, with a 119% return on investment.

Evergreen Solar: Evergreen Solar is a developer and manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules – the engines of solar electric systems – used in remote power and emerging grid-connected markets. Again, I bought into a company who is in position to be a leader in the solar market. This one hasn’t worked out as well thus far, as I’ve lost 7%, but I’m still long on it. I haven’t had a single day when I’ve thought of selling it, in fact. I think their upside is tremendous and the drop in their stock price might be attributed to the folks who plow money in and out of these technologies in tandem with oil prices. I’m sticking with this.

All told, the gains I’ve seen in MEMC have greatly subsidized the losses in Evergreen. Total sum: a 54.7% return on my investment, which I’ll take any day of the week. It’s lower than last time I posted, but who would ever complain about a 54% ROI?

Sad music news this morning, as expert steel player “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow has died. Not many people know the name, but his presence in the hugely influential Flying Burrito Brothers was, to say the least, an important one. His proficiency on his instrument earned him additional work with the likes of The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Ringo Starr, Jackson Browne , and Linda Ronstadt. Not bad. I was shocked, however, to learn of another side of Kleinow’s life which I never even knew existed: a career in special effects and film animation. Some of his special effects work can be found in movies like “The Empire Strikes Back,” “The Terminator,” and “Gremlins.”

Now THAT is a full life! RIP, Sneaky.

Finally, I’ve been talking to a LOT of people lately about the business of music. I keep telling people repeatedly that it is only a matter of time before a major artist takes all their business and sucks it entirely into their own website or company, completely cutting out the record label. Mark my words: this is going to happen. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal details a similar plan for the New York City based band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The band released their first album on their own and sold 122,000 copies of it and are on the verge of releasing their second album next week in much the same manner. They are not the major artist I predicted, but they’re big enough where it warrants attention. Marketing might be a problem for them, but it wouldn’t be for someone like, say, Bruce Springsteen. It’s coming. Someday soon, a budding entrepreneur is going to come up with a new model in the music business that works. And just like Smartfood, I’ll say to myself “why the HELL didn’t I think of that?”