Soup Stock Versus Company Stock

It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving as I type this. (Apologies to those reading from the future.) Many things are on my mind, but on such a day two things dominate – besides the occasional burp. The bird is cooked, so it is time to enjoy the stock and the leftovers. I have a decision to make about my NPTN stock, which I want to act on early next week. Rather that write two posts, I’ve decided to write one and see how much those topics have in common. 


Let’s start with the culinary side because foodies might not want to wade through financial stuff, while I don’t mind making the financial types deal with having patience. 

As I write that I already see a similarity. One tool for good cooking is patience. The key to my investing strategy is the long term, as in Long Term Buy and Hold. Time doesn’t guarantee success in either case, but used wisely time can enable tasty benefits.

More apologies, this time to the foodies. Despite enjoying cooking a feast, I prefer to concentrate on the food, not the photos. I guess that ruins my chances of a YouTube cooking channel – unless someone else wants to hold the camera. 

There’s a turkey shortage? Fine. I bought a capon. Basically it is a chicken, but it is a castrated rooster, so the distinction was probably significant to that bird. I was only cooking for one, so didn’t want a full-sized turkey. It was just the right size to not overwhelm me with leftovers, but also distinct enough in size and taste that it felt more special than just cooking a chicken. Ironically, in a ‘normal’ (Ha! at the concept of normal, anymore), in a normal year the big turkey would’ve been cheaper. 

I spatchcocked it, which is such a fun word that I won’t describe it fully so interested readers can research the term themselves. But, it is somewhat odd and unintended wordplay to spatchcock a castrated chicken. 

I put the bird on a cooking rack over a roasting pan which held the giblets, various herbs, some water, spices, and the peelings from the veggies. This way the chicken juices were already seasoning the ingredients that would end up in the stock. (See, I’m getting to the stock.)

Stuffing and spatchcock (I wonder what will happen to my search results from using that word so much.) those two don’t go together, but I made a wild rice dressing with mushrooms, walnuts, and a slice of orange left over from breakfast.

Veggie dish number one was asparagus with slivered carrots and almonds, sliced onions, garlic, and herbs I picked in the garden. All of that was booked in a cast iron skillet with oil to start and butter to finish.

Veggie-ish dish number two was an experiment in mashed potatoes, but with a yam that had been grated instead of cubed. Which turned into a soup because I added too much milk, so I added cheese and an egg and hoped something would thicken it up. 

Cook. Clean. Wait. Serve. Burp. Clean some more.

Then, 

Take the roasted drippings, add the carcass, more water, and put back into the oven at low temperature for several hours. Because I cooked for a noon meal, partly from tradition, partly from a desire to cook before a storm took out the power, that meant I had fresh stock just in time to make several servings of a lentil soup with some of the leftovers for dinner. I also froze three batches of stock for future soups and sauces, and seven (7) seven! servings of the soup. 

Is Thanksgiving pricey? Maybe, but count the meals: 1) the main dinner, 2) supper that night, 3) seven servings of soup (sounds like a verse in a Christmas song), 4) and three batches of stock each of which typically makes five more servings of whatever it eventually becomes. 

As I said above, burp.

Also, welcome to a packed freezer, which might also be likely to stay frozen when the power goes out because that’s a lot of thermal mass working in my favor.

Spend just enough, be creative, use it well, and the benefits greatly exceed the cost – at least for me.

Allow me to shift topics but repeat that line.

Spend just enough, be creative, use it well, and the benefits greatly exceed the cost – at least for me.

I’ve been chronicling my response to one of my stocks being bought out: NPTN, NeoPhotonics. Check the two previous posts for that story. Usually when a large company buys out one of my stocks, which tend to be from small companies, I sell, shop around, and buy something that fits my portfolio. 

In the world of investing, while some are looking for big turkeys (MSFT, AAPL), I am looking for overlooked offerings that may be more valuable than many suspect (a capon).

It’s ‘Black Friday’, a day which deserves to be renamed. While tens of millions are shopping in the mall or online (my stores: books on amazon, photo essays on blurb, photos on FineArtAmerica, and merch on Zazzle) I am spending time researching companies that I may want to spend money on. 

The short list:

  • WNDW – SolarWindow Technologies Inc
  • AMSC – American Superconductor Corp
  • FTCI – FTC Solar Inc
  • HTOO – Fusion Fuel Green PLC
  • KULR – KULR Technology Group Inc
  • SUNW – Sunworks Inc
  • SOLO – ElectraMeccanica

Let’s meet the competitors.

Solar Window Technologies

What I like about them: 

Solar cells built into windows? Cool. Many solar panels are installed on the roof. For multi-story buildings, though, there’s more square footage on the sunny windows than on the roof. Even if the efficiency isn’t as great, a solar cell that is a window can be multiplied across the sunny side of the building. Solar panels are frequently built as a structure on top of the structure. They advertise potential applications for vehicles, too. The one I like that could be profitable for farmers is solar panels on greenhouses, an extra source of income for farmers.

What I wonder about them:

They have a MVIS/GERN style history, been around for decades, looks like the market has caught up with them, but where and when are the profits?

As for the investment community, the only traffic on reddit was during that spike, which is also MVIS-esque.

Google Finance

American Superconductor

Hey, I know this one. I had it for many years. Check out my blog’s tag for that history.

What I like about them: 

They hit many of my key criteria: 

Innovative superconductor technology, 

Could disrupt an entrenched and archaic industry

Positive product that enhances the efficiency of our aging electricity infrastructure 

I don’t know if they continue to use their catchphrase, but at one time they claimed to ‘do for electricity transmission what fiber optics did for information communications’ (paraphrased). Cool.

I also like(d) the project they were working on that would’ve connected all three US power grids, which is what was intended to help in situations like Texas’ problems last winter; but that fell to the side.

What I wonder about them:

They got knocked down by intellectual property theft that wasn’t their fault, from what I can tell; but they haven’t seemed to recover. In the meantime, I wonder if other technologies like graphene will overtake them without the need for cryogenic systems.

FTC Solar

Hmm. Couldn’t find out what FTC stood for, and doing searches on it can lead to Federal Trade Commission.

What I like about them: 

They intend to improve solar tracking systems, evidently for the large solar farms where even a small improvement in efficiency had have large positive effects.

They are international.

They are making money, well, revenue; but are close to breakeven at a glance.

What I wonder about them:

What does FTC stand for? Why not spell that out? Do they think it doesn’t matter, is answered somewhere else, or have they not noticed what their public presence looks like?

Their market is a niche, but it may be a very large niche. But, is there a battle between consumers installing solar on-site versus tapping into a grid-enabled solution? #NotRhetorical, but I haven’t researched that industry.

I couldn’t find any independent coverage, and wonder if that’s because, well, I just wonder about that. Could be a positive or a negative or null.

Fusion Fuel Green

Name looks like someone had a bunch of words on cards and matched them up until it sounded eco- enough.

What I like about them: 

Hydrogen is a great energy source, but has been hard to handle and has required a lot of energy to produce. If they’ve found a way to economically and environmentally use solar power to power hydrolysis to extract hydrogen – wow! Ah, they’re using solar photovoltaics plus the thermal by-product for extra energy and efficiency.

Hydrogen is also an energy storage potential, and energy storage is lagging renewable energy production. Nice bonus.

What I wonder about them:

They’re based in Ireland, which is fine and an island I want to walk around (see my book Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland), but I am hesitant to work with non-US companies because politics, taxes, and currency fluctuations can make it more difficult to track the finances.

They use the word ‘Fusion’, yet no fusion is involved, from what I can tell. Just a catchy word, or purposely misleading, or do they have some really-stellar ideas in mind?

KULR Technology Group

KULR, cooler? or just a coincidence?

What I like about them: 

Mars! Evidently they are associated with the rovers. Nicely done.

They are a cooler company, or at least a cooler technology. High-end batteries can only deliver the power if they don’t overheat. KULR helps with heat management. That has potential to be an overlooked company that provides enabling materials and systems to the backend. They might not be noticed because they aren’t sold to consumers directly, but pervasive if they are accepted as necessary to the industry.

What I wonder about them:

They are aiming at extraordinarily large markets measured in trillions of dollars, but I didn’t find a mention of their slice of the sub-market that will deal with.

Not bad, but more research is required for me.

Sunworks

What I like about them: 

Total solar system installation. Simple idea. Someone has to install the big and the little systems. Looks like the markets Real Goods Solar was aimed at back when I had that stock – right until they left the stock market on a sad note.

What I wonder about them:

Someone Really Liked them, then didn’t. Why?

Thanks to subsidies, solar systems are being readily adopted. Subsidies, however, vary from state to state, which must make it difficult to manage a business that is in several states, but not necessarily everywhere. I’m glad I don’t have that job.

Google Finance

ElectraMeccanica

What I like about them: 

Electric vehicles, great!

Innovative trikes, like.

Smart enough to also have four wheeled variants.

Hitting a range of price targets. Good.

Only in business for a while (2017) yet starting deliveries.

What I wonder about them:

They’re based in BC, which I almost moved to and should’ve when I had the chance. Alas. But see my comments about holding non-US stocks from inside the US. Of course, if BC and WA state combine = score!

Trikes are innovative, and I could see having one if I had to commute within suburbia or the city. Will they finally be accepted? Will they be challenged by e-bikes or win out because the driver isn’t exposed to the elements but also not constrained by narrow streets and parking spaces?


Whew. I need a drink. And that took long enough that it is time to reheat leftovers for dinner. A pause while I pour, heat, and return.

OK. Food in the oven, slowly warming. Beer from the local brewpub poured and beside me. Sip.


Allow me to summarize the company stock stuff, because I need to at some level.

The short list:

  • WNDW – SolarWindow Technologies Inc
    • I like the idea, especially if it is a way to incorporate energy production into architecture reliably. Vehicles are a bonus.
  • AMSC – American Superconductor Corp
    • Been there. Nice to see them surviving. But even without the IP theft, I expected them to recover stronger. 
  • FTCI – FTC Solar Inc
    • Tracking systems may not have a barrier to entry that will distance them from competition.
  • HTOO – Fusion Fuel Green PLC
    • Worth watching because of energy storage. I will admit to some reluctance because of the safety issues I encountered when designing and participating n rocket launches. Hydrogen is powerful – and requires caution. Can it be handled by so many in so many situations and be safe? 
  • KULR – KULR Technology Group Inc
    • For me they are too arcane and too reliant on existing battery technology, I think.
  • SUNW – Sunworks Inc
    • Been there with Real Goods Solar. Maybe they’ll make it work. But again, where’s the barrier to entry?
  • SOLO – ElectraMeccanica
    • Cute. That alone may sell it. There are so many electric vehicle innovators being tested in the market that some will surprise the mainstream. Tesla’s already done that, and they may have already won; but the electric bicycle market is also proving that other solutions are being adopted. 

Hmm. It’s come down to two, and maybe both: SolarWindows, and ElectraMeccanica. Interesting enough, imagine an office building producing power that charges employees’ trikes.


Stock shouldn’t be cooked too long. the pot or the brain can take too much scrubbing to clean afterwards. 

To some, either is too much effort. For me, each took less time than watching a football game, and has the potential to create something appealing and lasting that can improve my life. I can’t say the same about spectator sports. My freezer is full. I’ll let my financial stock ingredients simmer for the weekend, and serve up something after the market opens. One advantage of a portfolio over a freeze, there’s always room for more in a portfolio – no burping required.

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: https://trimbathcreative.net/about/ and at my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0035XVXAA
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3 Responses to Soup Stock Versus Company Stock

  1. JGPryde says:

    Interesting analysis of some below the radar companies. Not sure writing “big turkeys (MSFT, AAPL)” will gain you any clicks.
    Do you ever research the backgrounds of the company principals? I always wanted to be independently wealthy enough that I could fly from home office to home office (or maybe industry conference to industry conference) to meet the CEOs and BoDs to get a grasp on the intensity of the management. That said, if I’d met Elon Musk during PayPal’s early days and overheard him hyping EV’s, I would probably have walked away fast.
    Oh, and thanks to click and “LookUp”, I now know what “Spatchcock” means.

    ;^)
    -jgp

  2. Tom Trimbath says:

    I don’t research the background of the principals simply because of the time required and the skill with which biographies and histories can be written regardless of reality.

  3. JGPryde says:

    Makes sense. I’m not sure there is a reliable algorithm that determines the optimal balance of experience, knowledge, energy, and personality in any given entrepreneur. A certain amount of success is environmental or just luck as well.

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