Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Stupid Is As Stupid Does


Distinguishing oneself from the competition has always been the goal of successful entrpreneurs....except it would seem in finance and trading. As a case in point, OptionsXpress, the no-frills options broker 284,000 on-line accounts-strong, has an ummmm errrr brilliant (??!?) idea for those less-than-brilliant and not-so-original investors: Do what the other guy is doing.!!. Called "Trading Patterns" all the customer has to do is:
Simply enter a symbol and Trading Patterns will return an anonymous list of other trades popular with investors who recently traded that security. Discover the collective interests of other investors.


"Great Minds Trade Alike"(SM) is their laughable service-marked tagline. But if you thought empowering the masses was not all it might be (from the point of view of the wisdom of crowds) it gets even worse. As if their name OptionsXpress wasn't sufficiently insulting to good spellers, their alledgedly novel tool called "Xecute", which is supposed to take the ideas from Newsletter Writers that their customers couldn't or don't think of on their own, and implement them "automatically" using
Xecute
which:
...simplifies the way you trade your investment publisher's advisory newsletter. You subscribe to the investment publisher. You set the auto-trade parameters and trade amount. Xecute takes over from there and automatically trades your publisher's advisory newsletter as long as you have the available assets to cover the transaction.

Forgive me for consdidering the similarlies between this and the classical "Churn-'N'Burn", but I am gobsmacked by the simplicity and stupidity upon which this $1.8bn market cap business is based.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Simply enter a symbol and Trading Patterns will return an anonymous list of other trades popular with investors who recently traded that security. Discover the collective interests of other investors."

Quite plausible to fade it, since most punters lose money, no?

Rad The Movie said...

OptionsXpress seems to be at a turning point in their growth. After quarters and quarters of outstanding growth, they have slowed significantly in 2007. So what is the plan??? Dumb down your product from the thinkers to the un-thinkers. Do it for them. Automate. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Yet somehow tapping this vast uneducated and unknowledgeable group of potential option buyers is a bad idea?? I say kudos. We still haven't had a market bubble based on retail buying options. So what do you think the next risky, highly leveraged investment vehicle is going to be? The Strip-Straddle bubble of course. The kinkiest bubble the modern world has ever seen, coming 2009!