Is it important not to be old? Can you make money if you are older? These are the questions swirling in my head as I watch the stock of Nintendo (NTDOY) levitate because it owns a piece of Pokemon Go, a craze my kids are all caught up in that makes little sense to me.
When I picked up the front page of The New York Times today and saw an article not about the game -- that's old news -- but about whether the game may actually be better for you because it's played outside, and then I saw a story about the S&P 500 hitting a new high on page B-7, the irony was not lost.
The world of youth has overtaken the world of stocks, and like Bob Dylan says, if you are going to invest, the times they are a-changing. Our sons and daughters are beyond our command and doing things with technology that we can't understand, but we better start or we will be left by the order that's rapidly changing.
No, this isn't some sort of a midlife crisis, if I can still go by the midlife rubric. I am talking about the need to keep up with Instagram, Snapchat, Boomerang and a host of other applications or you simply won't get why a whole cohort of stocks is going higher.
You also won't understand how a hamburger can be made by two people instead of three or how machines can produce millions more Oreos per hour than humans or how your cellphone has wiped out more jobs than the cotton gin a thousand times over.
Now, let's put this in the dollars-and-sense terms that can help us make money. First, Pokemon Go may be a craze, but it is a craze based on augmented reality. A few weeks ago I was in Silicon Valley and when I asked about what was the next big thing, a half-dozen people said AR. Fortunately enough, I was aware that the abbreviation stood for augmented reality because I have made it a point to read as many trade publications as I can about Silicon Valley, and ever since I was stumped by AI a few years back -- believing it was the beloved No. 3, Allen Iverson -- I vowed never to let that kind of hieroglyphics betray me again.
When I asked about when AR would hit, would go mainstream, most of the people who were truly involved in working on AR couldn't be sure, maybe next year, maybe the year after.
Instead it happened last Thursday and younger people adopted it immediately. I don't know, at this point when I was the age of Pokemon Go players, I was holding down two jobs and my mother would have charged me rent if I were fooling around with this stuff. Now, overnight it is a staple.
Right now, there's no way to really make money off it in any sustainable way. The game could be here today, gone tomorrow. But not the concept, not any more than Instagram made it so you can't walk outside without putting on makeup, hence the remarkable run in Ulta Salon (ULTA) . Go buy Estee Lauder (EL) if you want in. You can't make money in Uber or Airbnb, at least not yet -- some say Uber will never make money. But knowing what they are means you should think about buying Twilio (TWLO) even up here as its infrastructure solutions power a lot of what's behind those two companies as well as Facebook's (FB) WhatsApp. This isn't a who-cares situation. Its novel way of sharing in the growth riches of these companies as part of its contract makes it so I think Twilio could double still from its initial double in a rather short period of time, but then again it should never been priced as low as it was. Fifteen dollars made no sense except in the environment we are in, which is so punishing even to the best growth unicorns.
There was a phrase once, a terrific campaign: "Pepsi, for those who think young." For someone like me who resonates with buying the terrific stock of PepsiCo (PEP) . But I want to appropriate the phrase: The stock market, for those who think young, or at least you better, because your old road is rapidly agin' and the times they are a-changing. (Facebook and PepsiCo are part of TheStreet's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.)