When should you invest in a stock vs. an index?

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My friend is very pro index while I am more pro buying stock. But, there are times when indexes are better than buying stocks.

Stock Buying Diversification
Some argue that diversification is “safer” or a better practice when buying stocks. The S&P crashed by about 60% in 2009 and there is nothing “safe” about losing 60% of your money no matter how diversified it is. You are not safe in a fund, because you do not know what you are getting or how badly it will crash. Additionally, many of the companies you are getting might have PE ratios that are far too high to be a suitable investment and might have unsound financial practices as well, not to mention inefficient business practices. I like to invest in the best and forget the rest. I once had a safe mutual fund and lose more than half my money in 2002 when the market crashed. I learned a valuable lesson. Know what you are buying and see how hard it crashes when it crashes. Now, that we have had a 2002 crash and a 2008 crash and a 2015 reset or perhaps two resets, I am familiar with checking stocks to see how badly they crash.

My Stock Algorithms
I created a clunky, but suitable algorithm for picking stocks. I use it along with my basic judgment as no algorithm is perfect — at least no algorithm that I am smart enough to create. In any case, I didn’t want to invest in too many stocks as it becomes too much work to track. So, I decided to have four main stocks where 85% of my stock money would go and then have a handful of others each having a smaller investment of about 2-3% of my total stock expenditures. It took a few days for me to decide on my lucky four, and I made sure they were all in different industries as well. I made sure that three of the four stocks were stable in previous crashes because I don’t want to lose my money. Having four stable stocks that don’t crash is a lot safer than a mutual fund with 100 stocks that all crash every time there is a stock market crash. Additionally, my big money is going into companies that are roughly 100 years old, and they survived the Great Depression making them very stable, not to mention their stable financial and managerial practices.

When are Indexes Good?
For older companies that have been around since the Great Depression, there are so few of them, and they are such large conglomorates, that I don’t think you need to diversify so much. Coca-Cola owns 500 different beverage companies. They have more diversification within that one stock than most mutual funds. I can analyze each older company by hand since there are so few around. But, newer companies that don’t have a stable track record, don’t have stable income and engage in innovation require diversification. It is possible that an industry with 300 players could be reduced to two players after the others get weeded out. Innovation is a risky game and the minute someone beats you innovating a popular product, then you could lose most of your business.

For Biotech and Tech, indexes seem like a better idea than buying stocks with the exception of IBM which is a much more established conglomorate that does not engage in innovation. Between Apple, Verizon and Samsung, how can you know which company will out do the other one in a few years. I suspect Apple will win the game, but the Koreans might surprise us all as they are pretty smart over there. Between the various biotech companies, how do you know which one will have the next breakthrough? Most of those companies are less than 25 years old. It is so unpredictable and none of the companies have a solid track record. For these types of unpredictable industries a fund is better. Additionally, for utility companies, their margins are so low and their debt is so high, it might be safer to buy a fund.

So, for me, I’ve decided to get both stocks and indexes. But, probably more stocks than indexes. I will be investing in a biotech index in the next few weeks. That is one of the fastest growing market segments. I don’t know if they’ll continue to grow, but I suspect they will until they can figure out how to clone us.

When someone interviews your call center…

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Sometimes I interview call centers. Talking to the sales rep is not always enlightening. Knowing your rates does me no good unless I know what type of service I’m getting. I’d like to talk to your agents and see how they are over the phone. I’d like to give them some basic training as well.

If I make arrangements with your company to talk to your reps, would you arrange an appointment where I only met one rep? That would not be an efficient use of my time. If I didn’t like the rep, I’d have to make another appointment to meet another rep. What a headache. I think it would be easier if I could meet three or four reps during the same meeting. I would only need to talk to each one for a few minutes. Yes, you would have to yank them from whatever they were doing, but you might get hired if you made that sacrifice. If I’m the one who has to make the sacrifices of hounding you for four separate appointments, your chances of getting hired are not that great. I pay for quality and convenience, not headaches.

Are you in the business of charging people for headaches? How long do you think that business model will last?

The next hurdle at call centers is training. Do you have a manager who can train reps to do basic functions? If I am a client, it might be easier for me to train the manager and then the manager trains the reps. Call center agents seem to last only a few months and then they quit. I don’t have time to keep training one person after the next. But, training a manager once and leaving the training burden to him makes a lot of sense. He can train everyone himself each time someone quits.

Impersonal Companies

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Back when I was starting my web business, people kept telling me to do it like the other companies. I was told not to have a phone number and to just have a form. I disagreed with that logic as I like to keep it personal. As a directory owner, I get to see how others do in business and how following trends works out.

People like my business because we keep it personal and because we offer high quality information with just a simple phone call or email without even needing to be transfered. It is like an instant source of valuable information that helps others survive in their businesses. Other companies make you jump through hoops just to get simple questions answered.

Some of the companies on my directory that only have a form as their sole contact method have a habit of going out of business very quickly. I think it is partly due to their attitude of not wanting to talk to people.

Honestly, to succeed in business is hard, but if you master the art of phone communication, being helpful, and getting work done correctly and on time, you have a real chance as the competition can’t handle those four things.

So, make an attempt to make your business more personal and learn the art of American small talk. It is so important, especially if you deal with Americans!

I found my perfect work environment

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Unfortunately, this perfect work environment is 500 miles away, so I can’t go that often. But, I feel so good there. Ukiah, California is in the middle of nowhere roughtly 200 miles north of San Francisco, CA. I go up there from time to time to work. There is nothing to do there. It is an hour North of Wine Country where you can enjoy amazing food, wine and cool people. It is an hour East of the Ocean where you can enjoy gardens, beaches, parks, great beer, wine, and more restaurants. But, there is nothing much to do in this tiny town. They have a very nice health food store with amazing pastries, and a few passable restaurants. But, I find that I am ecstatic and get a lot of work done in this small town.

I typically will go up to meditate in an ashram in Nevada city for a few days before going to Ukiah. After meditating seven hours a day, day after day, I’ll need to catch up on my work. So, in Ukiah, I bring phone lists and am on the phone all day long. But, in Ukiah, I achieve balance.

I’ll meditate three times a day which is perfect. I meditate in the morning, after lunch, and before I go to bed. I am unable to be so regular about meditating at home for some reason. I work and work and work without tire as well. Finally, I’ll walk around for an hour with vigor since I feel so good. There is nowhere good to walk, so I walk around the hotel for an hour which feels great! There’s a Starbucks next door, Jack in the Box, and Mexican food nearby as well as a few Chinese joints within a few minutes drive. The Brewery has great burgers and there are a few fancy places to eat too. For me, the town is just a place to feel amazing.

Do you have a place where you feel amazing? Maybe you should visit there and bring your work. If you run an office, perhaps you should set up your office there. Too many people are packed into big cities. Sometimes it is nicer to be in the countryside in a place where you can be happy!

Don’t invest in junk bonds unless you are an expert

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In the world of investing, it is easy to fall prey to dangerous investments. If you have a good broker, they will steer you out of harm’s way. If you want to invest in bonds or stocks, the first thing you should do is to check their credit rating. S&P does credit ratings and so does Moody’s. The ratings systems are similar, but start diverging when you get into the BBB or baa range. The two do not translate directly into each other. So, it’s complicated.

AAA investments are by far the safest. They are almost guaranteed to pay you back, but the return on investment might be a lot lower as a price you pay for safety. AA is the next best bet on the S&P scale with roughtly a (.2)% chance of default in any given year. Those are odds I can handle if I am diversitifed. A+, A, and A- are around a (.3) to (.7)% chance of default in any given year. Once you get into BBB territory, then you are in a lot of risk. If you invest in a 45 year old bond that is BBB, there might be a 1.5 chance per year that they default, but after 45 years that turns into more of a 65% chance of default. Do you really want to take that risk unless the monthly payments are high?

Then, there are Illinois and their partner in crime Puerto Rico. These two territories have bonds up the yin-yang who are not looking like they will get paid off. Investors are picking them up at half price hoping for the best.

In my opinion, the biggest issue with this whole investing fiasco is that most financial entities put themselves into too much debt. First they borrow a little, and then a little becomes a lot. It’s easy to get into debt, but not so easy to get out. Once your debt is beyond a particular point — depending on how old your establishment is and what industry you’re in — then, your credit rating goes down and your interest rate goes up putting you in an even worse situation.

When I invest in stocks or bonds, before I even look at the credit rating, I look at how in debt you are, and how much your debt fluctuates from year to year as well as how stable your income is in a recession such as 2009.

In any case, my broker emailed me with rates for utility and trash bonds. I replied:

“I said I wanted junk bonds, not trash bonds!”

Quotes for deep business thinkers

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Here are some quotes that I really liked that my audience on Twitter did not like. These quotes are deeper and more introspective for most types. But, see if you like them.

“Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”
Warren Buffett

Commentary: I also find it bizarre that someone with no financial achievement is deemed qualified to give financial advice to those that have.

“If a business does well, the stock eventually follows.” — Warren Buffett

Commentary: My broker tried to get me to invest in some stock because it was “trending.” I told him that I like stocks that have intrinsic value. The broker tried to tell me that the earnings of a stock have nothing to do with the price. Warren Buffet and I agree that the earnings have a lot to do with the price at least in the long run.

“If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.”
Warren Buffett

Commentary: Although Warren prefers investing in companies with long standing track records, he realizes that looking into the future with some level of intuition is necessary. Although he invested in some oil ventures in Canada, and cable stocks in Latin America, his largest investments are in finance stocks!

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
Henry Ford

Commentary: Henry Ford mastered the art of taking car building and dividing the task into hundreds of smaller manageable parts. One of my friends who runs a BPO does exactly the same thing with his various programming and social media tasks. He can divide one task into six pieces and give each piece to a different person — sometimes in different countries.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.”
Robert Kiyosaki

Commentary: I think that Robert might be trying to say that America is going to be done soon.

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”
Warren Buffet

“When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.”
Warren Buffett

“Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.”
Winston Churchill

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
Henry Ford

“Getting rich is about fun. It’s a game, and you have to treat it that way.”
Robert Kiyosaki

“Losers are people who are afraid of losing.”
Robert Kiyosaki

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of #history has been about 200 years.”
Robert Kiyosaki

“French fries kill more people than guns and sharks, yet nobody’s afraid of French fries.”
Robert Kiyosaki

“Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”
Warren Buffett

“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.”
J. Paul Getty

Answering emails is not a strength at many outsourcing companies

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I get a dozen unsolicited emails daily from companies in India and the Philippines begging me for work. But, the companies on 123outsource.net directory of outsourcing companies are a different story. I recently emailed ten call centers for rates. Only two got back to me. Do the other eight not want my business? Yes, I am a small customer, but small customers can turn into big customers!

BPO’s behave like they don’t want customers
My main issue is that I run an outsourcing directory, but find that most outsourcing companies behave as if they don’t want customers. The ones that do want customers behave as if they can’t handle customers. Most companies do not answer the phone properly and don’t have reps that have IQ’s necessary to answer basic questions including: what is your name, and what city are you located in. The latter seems to them to be a trick question which requires putting me on hold without my consent which is unbelievably rude. Remember, that as an outsourcing company, people in foreign countries will be putting their trust in you. If you act completely irresponsible or inconsiderate from square one, why would anybody trust you even with an easy assignment?

I remember that I had a call center boss come to Los Angeles to see me.
We spent an hour together going over what they could do. I emailed them the specifications and they quit before they accepted the job. The minute you expect them to be able to follow complicated directions they quit. Part of the reasons is that their girls quit after three months. My directions take six months to master, so if you quit after three months, I can’t hire you in the first place. They were incapable of finding me someone who could last longer, yet expected me to sign some long term contract that guaranteed that I would pay them dollars, while I had no idea of who would be working for me. That doesn’t seem fair.

I have a better idea.
I’ll pay you in an undetermined currency and you can give me an undetermined worker. If I like the worker and they last for more than six months, I’ll pay in dollars from day 180. If the worker is not responsible, I’ll pay in Kenyan shillings or Brazilian Reals and hope that no devaluation happens any more than you are devaluating my business by offering bad service!

I’ll demote you if you don’t answer!
If you are so negligent in your business practices that you ignore sales inquiries, you shouldn’t be in business. I’ve decided to downgrade companies on my directory who don’t answer emails. I make sure to confirm the email address over the phone before using it. But, if you don’t answer within 72 hours, you go down a few notches!

Is business like war? Why not just get a 9-5 job and be “safe”?

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When I was young, I subscribed to all of the typical middle-class viewpoints. I believed that mutual funds were “safe” until I lose 60% of my life savings in one of the safest and most renouned funds. I believed that having a job was safer than having a business until I couldn’t find a job and then got fired from a job after spending a lot of time trying to get it. I thought that having a home in my name was safer than having stocks since stocks were “risky” until I saw people get fired and lose their home along with all of the equity.

Then, I came to my senses and discovered that life is dangerous — after all there is a 100% fatality rate. We all die, it is just a matter of time. With this attitude, you become more willing to take calculated risks, face fear, live on the edge and accomplish something with a do or die attitude. The most successful entrepreneurs I know are from Israel, Lebanon or Palestine and those folks were born on the edge. Feeling too “safe” is bad for business. It makes you not try as hard ot imagine scenarios that are out of your realm of possibilities. So, what am I getting at here?

Business is dangerous. You could go out of business, lose your livelihood, life savings, and pride all in one swoop. This is why I am cautious about my business and put in a lot of extra work to make it the most stable business in the industry. I’m paranoid to be honest. People ask me why I work so hard. I remember the two months I spent unemployed when I was 25 and the horrible taste in my mouth is still a bitter memory. If I lose my business I lose it all. That is why I work so hard to provide the best online directory searches that the world has ever seen. I have been in the online directory business since 1999 and keep getting better at it although it is a tough business and an ongoing struggle!

But, maybe i’m the one who’s safe. I have had the same self-employment lifestyle for two decades. I have stable savings. I have the freedom to take time off several times per year. People I know who have jobs have been through many jobs in the time I’ve been in business and typically have little savings to brag about.

But, business is like war. Your competitors are really like enemies. They could put you under if you aren’t careful. So, you have to always be watchful. I watch my online stats analytics daily and make sure I’m not losing ground. I keep track of what my competitors are doing (which is generally pathetic.) Business is an endless fight for survival just like trees compete for sunlight and fish compete for algae or whatever they eat. So, never stop fighting my friends and always believe that if you fight harder or smarter, then you can put the other guys out of business and then they can work for you — if they’re lucky!

I’m excited about business and want to grow my empire. It happens little by little and trust me I’m not a pro at growth. Growth is hard, but at least I’m achieving it in small ways. And now I’m investing in the stock market, so if I don’t get growth from my business at least my investments might get lucky!

Stock investing: understanding the SDR stock algorithm

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What is SDR? This is not a term that shows up on Investopedia or Wikinvest. That’s right. I invented it because I wanted to have a better understanding of risk analysis. As I look at hundreds of stocks, it is impossible for me to determine risk. I don’t know the industries well, or the people running these companies. I have only common sense, articles on the internet, and numbers to crunch. How much a company makes per share matters a lot to me as a metric for “return” on investment as well as dividends and growth averages over the life of the company. However, risk is also another important criteria.

SDR means:
(stability in income) : debt ratio.
If you look at a company’s financial records, you can see what their earnings have been year after year after year. It is generally good to buy a stock that is growing in income. If every year that goes by, the company makes more and more money, your stock will probably go up in value as it will affect the stock’s price per earnings ratio which is one of the most critical metrics in stock analysis.

Earnings growth & stability
What I do is to look at the company’s earnings over the last twenty years and calculate an average percentage growth. Unfortunately, in the real world growth is compounded, so you will be forced to use “the rule of 72” which you can look up on the internet. Putting 72’s aside, I look for income stability, particularly in recessions. I am terribly afraid that my stock investments will go bust if there is a bad depression similar to 1929. So, if I see a stock that survived the great depression, and didn’t do too badly in the recession of 2008 & 2009, then it has some stability to it. I analyze how stable or unstable the consistency in their income per share is, and add that to my stock algorithm.

Is unstable earnings bad?
However, after long and careful thought, I decided that a company with unstable income is not the worst thing. If you hold that company for twenty years, the fact that they had a bad year in 2021 and 2027 won’t phase you assuming they don’t go out of business completely and assuming you don’t need to sell the shares suddenly during a bad year. If a company is deep in debt, that is not necessarily a horrible thing assuming its income is relatively stable at all times including economic downturns. I learned that companies like Coke, Pepsi and Kraft stay steady in bad times while Mastercard, Starbucks, and Sam Adams did not do as well.

The basic idea is that a company that is deep in debt that also has unstable income is a likely candidate for bankruptcy in the next decade or so. It is unclear when a company would go under, but it happens all the time. If income is not stable, but the company’s equity ratio is high — you might be safe. If the income is stable but the debt is high, you also might be safe. Ideally you would have low debt and stable income, but that is only the care with very few companies. The point of this article is that I no longer analyze debt ratio as a separate issue as its relevancy only matters when combined with income stability stats.

In short, in my algorithm gives stocks up to 20 points. 3 of those points are earned from the SDR portion of the algorithm. Perhaps I should give more as two of the stocks I just bought just fell about 10% the day after I purchased them — gulp! If you have low debt and stable income you get all three points. If you have unstable income with high equity or vice versa, you might get two out of three points. But, if you are lacking in both departments, I might assign you a negative rating since the risk would be quite severe! I created a table to go over all possible scenarios including moderate debt and moderate income stability, moderate to low, and various gradations. If you like my idea for this component of a stock buying algorithm, you can create your own table and fool around with it until you get it how you like it. Algorithms are not for everyone, but if you do things like buying stocks or hiring outsourcing companies — you need some type of an algorithm combined with a good sense of people!

Automated outsourcing? How would that work?

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Too much of outsourcing follows the model of choosing an unreliable company and relying exclusively on them. This leads to you not getting what you want, and them getting fired. Many companies are swift enough to con you into signing a contract. They’ll be very nice to you and tell you what you want to hear until you sign a contract obligating you to a certain amount of money per month for an ambiguous quality and quantity of service normally measured in hours.

You have no idea if they put in the required hours, or if they gave quality work during those hours. Many companies will give you their worst guy who is completely unqualified, or cheat you out of the amount of hours you paid for. Even if you hire a reputable company, if they give you the wrong worker, your project is finished. If a company hires purely reliable workers, it doesn’t matter as much who you get. But, most companies hire 30% decent employees and the rest are disasters — at least in most outsourcing companies I have dealt with. It is so bad, that you might consider hiring in-house people to help you out — unless you can find reliable help overseas. There are good people, but how to find them? So, what’s my solution?

Choosing Workers
What if outsourcing houses offered you the right to choose your own workers on an online module? What if you could sample their work, read their resumes, and communicate with them on your own without needing to involve a busy manager in setting up an uptight appointment. What if it were like a dating site with photos of the workers, and information about the types of projects they had done and wanted to do along with their employment history at the company. Most outsourcing companies have employees coming and going every several months. If you have a serious project, you need someone who has a track record, and dumping your job every three months is exactly the type of track record I want to avoid.

Choosing Deadlines
What if you can submit job descriptions online for bids, including deadlines and detailed specifications. You could specify who at the company is to do the job, how it is to be done, and how fast.

Rapid Response
The average outsourcing company takes around 48 hours to answer an email. But, what if there were companies that made it a point to get back to people within minutes? You could get your project moving in a flash. If the workers you chose would personally get back to you within minutes, or if they were off duty then within hours, even if they were at home — wouldn’t that be amazing?

Quality Monitoring
What if you and a project manager could regularly monitor the quality of the work being done. At most companies, the work is a deeply guarded mystery enshrowded by a veil of secrecy. You never hear where they are in the project or how it is going. Finally after far too much waiting you get the finished product – a bunch of code filled with so many bugs you can’t possibly use it. You are far behind schedule and handed a pile of junk after the salesman assured you that you would be fine if you would only sign the contract. But, what if you could check on the work daily, and what if you received an email with progress daily even if nothing had been done? At least you would be informed.

The key to automated outsourcing is partly that people are cooperative (which rarely happens in real life) and get back to you quickly. The second key is that you can choose who you use and how fast things get done even if you have to pay extra. I like being in control of my projects, don’t you?

Getting to know another culture helps to a point

Categories: India | Tagged | Leave a comment

If you live in a big city, or if you are new living overseas you are surrounded by many different cultures. Although you are “exposed” to these cultures, you are not part of them, and you probably don’t really understand them. If you really spend time in a particular culture, you will reduce friction with that culture to a point. You will eliminate (reduce) your lack of understanding. You will know more about people’s sensitivities from that culture. What initially seemed strange to you, you’ll get used to and be familiar with.

However, there are certain things that you might not be able to get over. Stumbling blocks. If people from another culture just don’t cooperate in certain ways, or have values that are deeply unacceptable to you, or insist on discriminating against you (and perhaps blaiming you of discrimination when they are the ones doing it.) How can you get beyond these problems? No amount of familiarity with the culture will help.

Whites and blacks in America are working together and spending more time with each other. We are getting used to each other, but the difference in attitudes about crime, police, social graces, music, language, lifestyle and other issues will continue to divide us no matter how well we know each other.

I was raised in America, and got to know Indians in high school a little bit, and in college. But, I knew fun Indians from the upper class when I was young. The minute I was in a spiritual group with more run of the mill South Indians (where the Master was not run of the mill, but formerly ran a mill in Tamil Nadu as a CEO) I began to see the real character of Indians. Everybody started out nice. But, once you got beyond the small talk there was a barrier. Many cultures have social barriers. With South Indians the barrier starts after the small talk. With Mexicans it starts before the small talk. With Arabs, they first make friends with you and then outcaste you. Each culture puts their barrier in a different place it seems.

The real problem started many years after I got used to Indians. I lived in India for a few months at a time on various occassions in different parts of India. And yes, the culture differs a lot from Maharashtria to Kerela, to Tamil Nadu, etc. I did not spend time in Northwest India where Hindu-Muslim tension is high thank God. I was down South where everyone is docile. But, we began to have a problem with noise. People would abuse their privelege with loud speakers, and cause disturbances in meditation. I asked the authorities to help stop this problem, but there was a refusal to cooperate. The problems didn’t stop, and my complaining got louder and louder. It got to the point where they kept telling me to be more tolerant — but, by this time it was dozens of people who were involved and telling me to be more tolerant. After my complaining got to the point of screaming, they got to the point where they could no longer tolerate my complaining, yet wouldn’t lift a finger to stop the noise pollution that happened everywhere I went in the mission. So, instead of solving the problem, they removed me.

So, although I got to know Indian culture — the culture of sweeping problems under the rug, and when those problems come out of the rug to sweep them under the rug again instead of solving them. India is a culture where you remove the one who complains instead of solving the problem. It seems that understanding Indians doesn’t help me get along with them better. It helps me get along with them worse because I’m so allergic to the nonsense that most of them give me. I’m sick of the excuses, the lies, the bullshit. Why is it that there can’t be Indians who have integrity, who stand up for what is right, and are sensitive to how others feel who have different feelings from themselves? Do such Indians exist? I haven’t met a single living one — only the spirits of deceased gurus who I have relationships with.

I guess it will all end soon. My guru says that the Hindu-Muslim conflict will leave every single North Indian dead within our lifetime. This is not my prefered way of solving the problem. But perhaps this is God’s way of doing to India, what my Indian spiritual group did to me — removing people instead of solving the problem.

My advice to anyone learning about another culture by being involved in it is — what you see is NOT what you get. You will find out things about the culture that you were not expecting and that are so horrible that you won’t be able to deal with it. You might find good things too. And one more thing. If you want to learn about a nice culture, try the Thais. Apart from their morality infractions that they are famous for, they are very nice people — I’ll vouch for them.

What does your company’s click stat mean on 123outsource?

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123outsource.net keeps stats on BPO companies. After all, we need information that can help us decide who should be high in the search results and who should be removed completely from the list. At first we saw who answered their phone. Then, we tried to see how easy it was to talk to a manager. After that, we assessed the quality of the conversation with the manager.

Phone Stats
I found that these stats were helpful, however, it is unpredictable whether you will call on a holiday as I don’t know when Indian holidays are. It seems every other day is a holiday. No wonder nothing gets done. It is also unpredictable if the manager will be in. Usually the BPO workers don’t communicate well, so if you can’t speak to a manager, the conversation will be horrible. Another thing I noticed is that some companies had horrible phone lines, so that they can’t even hear you properly unless you repeat everything several times. So, phone stats were helpful, but I found even better analytics which were easy to get.

Email Stats
A month ago, I emailed most of the people on our outsourcing directory asking them for basic rates. Some ignored my email altogether and got kicked off the directory. While others, answered the email, but didn’t give me rates. A few asked for more information instead of answering my question which really was a headache. But, a few answered my questions within minutes and I was very happy about that. Those that mean business rise to the top of the search results and will get more business as a result!

Click Stats
However, click stats were very much more interesting. Since BPO companies are placed at different levels on our search results, their click stats will really vary. I wanted to even the score and create an AB testing environment. So, I moved a few listings from the middle of the list to near the top of the list and compared their clicks to others near the top of the list. The result was that those who were originally near the middle of the list performed horribly on the top of the list. I learned that the public didn’t like these listings enough to click on them which meant that the companies were horrible.

One of the reason I like click stats is that I don’t have to do any work to test companies out. I just put them in a placement, take notes, and get a result that is very accurate. Click stats can really vary too. A good company will perform six times as well on click stats than a bad company. We had companies getting six clicks a day while others got less than one click — talk about unpopular.

The problem is that it is time consuming to get click stats on every single company on my site. So, I’ll just stick to the popular categories like call center, bpo, and data entry. Wish me luck. But, the bottom line is that click stats are the most cut and dry method of analyzing the quality of a company. Call stats are unreliable since you don’t know who will answer. Email stats are good, but only distinguish the speed of the result. Click stats tell me if the public likes an outsourcing company enough to click on them which is much better than me deciding how I feel about a BPO company.