The Funny Thing About The “Next Big Thing”

Written by Adam English
Posted August 22, 2018 at 8:00PM

Everyone loves the “Next Big Thing” and you'll be hard pressed to find people who love the promise of it more than investors.

We shower companies that claim to be onto it with cash. Sometimes it works — think Apple, Netflix, and Amazon — and sometimes it doesn't — think of the trillions lost in the Dot Com bust.

We click on all the news articles that tease us with a glimpse of it or insight into what it might involve. And yes, that includes financial news writers, probably more than most.

But sometimes it is worth looking back at what we've passed over before. The “Next Big Thing” isn't always ahead of us.

Want a prime example? How about good-old-fashioned “pencil lead.”

Sitting Right On The Desk

Back in 2010, two physicists, Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim, won the Nobel Prize in Physics with a bit of scotch tape and some graphite — what we still call “lead” long after we stopped using that toxic and troublesome element.

They were trying to isolate a single atom-thick layer of graphite known as graphene — a wonder material with exotic properties scientists are still trying to understand.

While others were clamoring for grants to fund expensive equipment and experimenting with untried techniques, Novoselov and Geim were playing around in their office on a Friday afternoon.

They used tape to peel a layer off of a graphite block, then repeatedly peeled off layers from what was stuck on the tape with more tape. Before long, they had it — very small flakes exactly one atom thick.

It goes to show that you overlook the mundane, everyday stuff sitting right in front of you at your own peril. After all, how many physicists have a pencil and a roll of tape in their offices?

It's so easy to want to keep pushing forward in the hopes of finding something that is novel and new, but things don't always work that way. Cutting-edge physics apparently doesn't, and neither does investing.

Sometimes the perfect solution — for a new tech prototype, an engineering problem, a jigsaw puzzle, or even a portfolio — is one you found ages ago, and have overlooked ever since.

And, yes, I know nothing you or I will ever do while investing will bring in anything close to a Nobel Prize. That's not what we're aiming for, though.

We just want to find the next thing that will make a big profit.

Putting The Lesson Into Practice

This lesson is at the core of what Gerardo Del Real is doing for his Junior Mining Monthly readers right now, in my opinion.

He's found a fantastic opportunity with a metal we've been using for centuries.

From basic materials, to health care, to cutting-edge technologies, it is in more demand than ever.

It's all around us. It's in the Flintstones vitamins we give to our kids and in the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory being incorporated into next-generation batteries.

Even the mining company he's uncovered is working at the sites of old mines to find vast new reserves that could be worth billions.

Rapidly growing demand is sending a strong bullish signal, for the material and the companies that mine it, with no end in sight.

Meanwhile, global stockpiles of it have been falling for years, as Nick discussed yesterday.

It's a perfect example of how investors shouldn't only be looking forward to find “The Next Big Thing.”

When it comes to their portfolios, they should be looking for the next thing that will bring in a big profit.

This one has been around for ages, is staring them right in the face, and they'll be kicking themselves for missing it.

Don't let that happen to you too.

Take care,

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Adam English

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Adam's editorial talents and analysis drew the attention of senior editors at Outsider Club, which he joined in mid-2012. While he has acquired years of hands-on experience in the editorial room by working side by side with ex-brokers, options floor traders, and financial advisors, he is acutely aware of the challenges faced by retail investors after starting at the ground floor in the financial publishing field. For more on Adam, check out his editor's page

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