I don't like to invest in mutual funds. The fees are too high, and most of them don't beat the market anyway over the long term. So I stick with index funds, and I pick a few stocks myself now and then. I am always looking for ideas, and usually get them from magazines, where I see a company chronicled or a list of "hot stocks." I tend to focus on the underlying business, instead of the stock, and thus I rarely end up buying anything because I don't see that long-term competitive advantage that makes a company great.
I also forget to regularly check the performance of my portfolio. I do it maybe once every few weeks. Well yesterday I checked, and FARO technologies is up 630% since I bought it in January. It is by far the best stock pick I have ever made. (I only put a few hundred bucks in it, so no I did not get rich) Do you want to know where the idea came from? They were hiring and I sent them a resume about this time last year. I read their annual report and poked into their financials, and the company seemed to be doing everything right, yet the stock was staying flat – so I bought it. Yep, that's it. For all the effort I have put into finding good stocks, I never did very well until I stumbled across this company by pure luck. I think I am going to stop reading those "10 stocks to watch" pages in the business magazines I receive. From here on out, I'll just keep relying on sheer dumb luck to uncover good stock ideas. It's the only thing that seems to work for me.
(I am studying value investing, but it is boring and time consuming so it will probably be years before I am proficient at it)