Philip Fisher was one of most influential investors of all time. The man and his book, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, had a major impact on Warren Buffett’s line of thinking and investment philosophy.

Philip Fisher also believed in what he called ‘scuttlebutt’. Scuttlebutt in slang means rumor or gossip. In Fisher’s case, scuttlebutt was an approach which involves seeking information about a business through the grapevine. By speaking to management, customers, suppliers, employees, etc., an investor can find out crucial facts about a company that numbers and pure quantitative analysis can’t.

So six months since I had my last vacation, I finally had a few days break and I recently spent five wonderful days in Thailand — two days off the quiet coast of Hua Hin and three days in the busy metropolis that is Bangkok. Although I was on vacation, I was doing some scuttlebutt and on …