“My personal rule was that once a month I ought to have at least one conversation with a representative of each major industry group, just in case business was starting to turn around or there were other new developments Wall Street had overlooked. This was a very effective early warning system. I always ended these discussions by asking: which of your competitors do you respect most? When a CEO of one company admits that a rival is doing a good job or better, it’s a powerful endorsement. The upshot was that I often went out and bought the other guy’s stock.” Peter Lynch

“Start by looking at 7-8 companies in the industry and ask the management typical due diligence questions. Also, ask the management of each company which competitor they would be willing to put their net worth in for the next 10 years. Then ask which of their competitors they would short. This will provide important insights into the industry that even those who work their whole life in the industry would not realize.” Warren Buffett

"Go to five companies in an industry, ask each of them intelligent questions about the points of strength and weakness of the other four, and nine times out of ten a surprisingly detailed and accurate picture of all five will emerge." Phil Fisher

“One of [Shelby] Davis’s favourite questions was ‘If you had one silver bullet to shoot a competitor, which competitor would you shoot?’ He’d get the answer, and make a note to research the competitor’s stock. A company that was feared by its rivals must be doing something right.” The Davis Dynasty

“Following Soros’s practice too, Druckenmiller stayed in touch with company executives, reckoning that on-the-ground stories from firms could provide early warning of trends in the economy.” Sebastian Mallaby

“When a management team compliments a competitor, this can be like gold dust for an investor.” Marathon Asset Management

“You might even find a new idea through management’s discussion of their competitors.” Whitney George

“There is a big difference between informed sentiment, like CEO’s, and investor sentiment. Investor sentiment, however, is usually wrong, at least over the longer term.” Joe Vidich

“I did a lot of work in the earlier years just getting familiar with businesses and the way I would do that is use what Phil Fisher would call, the ― Scuttlebutt Approach. I would go out and talk to customers, suppliers, and maybe ex-employees in some cases. Everybody. Every time I was interested in an industry, say it was coal, I would go around and see every coal company. I would ask every CEO, ―If you could only buy stock in one coal company that was not your own, which one would it be and why? You piece those things together, you learn about the business after a while. Funny, you get very similar answers as long as you ask about competitors. If you had a silver-bullet and you could put it through the head of one competitor, which competitor would you choose and why? You will find who the best guy is in the industry. So there are a lot of things you can learn about a business.” Warren Buffett

"To the extent possible, go out and kick an industry's tires.” John Neff

"We do get great access to management, we go talk to them. Often the most valuable parts of those meetings are not when they're talking about themselves or their company and how great it is, but more so when they talk about their competitors, because there's often nothing as valuable as someone who's not incented to talk up somebody – you know, often begrudgingly giving them respect, and that's often the place where we find new ideas as well." Ross Glotzbach

"Visiting a company doesn't mean you have to - or even want to - own that company. Some of the most valuable information we pick up about an industry comes from talking to companies we'll probably never own. They may be competitors of companies we do own. Managements can be guarded, especially if they know we own a lot of their stock. But their competitors will usually talk freely about them." Ralph Wanger

"I think the main thing is management, getting good management, and checking with their competitors, checking with their compatriots, their suppliers, and finding out, really, if they are good." Julian Robertson

"Some of my best sources are business people, because they give me a flavour of what's going on." Barton Biggs

"I learned long ago that if you make 10 inquires at 10 different companies, you are going to discover at least 1 unexpected development. Unexpected developments are what makes stocks go up and down." Peter Lynch

"At the end of the day, if you haven’t spoken to a few companies in existing positions or on new ideas, you go home a failure. That’s a good discipline – you should spend your day talking to operators, not to Wall Street." Jeffrey Ubben

"We try to talk to competitors. We try to find people more knowledgeable about the business than we are. We do not rely on Wall Street-generated research. We do our own research. We try to meet with top management." Lou Simpson

"We always ask around, get third-party opinions from the company's suppliers and customers and others in the same industry." Ralph Wanger

"You can learn a lot, you know, just by going out and using some shoe leather. Now they call them channel checks. You can get a feel for some products, and then there are others you can’t. And then sometimes you’re wrong. But it is a good technique. It’s an important investing technique. And Ted [Weschler] and Todd [Combs] do a lot of that. And they have people  some people that help them out on doing it, too...It helps to get out and talk to consumers and start thinking like a consumer." Warren Buffett

"I follow about 250 public companies every quarter. And so I go through, for each quarter each one of those companies, their quarterly reports. So a lot of S.E.C. filings. A lot of transcripts. I can read a transcript much faster than I can listen to the conference call. And you weed out some of the friction there as well. So a lot of S.E.C. filings. A lotta trade magazines. There are a couple dozen of those that I subscribe to. And then I have a wonderful analyst who helps me with channel checks where we talk to customers, suppliers, ex-employees and so forth. We’re really trying to get a view of what it would be like—every security that we look at, we’re really trying to get a sense of what it would be like to own the entire business.” Todd Combs

"Reading the printed financial records about a company is never enough to justify an investment. One of the major steps in prudent investment must be to find out about a company's affairs from those who have some direct familiarity with them." Phil Fisher

"The second thing we do [after ensuring an understanding of the business] is gather evidence through primary research. Here we talk to counter-parties to get answers around business quality. Customers, former employees, competitors, people that are somehow involved in the vertical in some way. It’s all very important. They can be anecdotal, but I think collectively once you've done all your work, it fills in a very clear picture." Christopher Begg

“We talk to people in the industry and those that supply to the companies as well as customers and competitors.” Christopher Bloomstran

"I would say that, well, virtually everything we’ve done has been reading public reports, and then maybe asking questions around to ascertain trade positions or product strengths or something of that sort." Warren Buffett

"In every market we speak at length with those inside and outside the company, including suppliers, customers and competitors." Francisco Garcia Parames

"If and when you decide to pursue investing or whatever your fancy, do not underestimate the value of due diligence... Talk to customers, suppliers, competitors, and anyone else who might affect the company. Do not invest unless you can say with absolute certainty that you are more knowledgeable about this particular firm than 98 percent of Wall Street analysts. Believe me, it can be done. But only with the extra effort." Jim Rogers

"I believe that as you’re acquiring knowledge about industries in general, companies specifically, that there really isn’t anything like first doing some reading about them, and then getting out and talking to competitors, and customers, and suppliers, and ex-employees, and current employees, and whatever it may be. And you will learn a lot. But it should be the last 20 percent or 10 percent. I mean, you don’t want to get too impressed by that, because you really want to start with a business where you think the economics are good, where they look like seven-footers, and then you want to go out with a scuttlebutt approach to possibly reject your original hypothesis. Or maybe, if you confirm it, maybe do it even more strongly. I did that with American Express back in the ’60s and essentially the scuttlebutt approach so reinforced my feeling about it that I kept buying more and more and more as I went along. And if you talk to a bunch of people on an industry and you ask them what competitor they fear the most, and why they fear them, and all of that sort of thing. You know, who would they use the silver bullet of Andy Grove’s on and so on, you’re going to learn a lot about it. You’ll probably know more about the industry than most of the people in it when you get through, because you’ll bring an independent perspective to it, and you’ll be listening to everything everyone says rather than coming in with these preconceived notions and just sort of listening to your own truths after a while. I advise it." Warren Buffett

“You can always improve your methodology, there’s always room to do a little bit better, to go an extra mile. If you’re talking to a company that you’ve really got a good story from, you want to check with a competitor, talk to customers; you can always go deeper and learn more. The job is never done.” Bill Stewart