It has been a while: I realized my understanding of some of the stocks is very much like a blindman perceives an elephant. I mean, I usually get a partial picture of the real thing, sometimes the partial picture is distorted.
For examples, the investing in Crocs (the shoe). It was a good ride until Oct 31, 2007, when the shoes started to fall off. Initially I was thinking I am doing the research by reading the 10Q, 10K, checking out the things in store, doing some calculation using Google spreadsheet (I regret to check it right before Oct 31 earning). But even with that, did I get a full picture of the whole thing? Same thing can be said for checking out the housing markets in Shanghai (trying to determine how Vanke will do in China).
In other words, it could be pure luck (not my research) that helped me to had a good ride. But then the tough time comes, when the luck is gone, you know what happened.