Apple or Samsung? Ask these pint-sized analysts

If you want to know what's hot, go to those in the know
If you want to know what's hot, go to those in the know   

I worked at billion-dollar hedge funds with some of the most talented analysts on the Street. It was their job to analyze companies we bought and sold. I was the trader, so it was my job to trade them.

But everyone within the walls of a hedge fund is supposed to have an opinion. That is, until your opinion is deemed worthless. I was never very big on being a student, so modeling companies and reading research reports seemed like homework. No thanks. What I liked to do was talk to people, observe them and try and spot trends. And sometimes it manifested into money-making ideas.

Everyone thinks the market is controlled by the traders, investors — and Satan. But the truth of the matter is that the stock market is really controlled by the consumer. It's the person standing in front of you in the 10-items-or-less checkout line with 13 items; it's the freaks camping out for Black Friday; it's the kids running around Toys 'R Us screaming, "BUY ME THAT!"

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And when it comes to technology, who better to ask than the kids who've never lived without it? My 9-year-old daughter Lola and her best friend, Mia (8 years old), sometimes seem to know a lot more than I do. Okay not sometimes … Always. Not only do they have their personal preferences, but they are also subjected to a gigantic peer group. And let's be honest, it doesn't get much more critical than elementary school.

We spent half a day at CNBC's Smart Bar to check out the new gadgets and technology and get insight from these pint-sized analysts.

Instantly, they were pulled by magnetic force to the iPhone 6. The phone had superhero strength and both girls were transfixed.

"It's a little big," Mia said, looking like someone just cut her in the lunch line.

"You don't have to use it," I said.

"No, no it's fine," she said opening up an application. "Hey, Lola, check this out."

"Hey, girls — we need to film this. Can you put the devices down?" I said to both of them. "I mean NOW."

About five minutes later they were ready to focus.

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"How important is it to have a phone?"

"Very!" the girls say in unison.

"What's the appropriate age for someone to get a phone?"

"5th grade," Mia said, looking at Lola to validate her.

"Or 4th," the current 4th grader said.

"Yeah maybe it's 4th," Mia said, helping out her best friend.

"5th sounds about right," I said.

"What do you want your first phone to be?"

"iPhone," Lola said.

"What if you got an iPhone 4?'

"Do they still make those?" Lola said with a confused look.

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"I don't even know. What about Samsung or BlackBerry?"

"The BlackBerry?" Mia asked. "It's just so black."

"What do you mean?"

"It's all black and it doesn't look good. Nobody has a BlackBerry," she said.

"Well, what about Samsung?"

"It's like Myrtle Turtle," Lola said.

(I wasn't sure what that was a reference to but assumed it wasn't good.)

"So what are the important social media networks?"

"Instagram, Instagram and Instagram!" Lola said.

"What about Facebook?"

"Eh," she said.

"If you had an account would you accept my friend request?"

"No. Next question," she said.

"What about Twitter?

"That's for adults," she said.

"What about you, Mia. What do you think?"

"I really like Instagram," Mia said.


"Because it's safer than the other ones," she said. "It's only slightly inappropriate," she added, glancing at Lola. They both started to giggle like an inside joke had been told.

It was time to set up a different shot, so the girls got a chance to roam around and check out everything else they had. There was something about the MacBook Air. The iPhone didn't seem so stimulating anymore.

"Well what do you guys like to do with your devices?"

"Minecraft, YouTube, games, texting," Mia said.

"How about you, Lola?"

"Minecraft, YouTube, games, texting."

Is there an echo in here?

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"We also like to film 'The Mia & Lola Show,' but my mom won't let me put any videos on YouTube yet," Mia said.

"Can you guys do a show now?"

"Hey, Lola, check out this watch," Mia said picking up one of the smart watches with Internet, apps and other features.

"Cool," Lola said.

But the watch could only keep their attention for about five minutes. They wanted to get back to the MacBook Air.

"So what do you girls know about Wall Street?"

"It's where people invest their money," Lola said.

"It's where the BIG money is," Mia added.

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"Would you guys come back if CNBC invited you?"

"I'd need to talk with my agent," Lola said.

"Yeah, it would depend how much they're going to pay us," Mia said.

"So what was your favorite thing you saw today?"

"MacBook Air," they said in unison.

"What was your favorite part of the day?"

"Hair and makeup," Lola said.

"Yeah, that was so fun," Mia said.

Well it's good that these two pint-sized analyst still have their priorities straight.

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Commentary by Turney Duff, a former trader at the hedge fund Galleon Group. Duff chronicled the spectacular rise and fall of his career on Wall Street in the book, "The Buy Side," and is currently working on his second book, a Wall Street novel. He is also featured on the show, "The Filthy Rich Guide," which airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET on CNBC. Follow him on Twitter @turneyduff.