This particular teaser ad is the most popular and intriguing one that has come across in several months, if the number of forwarded copies and questions I’ve received is a reliable indicator. Though many ads now promise protection from calamity, and systems that can provide income or steady the waves for your portfolio, it appears that the “greed” impulse has not been eradicated. Promises of incredible returns are the mother’s milk of the financial newsletter industry, and amid the many teases for stable dividends, reverse ETFs, and MLP investments, it’s nice to see a teaser that promises real wealth creation in a hurry.
Nice for me, of course, because that good ‘ol stable stuff gets boring for a Gumshoe. Nice for your portfolio? Well, let’s have a look ..
The letter comes from Patrick Cox, who is trying to sell subscriptions to his Breakthrough Technology Alert newsletter for the (steeply discounted, of course) low low price of $495. He seems to focus on early stage technology, from biotech to semiconductors to robotics. Agora, the publishers, say they’ll give you back your money if you don’t like it after the first two months, so you can always give it a shot if you like. The special report that they’ll send you, “Three Generations of Wealth from Four Breakthrough Companies” apparently goes into, you guessed it, four companies with new technology that could make us rich.
Or you can stick around, and see what wisdom comes out of the Gumshoe community …
Here’s how this sell comes screaming out of the email:
“Your Great-Grandfather Saw the Railroad Come to Town, But Did He Profit From It?
“Your Grandfather Watched the First Model T’s Roll Down the Street. Did He Get Rich?
“Your Father’s Generation Witnessed the Rise of Computers. How Much Did He Make On Them?
“The Next Massive Wealth Creation Starts NOW. Here’s How YOU Could Give Millions to Your Family’s Next Three Generations.”
We’ll forget for a moment that these particular comparisons are fairly frequent — I remember seeing WiMax compared to the railroads, too, and many new industries have been described as the next great wave that will compare to the birth of the personal computer, from GIS systems to smart phones. And of course, just last week we looked briefly at the company that’s building the “next Model T,” India’s Tata Motors.
These kinds of massive commercial and societal shifts are not so easy to predict in advance, of course — and even if one can predict them it can be extraordinarily difficult to flag the particular companies that will become the profitable survivors of these new industries. That’s not only because the emergence of industrial leaders often seems obvious only in retrospect, but because commercial success rarely goes to the first-level inventors or innovators.
Bill Gates didn’t invent operating systems, or, later, graphical interfaces or web browsers, and some claim that Microsoft’s products were far from the best available — but he led his company to take better advantage of the personal computer revolution than anyone else. Henry Ford invented neither the car nor the assembly line, but he improved both and managed his company to a goal of mass car ownership better than anyone else (including, depending on your perspective, a paternalistic capitalism that formed the basis for Detroit’s economy for almost 100 years — that his workers would be the first market for the cars, and must be able to afford them). Like Gates, Henry Ford spent much of his life as the world’s wealthiest man. Buying the best emerging manager is probably better than buying the company with the best product, but that, too, is a crap shoot most of the time.
Will that happen to one of the companies this newsletter is teasing us about? It’s possible, I suppose, but I do hope we’ve all seen enough of these ads that our enthusiasm is at least somewhat tempered by a healthy measure of doubt.
Now that I’ve been a killjoy, let’s look for some stocks!
The tease is that there is a massive revolution in human medicin