The Motley Fool: Calling all Doctors?

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, July 10, 2009

This latest ad from the Motley Fool Stock Advisor that I thought I’d look at today briefly mentions one of Tom Gardner’s favorite picks, Dolby Labs (DLB), but I uncovered that pick for you way back in October of 2007, when they had just begun to use in their promos. When they find a favorite, they really stick to it.

Which is why it’s slightly surprising that when they picked a genetic assay company, they didn’t go with the old Rule Breakers pick Affymetrix — but not a big surprise, I suppose, since my memory of Affymetrix being a Rule Breakers favorite is several years old, and it doesn’t appear (based on their disclosures) to be in the portfolio anymore. No, they’ve gone with a larger competitor.

The ad is actually written from the perspective of a subscriber to the Stock Advisor, Dr. Christopher Tilmann, a “lab rat” who says he is not being compensated for his endorsement, he’s just touting the Gardner brothers because he wants to spread the wisdom that helped him back when the Gardners were in their tech-bubble heyday, with David picking out winners like Amazon and AOL and holding firm for big profits (yes, and big losses from the peak when they held many of them through the pop, though many were still profitable picks). If so, I hope Tilmann is being otherwise rewarded for his volunteer hucksterism — they’re certainly going to make some money off of him.

This latest ad is about the human genome, which means we quickly get into areas that I don’t understand at all … we can all read a balance sheet, of course, but reading a genetic map is another thing entirely. The argument is that we’re on the verge of the next real breakthrough in technology and medicine, with the cost of mapping an individual’s DNA drops from the $13 billion that the Human Genome Project swallowed to now about $50,000, and that the real revolution will come when it hits $1,000 and becomes a regular part of every doctor’s work. Tilmann says that “experts predict the $1,000 genome could be announced by 2011,” and I’ll take his word for that — of course, you can get an expert to say anything you like, but we are at least on that path.

He goes on to say that the single secret of great wealth ...

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