“Silicon Valley’s Next Big Thing” from Oxford Club, explained

What's Matthew Carr's "Quantum Space" Stock?

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, January 7, 2016

If I had a nickel for every time some newsletter tout pitched “Silicon Valley’s Next Big Thing” …

This ad from the Oxford Club, for their Chairman’s Circle service (a package deal where you pay big $$ up front for lifetime access to all of their newsletters), is all about that next bit thing… and it implies that their recommended stock controls some hot “quantum” technology that will counter the fact that we can’t cram much more onto a single microchip now that we’re approaching the physical limitations of silicon.

And of course, it’s for a limited group only! Don’t you want to be in a special club? Here’s what they say…

“Today, I’m going to credit 37 Oxford Club Members – and 37 Members ONLY – with $2,500 in savings… money that could be used to get a “ground floor” stake in the most important tech innovation of the last 51 years.”

Oh, come on now.

Yes, the Oxford Club is doing what used to be really popular among most of the big publishers a few years back: selling “lifetime access to everything” and giving what appears to be an exciting deal, getting several $4,000/yr newsletters and a few cheaper letters forever for just a one time payment of $5,000 (sorry, $7,500 minus a “instant rebate” discount of $2,500) and a “maintenance fee” of a hundred bucks or so each year. They don’t mention that these $4,000 letters, in particular, tend to come and go as they flop or are rebranded or given new editors.

So there is some possibility that these deals turn out to be good for you, IF you actually like and want to follow their several super-expensive newsletters and think you’d be interested in following them for at least a few years… but it’s DEFINITELY a good deal for the Oxford Club, since they get their $5,000 up front and don’t have to convince you to renew in the future, and it’s got some nice marketing hooks — the idea of “owning” a “forever” subscription that you can pass along to your kids (if they keep paying those maintenance fees) might convince some folks who are otherwise in the “eh, maybe I’ll pay $150 for the Oxford Club… but $4,000 or $5,000 is way out of my league” camp. Perhaps it’s the notion of owning something instead of renting access that appeals to some investment-minded folks, I dunno.

Publishers know the value of getting cash up front — and they probably know that they can’t sell many of those newsletters for $4,000 a year to very many people even if the letters are pretty good and well-liked, if they sell them at all a lot of those sales will be at steep discounts to the “list” price. And yes, I have no doubt that they’d happily set the “limit” at 37 customers a day — presumably the ad campaign will go on for a while (it’s got a December date on the letter and is still active now), and I’d be surprised if they’ve had many days where the sales number for this product came anywhere close to that $185,000 (37 times $5,000) total for the day.

Plus, when you’re sharing or renting lists or exchanging them with other people, which is a substantial part of the business of any major direct publisher (no, Stock Gumshoe doesn’t sell, rent, loan or exchange our email list), a list of people who’ve paid for “lifetime” subscription is probably the ultimate asset — those are the people who everyone wants to market to, and presumably they’ll pay dearly for the privilege.

And coincidentally enough, to get off my high horse and back to the teaser pitch, this company they’re teasing is itself really all about “renting versus owning” — but in this case, it’s renting a software platform as a service. Something you’ve all heard of before and that’s often called “cloud computing” these days.

And no, they own no quantum technology or miracle device that lets you exceed the physical limitations of the microchip architecture. Not even close. That’s not the business they’re in at all.

Wait a minute, you say, there’s all this stuff in the ad about “quantum space” that sounds like a way to “pack in more power” for computers!

Yes, that’s what the ad focuses on — but it’s all mis