This ad has made the rounds before, under different headlines, but now it’s coming in with an Apple-related tease, which usually gets attention… and the newsletter itself has changed names, too, so we’re taking another look.
Here’s part of the tease from the latest ad for Jason Simpkins’ Wall Street’s Proving Ground newsletter (currently being sold at $99/yr, formerly called The Wealth Warrior)…
“The last time a technology like this was innovated, during World War II, it helped us beat the Axis Powers… and launched a small group of companies for historic gains as high as 21,608%.
“Now history is about to repeat itself…..
“There’s a COVID-19 fighting technology that is rolling out to “every public space in America.”
“… one tiny company has all the patents… and it trades for only $0.20.
“It just went IPO, and few know its ticker symbol…
“But that won’t last much longer.
“When its name becomes known, it won’t trade under $1 for long. Or even $10 or $25.”
Sounds irresistible, right? The “helped us beat the Axis Powers” stuff is about night vision technology, which he says helped defeat the Germans and Japanese when they were able to evade radar… and which is based on infrared technology, pioneered by Honeywell back then, and those defense contracts helped to turn Honeywell into a much larger company over time (though it certainly wasn’t all because of their night vision products).
And the emails introducing the ad drop the Apple name…
“This is a new patent filed by Apple for its next iPhone upgrade:
“In the details lies the KEY to a brand-new $19 trillion technology…
“One that Apple has invested $390 million in….
“Facebook is all in with a $100 million bet.
“Amazon is rolling out this tech in every single one of its warehouses.
“And Tesla has installed it in every new Model 3.
“The Washington Post calls this ‘a nationwide gold rush.'”
So what’s the big technology this time around? It doesn’t really have much to do specifically with that Apple patent, which is just one of many different patents for sensors built into the screen of electronic devices, but it is thematically in that neighborhood. More from the ad:
“One unlikely technology just jumped to the forefront of the war against coronavirus.
“Before the pandemic, it wasn’t involved at all in viruses.
“It stopped mass shootings in schools…Are you getting our free Daily Update
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“It prevented terror attacks in public arenas…
“And it made companies billions in sales.
“This saves lives and company profits.
“So why is it now on the front lines against COVID-19?
“Because all of its customers — big Fortune 100 companies and governments — are realizing something:
“The same technology that detects invisible security threats…
“Can be used to detect COVID-19 cases.
“It can scan big crowds, identify viral infections individually, and it can alert medical workers — all by itself.”
OK, that’s starting to sound a little familiar… not the COVID stuff, but the “mass shootings” and “made companies billions in sales” hints. Simpkins pitched a stock along those lines early in 2019, so is this just a repeat of that spiel?
(Spoiler alert: Yep. And no, it hasn’t below 20 cents since November of last year)
Let’s check a few more of the clues…
“It is not a vaccine. It’s not a test. It’s not even a medical device.
“Rather, this proprietary software combines artificial intelligence, thermal imaging, and machine learning…
“To expose the ‘invisible enemy’ wherever it rears its ugly head…
“Allowing us to stop infections from EVER breaking out in the first place.
“It’s sort of like a K-9 unit, sniffing out the virus everywhere it hides.”
And some wild overpromising about the capabilities of this technology to stop the coronavirus spread:
“I call it ‘Invisible Detection.’
“Because it is totally hidden. It’s unobtrusive.
“And it’s capable of bringing every single coronavirus infection to light. Instantly.
“This means NO second wave. NO second shutdown. NO more disastrous death toll.
“This won’t just save lives. It won’t just put our $19 trillion economy back in the fast lane…
“It’ll launch a slew of massive stock gains, the kind not seen since World War II.”
OK, he can call it “Invisible Detection”… I call it, “Hyperbole.”
There are several specific examples cited, in which Simpkins implies (but doesn’t quite say outright) that this company’s technology is the key….
“… an Amazon warehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Over 15 million items flow through it daily…
“And it hasn’t missed a beat since the pandemic struck.
“It’s never shut down.
“Every worker that enters the door is automatically screened…
“It’s not intrusive. Nobody sees it.
“And it never misses the virus. It detects it every single time.
“Because it screens for not one, but three ultimate indicators of COVID-19…
“Oxygen saturation levels
“That’s how it pinpoints the infected with stunning accuracy.”
OK, so as folks who know nothing about how to scan for disease that sounds pretty impressive, right?
And we get some hints that things are going great so far…
“Business Insider says “demand is skyrocketing as companies plan to reopen.”
“One industry insider says “on a scale of 1 to 10, interest is at 110 — it’s totally off the charts.”
“In the Coming Weeks, This Device Will Spread To Every Public Area in America
“It’s being rapidly deployed to dozens of the biggest companies… rebooting $19 trillion in economic activity.”
OK, so those are quotes about the general demand for “fever cameras” and similar technology, not necessarily for the demand for this particular company’s product. Which is a reminder, alas, of one of the core strategies of an investment promo piece… first, conjure up and describe the very real demand for a product or service; second, skip over the possibility that there might be thousands of companies who can provide this product or service, and put all that potential in the hands of “one tiny company.” The human brain is predestined to believe a narrative, a logical story that moves from Point A to Point B to Point C… and sometimes we don’t notice when the story, if well-crafted, moves from Point A to Point C without ever mentioning Point B.
In case you’re curious, that quote about “demand skyrocketing” is about thermal cameras and facial recognition in general, you can see that Business Insider article here.
And the quote about interest being “off the charts” is, again, just a reference to “smart cameras” in general, those that can be used to alert when people are crowding too close together, not wearing a mask, etc. — it’s from a Fast Company article here.
This pandemic has created sharp increases in demand for all kinds of screening and monitoring technologies, as people search for solutions that will allow them to reopen or make customers or employees feel safe, and, as always happens during times of scary change, it has also created entrepreneurial opportunities for anyone who wants to try to sell a thermal scanning product — so I’m sure that any company that makes infrared cameras or surveillance software is trying to sell it as a COVID solution (including Feevr and Athena Security, who have been scolded by IPVM, which tests surveillance systems (and now lists a directory of 206 suppliers that are trying to sell something like a “fever detector”).
And there’s yet more that tries to emphasize the size of the demand:
“This is why Big Tech is opening the purse strings for this.
“Apple is spending $390 million to use it in the iPhone 12.
“Facebook is buying in to the tune of $60 million.
“Google put down $45 million.
“Microsoft’s Bill Gates is betting big time, with a $74 million investment.
“And Alibaba led a fundraising round worth $600 million!
“The list goes on and on.
“As you can see, America’s richest men are loading their fortunes into it…
“And while they fully endorse “Invisible Detection” technology…