music selection: “Dance Of Death” — Iron Maiden
The Motley Fool played an important part in my early investing journey. My undergrad and grad school training involved indoctrination in the Efficient Market Hypothesis, which we “proved” using THE ONE HIGH AND HOLY MATHEMATICS [Amen] quite exhaustively. I started out quite content to index myself and wait four decades to retire. It was the Fool that persuaded me perhaps markets were not 100% efficient and it might be possible to beat the indexes and retire early. For that I am forever thankful.
One of the things I liked best about the Fool was their impeccable ethics. Alas, that is also where they fell from grace. Their marketing has always been rather aggressive but not too long ago they stepped over the line with their Sierra Wireless advertisement. They essentially guaranteed an 8,500% return. They further described the issue as “the only stock you will ever need to own.” This clearly violated their long held view on prudent diversification.
There were many howls of protest on the (excellent) user boards within the site. And here is where the Gardner brothers really dropped the ball for me. They could have owned up and admitted they made a mistake and outlined what was being done to ensure the marketing department wouldn’t run amok again. Instead, they made excuses. The community wanted an apology and none was forthcoming. I was subscribed to “Stock Advisor” and “Income Investor” and called customer service to cancel and request refunds on each. To their credit there was no resistance to issuing my pro-rated refund.
I still play CAPS on their site. I still read Alyce Lomax. And I especially still read Morgan Housel. But I don’t give them my money.
Devour your prey raptors!