No. of Recommendations: 7

Thank you for your off-board e-mail.

OK, I'll apologize for pissing you off (which was obviously my intent). Also, your point about recs is a valid one (and I agree they are fairly ineffective—actually, I'm thinking about going into counseling; see: ). However, your post to Greg seemed mean-spirited and pissed me off in turn (your YTD hardly counts as a track record either). Greg's a big boy and I should let him defend himself. [And yes, there is great science done in lots of places besides Boston, and frankly I'd rather live in Idaho than most states (the skiing and fishing are better!).]

As I said/implied, neither yours (17%), Greg's (842%--wow!) or my (61%) YTD numbers are very significant. I've posted several times in the past that 99% of my money is split between HFCGX and VFINX (both obviously mechanical strategy funds which don't require me to do any thinking). The piddly few $'s of individual stocks I buy in my trading account are just for my own amusement, and not really a good way to judge my stock-picking talents. I would undoubtedly have behaved very differently if large sums were on the line (although I am proud of my 3-year 50%/year before-taxes track record, despite its lack of statistical significance over such a short time period). However, I'm perfectly willing to espouse my stock-picking strategies, whatever their worth, on these boards.

If anyone believes what he or she reads on the TMF without doing their own DD, they deserve what they get. I also think that has taken this to new heights of risk. I'm not really against the idea, but buyers beware. So far I've only purchased Sux's RS report, and haven't read far enough yet to draw any conclusions. He, like Greg, is a respected poster of fairly long standing, so I thought 20 bucks was worth the risk.

I've been investing since I was a teenager, and have made LOTS of stupid mistakes from which I've learned a great deal. I continue to do so. I firmly believe that taking control of your own financial destiny requires one to make mistakes and learn from them. Those who are able to learn from their mistakes will have a much better than average chance of retiring with a nice nest egg. The rest will to varying degrees be invested in propping up that ultimate Ponzi scheme that we can't get rid of, Social Security. I suspect some of the reports will contribute to Fool's making mistakes, but hopefully in the process they'll learn to do their own DD and be better investors for it. TMF is not perfect, but it really does encourage people to think for themselves, which is a huge public service. Some will stub their toes along the way, but that goes with the territory.

Greg is not a biotech expert, but he is knowledgeable about patent law, and Bart presumably provides a practical viewpoint from the biotech trenches in their report (which I haven't read). I've certainly disagreed with some of Greg's conclusions in the past. But I've also learned a lot from him. Since I didn't have to pay a dime, that's a pretty good deal. I don't think his report was meant for someone like me who works in biotech, but if he'd care to provide me with a free copy (hint, hint!) and was willing to take the good with the bad, I'd be happy to provide an independent appraisal on or off the record. I'm sure someone with a financial background like Datasnooper would be willing to do the same from their distinct point of view. I think it would be a good idea for all writers to get independent reviews from knowledgeable parties. This would be much more valuable than the current posted reviews by God-knows-who. They are purporting to present the distillate of their “expertise” and shouldn't be afraid of other expert's opinions (if they are, they shouldn't be selling a report). I'm sure neither you nor I would ever submit a scientific paper without first getting several colleagues we respected to review it. One can be a bit blind about one's own work and it helps minimize the chances of getting nuked by the official reviewers at the journal. I've always thought that was a big problem with journalists. They are so invested in being “independent” that they end up publishing a lot of BS that a quick review by a real expert would have caught. If I was going to interview Craig Venter about bioinformatics, I'd ask him to read it over before it was published. He knows a lot more about the subject of the article than I do! Just a thought, Greg (or maybe you and Bart have already done this behind the scenes).

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled, hopefully friendlier, programming.

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