Set forth below is the text of an e-mail that I sent on April 12, 2004, to Ken Evoy, owner of the SiteSell.com web hosting company:
Thanks much for all the work you have put into the investing project.
I am responding here to your suggestion that I forward product ideas directly to you. I posted a comment at the Active thread putting forward some general, philosophical ideas re the types of business opportunities that I believe exist here. My aim with this e-mail is to supply some specifics.
The need and opportunity that I see is for something that helps people understand the realities of stock investing on an ONGOING basis. You’ve made the comparison between the internet business issue and
the investing issue. I think that that comparison is apt. One of the most important things that SiteSell offers is the discussion boards. It’s not enough for people to learn what works and then implement on their own what they learn. They need ONGOING FEEDBACK.
That’s how we all learn. We come up with some idea as to what works, perhaps through reading. But we
don’t really have confidence in what we have learned until we test it in the real world. And there are always confusing experiences that turn up. We need to run those past other people to gain a deeper confidence in what we are doing. I believe that there is a great need for people to have some sort of mechanism for ongoing feedback and support re their implementation of the Permanent Portfolio concept.
One way to provide this would be to set up a section of the SiteSell forum for investing discussions. The forum could offer help with five sorts of matters:
1) A place for people following the unconventional investing ideas to bat around ideas with others of like mind;
2) A place to alert others to developments of interest to people following these ideas. For example, new research could be noted. Or people could report problems they experienced and others could offer suggestions for dealing with them. Or people could ask about the practical details of purchasing the right ETFs and so on;
3) People could seek help in setting up their own sites dealing with different issues in this field. I believe that we are living through a revolution in our understanding of how investing works. The subtitle of
Shiller’s book even describes his findings as “revolutionary.” Yet the investing advice offered today is precisely what it was before Shiller published his research. The revolutionary advances have so far not been reflected in the practical world. We need to rewrite all the rules. There could be hundreds of successful web sites doing this on an ongoing basis (there are thousands now in place that advocate the discredited, conventional advice);
4) Products could be developed. For example, there could be lots of ebooks addressing lots of particular questions in great depth. CD sets could be produced. Consulting could be offered. The possibilities are pretty much unlimited. There are HUGE amounts of money at stake here. And the ideas we are talking about have rock-solid support in the data and in the research. There are millions of people who need this
material. And it is almost impossible to find it today. That’s a powerful combination of realities!
5) A place for people to explore the Active side of this. I am not so excited about the Active side. But others are. And it could be that those exploring Active ideas will come up with good stuff. A discussion board would provide a place to capture and examine good ideas.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. I am grateful for your willingness to give them a listen.