Editor's note: Today, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Stansberry Research, we're sharing an updated essay from Porter Stansberry. Originally featured in the Stansberry Digest in February, he's sharing this piece with a new introduction... and a new, urgent message for our subscribers. Enjoy.
Dear friends, it's been a while... and quite a journey for me...
I hope you'll pour yourself something cold (or perhaps brown or red) and get comfortable. Yes, today's DailyWealth essay is a little longer than normal. But today, I'm asking you to celebrate with me.
You see... Stansberry Research has now been around for 20 years.
I told Stansberry Digest readers back in February that this is the year I've spent my life working toward. So far, that's proven true.
And now, as a result, big changes are coming for Stansberry Research... changes that mean great things for our subscribers.
Let me tell you how we got here, and show you some of what we're doing now...
First, an introduction.
We have several thousand new subscribers who probably haven't ever read anything about (or from) me. Even longtime subscribers might not know the whole story...
So, for those of you who don't know me, my name is Porter Stansberry.
As you've probably guessed, I founded Stansberry Research and its parent company, Stansberry Holdings. Stansberry Holdings – which includes Stansberry Research, Legacy Research, TradeSmith, InvestorPlace, Altimetry, and Empire Financial Research – is one of the largest independent financial publishers in the world.
It might be the largest, but that depends on how you measure such things. Stansberry Holdings has about 1 million paid subscribers in more than 175 countries. Counting the readers of our many free "e-letters" and our online magazine American Consequences, we have several million readers around the world.
By "independent," we mean we only serve one customer – our subscribers...
We're not a traditional "mass media" company. Our business model isn't based around advertising... It's based on subscriptions. Likewise, we're not a money-management firm or an investment bank. We don't write about securities to broker them. We write about securities to educate our readers (and sometimes to amuse them).
And we never allow our analysts to buy or own the stocks they write about.
Why not? Because that would introduce the potential for a conflict of interest, which our business model is designed to strictly avoid. We only serve our subscribers. We are truly independent. Or as I explain to new employees, our job is to give investors the information we'd most want if our roles were reversed.
And every year, I've tried to make the information we provide just a little better, just a little more comprehensive, just a little more useful, and just a little more insightful than the year before.
While this formula has proven to work, when I suggested this model in the mid-1990s to older, far more established publishers in the financial newsletter business, most folks laughed... One well-known writer (with one of the biggest newsletters in the world) told me conspiratorially, "Porter, I'm not interested in a fair game."
You see, back then virtually all newsletters were fronts for stock promotion or loss leaders for money managers. The New York Times wrote a wonderful article back in 1995 that accurately described the state of the industry back then – "compromising," the writer called it.
In short, our success in this industry couldn't have been more unlikely...
I started the company in 1999, when I was only 26 years old, using a borrowed laptop computer and sitting at my kitchen table. I didn't have any capital. I didn't have much experience. And my business plan – to treat our subscribers honestly and fairly – was woefully naïve.
I did, however, have one significant advantage. I knew a lot about the Internet...
I'd been using computer networks since the 1980s, back when websites were called "bulletin boards" and memory was stored on cassette tapes. And I grew up with some brilliant computer science engineers, who introduced me to things like Internet Protocol ("IP") telephony and e-mail back in the early 1990s. Long before anyone started getting AOL discs in the mail, I knew that the Internet was going to change the world significantly.
So, I wrote a letter (remember letters... with real envelopes and stamps?) to investors just like you, around the country – and later around the world. I told those folks there was a "new railroad being built across America," and that it would "make some people very rich."
The "new railroad" was, of course, the Internet and the fiber-optic cables being laid across America...
And as unlikely as it might have seemed to some at the time, the Internet did change the world in vast and powerful ways. My newsletter followed these trends and helped investors make a lot of money in a few of that era's biggest winners.
But unlike many of the "tech gurus" of the Internet bubble, I wasn't only writing about risky, high-growth tech stocks...
I was also fascinated by how technology was eliminating long-entrenched, dominant U.S. companies. I could see that businesses based on old technologies – like Kodak and the original AT&T (the long-distance provider) – were doomed. And I advocated, just as I continue to do today, that investors "hedge" their risky tech-stock investments with short positions in these doomed companies. I called this approach to portfolio management "pirate investing."
I thought the metaphor helped explain how doomed companies were going to have their market share destroyed by technology...
Digital photography, for example, wasn't merely competitive with chemical film. It destroyed the market. Fiber-optic networks and IP telephony didn't merely offer better long-distance communication... they made distance irrelevant and destroyed the entire market for long-distance service. And they obliterated all of the demand for Lucent's big Class-5 telephone switches.
What happened to Lucent and Kodak? Within five years of missing its first earnings forecast (in January 2000), Lucent shares had fallen from more than $80 to around $2. One of America's strongest businesses (with 165,000 employees) was decimated by a technology – fiber-optic networking – that has produced huge amounts of wealth. And Kodak? It filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012.
But I hope you'll understand...
Our business has been successful not because of anything I brought to the table back in 1999, but because of the things we've built since.
Whether it's Steve Sjuggerud's efforts to discover the best market-timing models that actually work and monitor virtually every market in the world through his True Wealth Systems service...
Or Dr. David Eifrig's efforts to systematically compare and rate every type of income investment that's currently available in the stock market – from "muni bonds" to real estate investment trusts ("REITs") – in Income Intelligence...
Or any of the dozen or so other products we've launched in the last decade...
Through it all, we've consistently created new and far more comprehensive research products than were ever available from independent financial publishers before.
Just as important, we haven't only helped subscribers know what to buy... We've also been far better than most at helping people avoid some of the market's biggest catastrophes over the last 20 years. For instance, I wrote several detailed letters from the "Chairman of General Motors" explaining why GM's impending bankruptcy was inevitable, long before the financial crisis erupted.
But my most famous "short" recommendation was explaining why Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (then the most powerful and largest mortgage banks in the world) were actually worth less than zero just a few months before they collapsed. Barron's picked up my work and published my conclusions in its lead column by the legendary financial writer Alan Abelson.
Here's my point. We've come a long way over the past 20 years. And of course, we're not content with only serving our subscribers with reports...
We've recently invested several million dollars building our own research terminal.
Believe me when I say one thing: We designed this tool to be a game-changer for our readers.
It provides access to key stock metrics, our investment research, our Stansberry NewsWire service, and our incredible library of investment models and analytics... including our proprietary ratings... all in one place.
Plus, the Stansberry Terminal is accessed with a simple "app." You can use it on your computer, your smartphone, or your tablet. There's no expensive hardware to buy and no complex system to learn. It's just point and click.
So... that's who I am and what we've done with this company over the last 20 years...
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people who've built this special place with me and to our Alliance members who have put their trust in our work.
Our Alliance members enabled us to do these things and have cemented the unique culture of our business. For those who don't know, our first Alliance subscription sale in 2003 promised essentially all of our financial research at Stansberry Research, both now and in the future, for an initiation fee of just $2,700.
Today, the Stansberry Alliance costs $30,000 – but our original Alliance members never paid more as the price went up. Nor did any Alliance member who chose to subscribe as we continually grew our product offerings each year. The price they originally paid to join included all of our future products, too.
Talk about a virtuous circle. Our Alliance members believed in us and profited from our work, allowing us to build more and better products to serve them. As we grew, they got more and more from the relationship with us. And their support allowed us to invest heavily in building a better and better business.
That's the real secret to our success.
But no matter how much has changed about what we do, one thing has remained exactly the same: My goal today is the same as it was back in 1999.
No, I'm not using a borrowed laptop computer anymore, but I'm still working just as hard to give investors the information I'd want most if our roles were reversed.
In that spirit – and in the spirit of celebration – we've just announced something special to thank our subscribers for the past 20 years. (I'll spoil at least some of the surprise right now: part of it has to do with the Stansberry Terminal.)
I believe that in its own way, it might be an even better way to serve you than our original Alliance membership deal, back when we first started... So take a few minutes and learn all about it right here.
Editor's note: We wanted you to know what an honor it's been to serve you for the past 20 years. That's why the biggest names in our company recently sat down together to share our story... and to make two big announcements. Most of all, we hope what's coming will be an even better way for you to make money using our research. Watch the video right here.
Looking back... Catch up on some of our popular DailyWealth essays over the past year here:
An Easy $85 Million a Year for the Government... Retire the Penny
My Fascinating Friend Svein on How to 'Do Good'
How to Retire With No Savings
If You're So Rich, Why Do You Still Work?
How to Prevent a Bear Attack
Successful investors are always filling their "tool boxes" with key trading secrets. And this tool is one that every investor needs to know inside and out...
'UGLY IS IN': RIDING THE TREND FROM 'BAD TO LESS BAD'
Today, we're taking a look at one of our favorite investing themes...
Steve often recommends investing in situations that are going from "bad to less bad." You can make a lot of money when investors stop panicking and start putting money to work again. Today's company is more proof of this idea...
Crocs (CROX) is the $2.3 billion maker of Crocs – the clunky shoes that you love to hate. But believe it or not, Gen Z loves them – period. Celebrities like Drew Barrymore even have their own Crocs fashion lines, and actress Zooey Deschanel is a brand ambassador. Shares recently fell in May after investors overreacted to trade-war concerns. Now that those worries have faded, they're on the rise again. It's a perfect example of profiting when things go from "bad to less bad"...
As you can see on the chart, shares are up nearly 90% from their June lows... And they're still climbing higher. As investors forget their fears, this trend in "ugly" shoes should continue for now...