About The Spear Report, Independent Investor and Gregory Spear

Hello I’m Gregory Spear

In late 2005, Gregory Spear told one of his employees to contact me and ask for data collected and cataloged by me for a “personal private research projects”, probably knowing very well that if he asked for the data telling the truth about his ambitions for commercial exploitation, chances are he would not have gotten it as easily as he did. If you’ve ever written backtester software, you are probably well aware of the fact that the data alone does not give you much, unless you are willing and able to make software to make use of the data. Each weekly dataset typically consist of some 50 megabytes of data, so the usual “fund manager method” of doing simple filtering in Excel will not work (one backtest typically sift few a few hundred such datasets for each simulation). I believe Gregory Spear had grossly underestimated the work involved, and he needed somebody who could write such systems. He knew who I was, and in April 2006 I got the following email:

Dear Marias, (I hope I have your name right)

My small newsletter publishing company is 10 years old and publishes several financial newsletters distributed by both Forbes.com and Zacks.com, as well as by ourselves. We also have an asset management company to manage the assets of enthusiastic readers.

We have been developing a backtesting product that uses our proprietary Consensus database, consisting of stocks recommended by 120+ newsletters, computer screens, etc, including the AAII screens.

We recently lost our programmer, however, due to a death in his family, and are now searching for a replacement.

Your obvious talent in backtesting and in software development has made me wonder if you would consider working with us…

The rest of the email goes into detail about how they need my talent for developing a series of products, offering services for low and high end users and making my backtester work on their own “Concensus” data, how I would get access to professional data (“the expensive stuff”) and similar.

Initially I politely blow him off, telling him that I’m not willing to relocate, that I doubt he would be able to fund my time and the data, but I also admit I’m a bit curious about getting my feet wet in the industry, and that I was interested in looking into more professional data sets. I remain skeptical and we go back and forth a bit. A this time my girlfriend was pregnant with our second baby (I already had a two year old baby girl), and we were in the process of building a new house. There were quite a few issues to work out, but in the end we do end up with a contract which I believe would allow me to continue my work in investing and related software development, but at the same time secure myself and family financially without worrying about getting paid for the next couple of years, giving us the necessary financial buffer while building a new house.

We manage to agree on a contract whereby Gregory Spear through his company Independent Investor, Inc would fund development of new systems, he would acquire new professional data and I would do the work necessary to get everything working into a product he could monetize. Everything would be done on a non-exclusive basis, meaning he would be granted full usage rights for everything produced, but so would I, except for a non-compete that he would then  have to compensate me for. During Summer 2006 we finalize all the details and I start working.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: