About The Spear Report, Independent Investor and Gregory Spear

Trouble ahead

September 28., 2006, the very same day that I had sent Gregory Spear the UPS tracking number for the signed contract, Gregory Spear sends me an email instructing me to shutting down free access to the backtester on my webpage, and suggest charging $100/month for access. We had discussed what to do with the old website, and I had said I wanted to keep it as it was, and that it would be an excellent tools to “up-sell” more advanced systems and data. The free backtester was by now an old product, running on an old codebase and with data that had been explicitely excluded from the contract. Despite this, Gregory Spear believed he could just slap a $100/month fee on it and the money would roll in. I’ve been developing software products for quite a few years (read the About section..) and knew that this would never succeed, and convinced him this would not be a good idea. He accepted this, but this would be an issue he would raise again and again later. Probably because he was already low on money and desperately needed income. Again and again I ran the numbers by him; even the best-case numbers for short-term revenue didn’t cover the outlays necessary to get an e-commerce backend up and running, not even factoring in the cost of support.

Even before the ink on the contract had dried up, Gregory Spear contacts me with a sob story on how they had managed to lose $70.000 on messing up trades at their end, and they need to renegotiate the terms of the contract. Reluctantly I accept being paid a bit less initially, but with the same overall total, but keep the right to demand full payment at any time. Payments were more or less continously delayed, and sometimes not even the full amounts due.

Late October 2006 I see another red flag; while working on another demo of his still-not-described still-not-implemented PWR/Concensus system, he wants screenshots to show to another big-brand media partner. I’ve already told him that until he can describe what this PWR/Concesus system actually should do, I will not be able to implement it. I also suggest he implements screenshots himself using an HTML editor, which he initially agrees to do, but obviously never does. Then suddenly he sends me some old code that he has inherited from a “merger” with another company. He claims this is software they use for publishing his newsletters, but except from a machine where the software was somewhat running, the software existed as some fairly simple SQL-Server scripts. He wanted me to “fix” the software so he could run demos. There was no documentation, and he had no access to people who knew the software to any degree. I personally talked to some of the former “programmers” who had been working for him earlier, but none of them had written the software. It became obvious that this software had been inherited from the former “merger” which probably ended with threats of a lawsuit and a confidential settlement. I have no idea whether the software had been stolen or not, but I politely declined to have anything to do with it.

Later the same month I reveal a new version of the software I am building for them, and ask for details to start implementing the PWR/Concensus system. It becomes obvious that the “patent pending” systems is nothing but a loosely set of ideas of consolidating picks from external sources, and applying some numerical ranking operations to sort the lists. I’m also shocked that despite heavy marketing of these systems in Gregory Spear’s own products, he hasn’t actually been able to test (backtest) whether his ideas actually seem to work or not. That will be one of the first things we need to do with the new backtester he responds. Uh-oh.

During November 2006 I update the new software frequently, and Gregory Spear and his people start using the new software on the server I set up at their office. His analyst had some jobs they have been running on my free backtester which they port over to the new software I’m writing, and they praise me for the great work. I also help Gregory Spear recruit a new technical person, screening CVs and similar on the Monster site. We find a person qualified for doing simpler things that Gregory Spear needed done internally.

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: