About The Spear Report, Independent Investor and Gregory Spear

Work, work, work

During the winter months in 2006 I make great progress on the systems, and most of the things are runnable most of the time. In addition to developing system, I also set up an issue tracking system, hour registration system where I report hours spent based on data from the source code revision tools and more to make sure Gregory Spear knows he is getting value for his money. He is; I deliver a lot more hours than he is actually paying for. I keep pushing for feedback and try to get Gregory Spear and his people to use the system, but I’m not getting a lot of feedback. The feedback I am getting is that everything is looking great. At the beginning of 2007 I hear less and less from Gregory Spear.

January 2007 my second daughter is born. I proudly announce this to Gregory Spear and his crew, and receive congratulations all around. Everybody is happy, and Gregory Spear’s company actually arranges to have a flowerbasket delivered to my house. Happy days all around. The code is running fine and I spend some time to write detailed documentation for using the software, hoping that would make it easier for Gregory Spear and his people to start testing and doing the research they need to do. I also tell him that the software is getting to a stage where it should be possible to release it for beta testing, but remind him that we still have no data (other than the data I had collected, which is not supposed to be used according to the contract).

During January there seems to be lots of incidents at Spear’s end, with both routers and servers failing, and I spend a lot of time getting everything reinstalled and set up correctly again.

In the beginning of February I remind Gregory Spear again that if he wants to try launch such products commercially, we need an e-commerce backend, support systems and more, and they need to get moving on this so we can launch. In the meantime I inform Gregory Spear that I’ll keep working on getting more features and systems in place. I get no response from Gregory Spear until a month later (beginning of March 2007).

Another month passes, contract payments are not being done, when Gregory finally responds with the following email:

Marius,
I have been wrapping up some other projects and want to get into the backtester now in a lot of detail. We need to gear up for a launch. We can’t go much longer without revenue.
I want to spend a lot of time in the next week or so on skype with you, to understand what’s been done. It will be more efficient for you to walk me through it than for me to try to figure it all out myself.

This after I’ve been chasing him down for months to do the necessary work at his end before launch. Late April 2007 I send him a first formal “30-day late-notice” related to contractual payments in our contract. He immediately responds and stories about how he believes it had been paid, some misunderstanding etc. In the same email he also delivers the following golden nugget:

We do have a bit of a cash crunch, because we are so far behind in launching or getting revenue from the old product as planned. I can borrow to pay you, and will if necessary, but I would like to ask for a return to $10k per month until we have some income from the product, with no effect on the total amount due, or your right to pull the plug as per the contract at any time and insist on all monies owed.

He’s hinting about delays at my end? Hasn’t he been reading email for the last three months? Also, keep in mind the contract was for a period of two years for developing the new system. Less than half way through the contract I was getting ready to launch, and he was seriously behind. And now he is trying to pin it on me? Give me a break.

I politely explain back to him the cashflow issues at my end as well; 2nd child, finish building a new house. I remind him that he was the one that demanded in the contract that I work exclusively for him, which made it impossible for me to work elsewhere to handle my own cash issues, and that unless he started paying sooner rather than later I would have no choice but terminating the contract according to the non-payment clause.

After this Gregory Spear says he will pay, but then fails to do so. I follow up, and I get this:

Hi. We’ve just nailed down two investors in the company, but it may take a week or two to get the cash.
I should be able to get your payment for April out by the end of next week and then the May payment within two weeks thereafter. Is this OK?

I thank him and say that will be fine, actually believing he would pay. We discuss a bit back and forth related to CMS systems and similar. A week later, I get:

Marius,
You’ve been trying to get me to do this since January, and I’ve gotten started a few times, but now that I’ve got much of our systems and funding issues settled (for awhile) I can finally get into the backtester.

Funding issues resolved, great. Then another gem from Gregory Spear:

Marius,

I think the product as-is will do for the first beta launch to the Keelix list. It looks very good. It’s great work. I have lots of ideas for interface changes, but let’s get it out there so we start getting feedback from users, too.

I’d like to start selling access now, as we install the new data – because we really need the income to pay your bill! The final paperwork on the investor money is taking longer than I expected and your bills have put us below operating income for the first time.

We’ll take care of the ecommerce and access software, but is the product ready for release to the Keelix list? (Free trial for a few weeks, then payment required.)

Again, it’s my fault he is defaulting on payments, after I’ve more than halved the payments required by the contract and he is seriously delayed on the last payments? I remind him again that he was the one that required that I drop all other projects and work exclusively for him. I also explain that without any payment software or e-commerce backend, controlling access to the backtester would be a manual process. In addition I explain to him, again, that the number of users on the existing site I have and optimistic conversion ratios will cover few, if any, expenses related to launching. Regardless, we are all scrambling to get all the pieces in place, and I try to help him get all the basic systems (not related to the software I’ve been contracted to deliver) up and running.

On July 12th 2007 I ask Gregory Spear about the multiple outstanding payments, and when he plans on being current according to our contract. Simulatenously I train his tech guy on how to run and operate the software I’ve written. Then I get a long email about him launching some new products (newsletters, nothing related to the products I have been working on), on how those product should be able to get him back in black. Suddenly the investors he confirmed he had gotten earlier haven’t materialized after all, and he is still running around trying to get funding. Plus I get another sob story about how he is desperate, confirming I have every right to walk away from the contract. He also plays the “maybe it’s better to complete the project by off-shoring the work without me” card, which I never took seriously of course.

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