The first use of the term FUD – for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt – was by Gene Amdahl after he left IBM to found his own company. Gene said; “FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering [Amdahl] products.” It’s a powerful marketing technique. It spreads dark clouds over the competition.
IBM turned FUD into an art form. One of their TV commercials was built around a single slogan: "No one has ever been fired for choosing IBM". The implicit message to bully customers into a sale is "good things happen to people who stay aboard, regardless of what the ship is doing!" While the term FUD was coined in the computer hardware industry, software giant Microsoft perfected it.
Microsoft is often called a marketing machine. I would have to agree, being proud Microsoft Alum. There is a reason many say it takes three releases of a software product before it is reliable. Microsoft is not measured by technically inferior products through the first two releases. It is measured by brand. It succeeds with FUD marketing.
Compared to the financial services industry, however, IBM and Microsoft are bit players. The financial services industry has taken FUD to an entirely new level. Everything about this industry has two opposing points of view. This would normally be called a debate. But, with very little transparency to the conflicts of interest, it is FUD marketing. The inherent turbulence on Wall Street is being fanned because the dark clouds are being generated by so many.
The vision that Scott and I share is the opportunity to offer a real challenge to the investment management business. Scott had always provided insight and clarity for the do-it-yourself investor. Many people “get it” when it comes to investing. But they drop the ball when it comes to execution. We felt we could bridge the gap and do things many investors fail to do. We do the work and make it happen. We take responsibility for the details.
We are confident we have hit the right note. In the past couple months we have added more than one customer per day, from nine different states. While we have to become much larger to cover our monthly expenses, we are excited to see how you are sharing our vision.
The purpose of my blog will be to help our readers make sense of things going on in the industry. We are also learning a number of lessons from our investment customers. I think they make for great commentary and I am eager to share what we learn.
I think we can all agree … NO ONE knows what tomorrow holds! Yet, in the dark clouds, “good things" lay in wait to hold us in. Therefore, welcome to the first installment of Capital Gains where courage, clarity, and confidence, well grounded with humility, will be our guide to ensuring your money works for you.