Andrew Left and Shopify

So I receive an interesting question on Andrew Left’s latest rant against Shopify.

Hey dude, would you be able to write a post about what Andrew Left does? I’m curious because is what he does actually legal? Isn’t that a blatant form of market manipulation by using your influence to affect share prices?

I had written a long post about Andrew Left before, but for some reason, I never posted. Instead, I’m going to resume everything I’ve said in this post with this one picture:

Seriously though, why is his face so screwed up? What the fuck happened to him? This isn’t him just leaning a bit to the side (although he is), his eyes really are as skewed as they look. See this slightly less flattering picture:

It’s funny how in every fucking picture, interview or video of him, he’s always leaning left (ANDREW LEFT EVERYONE LOL). By the way: if you are getting a mugshot, at least clean the white shit off your lips (and barb – ewwww.)

Seriously though, what’s wrong with his fucking eyes? And nose? Is this one of those “ma’am, your baby is coming out wrong, we need to use forceps and I haven’t had a good biceps workout in a while so Imma really apply myself?” His left eye looks a bit more in the back too, so my guess is some kind of accident or, better yet, some guy punching the shit out of him (a right-handed puncher, clearly) and him not recovering properly (swelling probably).

But anyway, enough making fun of his appearance: the guy is also a massive narcissist with a god complex, obsessed with his image and how people perceive him. He’s always right, even when he’s wrong:

December 2016

Right.

I mean, just look at his page “So You Want to Sue Citron Research” (Even the Title Is Fucking Annoying):

Two years ago, Stocklemon published a series of critical reports on GTX Global.

[…]

GTX sued Stocklemon, announcing their action with a flashy press release titled: “GTX Global files $50 million lawsuit against Stocklemon.”

[…]

Just last week, the CEO of GTX Global was picked up by FBI Agents at an airport in New York as he was charged with conspiracy and money laundering.

Yes, Andrew, I’m sure the FBI arresting this guy had everything to do with his lawsuit against you. In fact, the FBI was just waiting for this guy to sue you so they could arrest him.

But perhaps his funniest line (now unfortunately removed from his website) was the way he presented his arrest, which led to the photo posted above:

How the hell do you get arrested after a “petty” dispute? Especially one with a fucking dry cleaner? “YOU DIDN’T CLEAN MY SUIT CORRECTLY I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

I mean, if you are going to get arrested for a petty dispute, at least get arrested over something worthwhile. “Oh no, $5 to dry clean my pants!” Seriously, I’d be curious to hear what happened that day.

But anyway, let’s get back to the man: a self-congratulating narcissist who always posts the same kind of garbage:

This TERRIBLE company has done something TERRIBLE and is ABOUT TO BE SHUT DOWN and CRIMINAL and CHARGES and ILLEGAL and SMOKING GUN!!!!!!!! 

Just look at some of the quotes from his recent “reports” which is perhaps worthy of a five grader desperately wanting a 90% so he can pass his English class and not do summer school:

Shopify Immediate Price Target- $60- and that is before they are caught red handed by the FTC

Wow, we are so lucky we have people like you do critical criminal investigation, Andrew Left! Surely the FTC woke up this day and thought, “Damn, I guess we have to catch these guys red-handed now!”

The source of this “criminal enterprise?” Some vague interpretation of a vague law, followed by another vague comparison to Herbalife (a completely different business altogether):

Like any good research, we start with Google.  Just search YouTube for the term “Shopify millionaire” and their marketing strategy becomes obvious.

Ah, Google, the primary source of all good criminal investigations. Top tier research here.

Shopify calls these affiliates “partners.”

And Shopify doesn’t hide these promoters – they are right out in the open for everyone to see.

/r/conspiracy in action here. Shopify doesn’t hide these promoters. Shocking!

OK, SO WE CAN AGREE THAT SHOPIFY’S METHOD OF RECRUITING IS “DODGY.”  

No, we cannot.

BUT IS IT LEGAL??  NO!

It’s time to End this Dangerous Game of Greed NOW!

Let us start with the most obvious comparison – Herbalife.  In its settlement with the FTC Herbalife was, among other stipulations, declared to be in violation of FTC by over-promising success for its distributors.

Herbalife’s behavior was tame when compared to Shopify’s.  On a corporate level, Herbalife never talked about making distributors millionaires or actually suggested that they quit their job.

[…]

Worse, indulging in misconduct that that Herbalife could never dream of, Shopify goes so far as to offer a sample resignation letter to your boss on its corporate website.  They’re advising their own prospective customers to quit their day jobs? Who is Shopify’s legal counsel?!?

I don’t get it. Andrew Left seems to fundamentally misunderstand what Shopify is.

Shopify is a platform that allows you to open your online business. It allows you to have a website, accept credit card payments, managing inventories, taxes, etc. To quote Shopify itself: “Everything you need to start an online store and sell online.” And to be honest, Shopify is a pretty solid platform. Much better than the garbage Etsy (a little different, but still).

Will most business owners become millionaires on Shopify? No. But will most business owners in general become millionaires? Overall, I just don’t get his points. He claims that Shopify misrepresents  its product, by promising too much to its prospective clients. The same can be said of pretty much every business there is. 90% of restaurants go bankrupt within 2 years for instance, and franchise practices are, in my opinion, extremely dodgy, yet no one complains.

Yes, you are likely to lose money on Shopify. But you could also be really successful. That’s called doing business. Just look at how often Trump failed before he suceeded. How many bankruptcies, three?

So anyway, I’ll skip the rest, because I thought this “report” was even more vapid than the ones before it. It’s mass entertainment with very little content.

To go back to Andrew Left (and the question): he has every attributes of people I hate, namely:

  1. He’s crooked (not just physically)
  2. He’s totally in love with himself and needs to be in the news every month or else he dies (see: Elon Musk, but a bit nerfed)
  3. He’s intentionally misleading people, misconstruing facts and coming to totally abhorrent conclusions based on nothing but random guesses, stupid assumptions and worthless ideas.
  4. He ALWAYS write in CLICKBAIT stupid CRAP and his work have VERY LITTLE informative ideas.
  5. He’s always right and everyone else is inferior to him. He’s a god and you are his peons.
  6. He’s fucking stupid, watch how his ex-wife took him to  the cleaners (LOL)
  7. Nothing to add here, just wanted to say: how fucking stupid do you have to be to not only date a woman like that, but marry her?
  8. Overall just a fucked up guy in the head.
  9. Incredibly annoying in his WRITING STYLE which is ALWAYS SHOCKING SMOKING GUN END OF THE WORLD REVELATION every 2 words.
  10. Shallow, hypocrite, cowardly and a dishonest market manipulator.

So I have every reason in the world to hate him, right?  I mean, generally, I hate people like Andrew Left in real life more than anything. They’re annoying, they take all the space, they know everything and they always treat you like you’re nothing.

… and yet I don’t hate him. Not even one bit. In fact, I love him to death.

Let me explain.

After this SHOCKING REVELATION CAUGHT RED-HANDED

See, I told you this was annoying.

Andrew Left made me more money than perhaps every single person on Earth. At this point, making money is so easy I almost feel bad for him and his divorce. Might send him a couple of dollars or pay him a dry cleaning somewhere.

My strategy is simple:

  • Wait for him to release one of his “report” on a big shot company.
  • Wait for the stock to stop crashing
  • Buy

I don’t think I can make this strategy any simpler. The only exception to that rule is pharmas, but I never buy pharmas anyway. They’re all crap.

Of course I read his report, but it rarely takes me more than 2 minutes to realize it’s full of shit. For instance:

His original report, Auguest 2015, claimed the company was worth under $10 per share. He also claimed NVDA was worth $90, Motorola Solutions $45 and now Shopify $50. None of his 2017 predictions came true. In fact, neither came even slightly close.

This guy is just a showman, a guy who likes to make headlines and look sharp in front of the camera, yet who doesn’t have the intellect or skills to back it up. Instead, he makes crazy predictions with just a slight hint of truth and once in a while, he’ll get one right and look like a genius.

In a way, I can’t blame him. That’s what the sheep in the market want. A guru, a leader who looks strong, despite only shouting BS. He’s an artist, an artisan, an expert in his craft and I can respect that. By the way Andrew, Wayfair costs 19% to short here. That’s two years of paying nearly 20% in fees, plus the increase.­ Ouch.

So that’s why I love him so much: if you are even slightly smart, you know how to recognize his short attacks as a GREAT opportunity to add.

I’ve been wanting to add Shopify to my portfolio for a long time and he has given me the perfect entry point:

So thank you for that, God Andrew! I don’t want to promote my Patreon, but:

Is it really that easy? Yes, hahaha. Just stay away from dry cleaning businesses.

So to answer the original question from the reader: is what Andrew Left doing legal? To be honest, I don’t know. Andrew Left likes to say that if you sue him, you’ll be arrested by the FBI, but the fact is that Mr. Left is not a lawyer, let alone one specialized in that kind of dispute (nor is he specialized in divorces, I guess LOL). He’s been sued 5 times and won all 5 lawsuits, but to be fair, he was being sued by relatively small companies that had little chance to carry a lawsuit to its end. I’m not so sure Andrew would win a lawsuit against Nvidia.

Mr. Left uses the first amendment and claims he’s simply sharing his opinion, but one cannot ignore how he purposely misconstrue and misinterpret facts to mislead people. If he recommended shorting a stock and the stock soared, and his claims were proven to be false (as they are), I’m not so sure an investor who lost money following his advice couldn’t sue him. He writes a lot of crap that is patently false.

Still, overall, stock analysts are quite protected against this kind of lawsuit. They only have to say that they are doing this for entertainment and not as investing advice and they are generally okay.

Could he be sued for stock manipulation? Intentionally crashing stocks? Unlikely. This would come from the SEC and the SEC’s incompetence is legendary (see: Financial crisis). Not gonna happen. It should, but it won’t.

So, could Shopify sue Left? Yes, and I think they might have a case on their hands. But generally speaking, companies do not like to be embroiled in that kind of garbage for years. You can bet no one will talk about Left’s story a month from now (if that), whereas a lawsuit might keep the issue alive for years. Similarly, Andrew would have a decent defense with the “this is just my opinion and my interpretation of what is going on.” It is not a given fact that Nvidia would win this lawsuit and in the event that it lost the lawsuit, its reputation would be tainted (maybe Left was right!!!).

So overall, I’d have to say that yes, what Andrew is doing is legal. He knows the legal boundaries of what to do and what not to do (except when it comes to marriages and dry cleaners) and he respects them, no matter how “creative” his writing can be. Still, it should be quite easy for him to literally print money by doing this:

  1. Short a stock
  2. Release a report telling people to short that stock. Fill the report with half-truths and pure bullshit.
  3. Cover your short.

At this point, he could write on any non-blue chip company and crash it. He could fill his “report” with “blah blah blah fraud blah blah blah company shut down within days” and it would still work. People are gullible and, most of all, gregarious. They sell after the company falls down 10%, thinking it will drop another 10% the day after and that they are geniuses to sell today.

Yes, he could (and does) do that to print free money. I wouldn’t be surprised if the man has already closed his Shop short, earning a nice 10% in a day. No, he doesn’t have to disclose when he closes his short. And no, doing that is not ethical. But no one cares about ethics in finance neither. Hedge funds do much worse, yet no one cares.

Yeah.

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