The Troll Wars Continue -- Mr. Wonders Edition
[This post belongs on the Yahoo CDXC Discussion Board, but Yahoo keeps auto-deleting it, so I am posting here. The subject involves a troll formerly known as Mr. Wonders, who now calls himself Thinking On It. The fact that Mr. Wonders might be trolling the board and attempting to spook shareholders in a way that might benefit short sellers and competitors does not mean that every question Mr. Wonders asks should be disregarded. Here I address two of his points.]
Good catch, Marshmallow, that Thinking On It is really Mr. Wonders. Mr. Wonders is a troll because of his attempts to identify ChromaDex management with Honig and other allegedly unsavory characters instead of judging ChromaDex management on their actual performance -- that, and also his favorably referencing Bleeker Street, and reciting from Elysium's propaganda as if it were non-fiction.
However, we are not into ad hominem attacks, so I would respond to two of Mr. Wonders' potentially legitimate questions. The first is what caused the Elysium litigation? The second is why did ChromaDex spend a lot of money to buy ProHealthSpan?
As for the litigation, Mr. Wonders speculates that ChromaDex offered a lower price to ProHealthSpan, in violation of a MFN clause, which caused all this litigation.
That is sort of how Elysium tells it, but it isn't a very good explanation. That would just be an ordinary commercial dispute. That REST of the story involves hiring away key employees and trying to get patents invalidated.
The simplest explanation is that Elysium -- for reasons unknown to us -- signed a three-year supply contract for Niagen and Pterostilbene. ChromaDex had an absolute right to stop supplying ingredients under that contract in February, 2017, for any reason or for no reason at all. THAT was the legal bungle, at it was on Elysium's side.
It seems to me much, much, much, more likely that Elysium saw that termination event coming up and expected to be cut off, and took a variety of evasive maneuvers.
Whether you believe ChromaDex that Elysium was involved in a nefarious plan to short the stock and take over the company through some kind of aggressive moves, or not, it's seems obvious that the dispute between these two companies isn't really about trademark licensing terms or paying 20% less for Niagen -- it is about who controls the NR market.
That is so obvious that it hardly needs to be said, so when Mr. Wonders suggests that "the caged death match" between Elysium and ChromaDex results from "a sweetheart inside deal" to Fried, that strikes me as either ignorant or disingenuous.
Which brings us to the second question, why buy ProHealthSpan? I don't know why they did it or whether it was the best thing to do, but it certainly SEEMS non-controversial. The ingredients model wasn't working well, the distributors weren't behaving well, and the company quickly needed to pivot to the more difficult and expensive path, which was direct-to-consumer marketing. Everyone agrees that that was the right thing to do in 2017, even though some people think that they should have done that from the start.
So what is the quickest way to become a direct-to-consumer participant? Typically you buy someone who already has an established product, packaging, and a brand. Tru Niagen was right there, and Dr. Brenner was involved, so it was a known quantity (less risk, no worries about due diligence).
Was there a faster, less risky, less expensive way to enter the direct-to-consumer market? I have no idea.
But if Mr. Wonders wants to make this argument, that's the evidence he needs to summon. Whether paying a $1M+ for ProHealthSpan is a good idea depends on (1) whether entering direct-to-consumer was a smart move, and (2) was there a better way to execute it (keeping in mind that they weren't JUST buying the brand, contracts, and customer list; management -- Rob Fried -- was coming over with it to lead the entire business).
If Mr. Wonders just wants to complain that he wants it to cost less, without even attempting to tell us what the better alternative would be, then, once again, that seems disingenuous or ignorant.
UPDATE: MAY 13, 2018:
I appear to have been banned from Yahoo's message board for challenging trolls. You would think that Yahoo would help us in the fight against trolls, or at least not punish us for defending the integrity of our community. But if there were any doubts that Elysium was behind the continued trolling of the ChromaDex investors, the Mr.Wonders-ThinkingOnIt episode has erased them, at least in my mind. Elysium Health and Yahoo both have Skadden as their counsel, so it would not be difficult for Elysium to reach Yahoo at an executive level to pout, if they wanted to. Here is the post that got me banned:
It's a shame that Geoff the Troll has been gone (Day 19 of his silence), not because anyone misses him, but because his duties apparently have been transferred to Thinking On It. I analyzed Thinking On It's posting history. Here is what I found:
Thinking On It joined eleven months ago -- around June 2017, shortly after the Li Ka Shing/Watsons deal -- but was mostly inactive (less than one post per week) for the first four months -- until around October.
Then for two months -- around October/November -- Thinking On It became somewhat active, posting on average three comments per week.
During these first six months, Thinking On It's attention was exclusively focused on ChromaDex. It appears that ChromaDex was the reason that this ID was created.
Then for two months -- around December/January -- Thinking On It went completely silent -- no posts.
Then for two months -- around February/March -- Thinking On It became active, posting about 10 times per week. However, the majority of those posts did not involve ChromaDex, but instead involved other companies, like Riot Blockchain, Aphria, and US Nuclear.
Then something happened 19 days ago.
I don't know WHAT happened 19 days ago, but I do know that that was the last day we heard anything from Geoff the Troll, who declined my challenge to publicly assert that he was not accessing my blog while using the Skadden Arps network as his ISP -- that's an easy thing to deny, if it's not true, but instead Geoff vanished.
And almost immediately, Thinking On It became hyper-active. In the past 18 days since Geoff's last post, Thinking On It has posted approximately 100 times, which is more than 30 times per week -- a rate far greater than any prior month. and his attention has been almost exclusively on ChromaDex.
Like Geoff, Thinking On It spends a remarkable amount of time discussing Barry Honig. The word "Honig" comes up about 100 times in Thinking On It's posting history.
I am not proposing that Thinking On It and Geoff are the same person, although it is possible.Instead, I would note that:
1. Geoff is certainly a troll funded by Elysium
2. Any non-shareholder who spends a lot of time trolling our forum attacking ChromaDex spuriously is likely also funded by Elysium
3. The coincidental activation of Thinking On It at nearly the exact same time that Geoff de-activated suggests that resources were transferred from one troll to another
4. Thinking On It's sudden tunnel vision for ChromaDex and sudden disinterest in the rest of his "portfolio" suggests that he might be getting paid per post right now.
I now post at Yahoo under the pseudonym "Marpa." Marpa the Translator was Milarepa's teacher. If Yahoo bans me again, look for "Naropa," who was Marpa's teacher. With enough banning, I may be forced all the way back to "The Buddha Himself!"