My comments on "herd mentality"

For the first time, I think this board is truly showing signs of herd mentality. Most of this board was extremely late to invest in Fastly… because Saul hadn’t bought any yet.

Austin, That makes no sense at all !!! I got in to Fastly at $39.98. Eight weeks later it reached $102.80. That was up 157% in two months after I got in.

What the heck was “extremely late” about that! That’s just nonsense!

Then when it hit its high of $134 plus, it was up 235% from where I bought it. That was more than a triple and a third in less than six months. What was “extremely late” about that! Austin, do you even know what you were talking about?

Besides, people don’t wait for me to get in to take a position. For a right-now example, I’m not in Pelaton, and even expressed my reasons for not being in it, but half the board seems to have invested in it as one of their largest positions.

This board is for learning how to invest for yourself! That’s why there’s a Knowledgebase and a side panel. In every End of the Month Summary I write the following:

You should never try to just follow what I’m doing without making up your own mind about a stock. In these monthly summaries I’m giving you a static picture of where I am currently, but I may change my mind about a position during the month. In fact, I not infrequently do, and I make changes in the position. I usually don’t announce these changes until the end of the month, and if I’m busy or have some personal emergency I might not announce them even then. And besides, I sometimes make mistakes, even big ones! Don’t just follow me blindly! I’m an old guy and won’t be around forever. The key is to learn how to do this for yourself.

Austin, are you sure you just aren’t unhappy because you love Fastly so much, and because you decided to stay in but the majority of everyone else decided that the story had become just too complicated, and they decided to get out, in whole or in part, and because the stock price just keeps going down in spite of your love for it?

I think that you misunderstood why I kept pointing out one negative issue about Fastly after another. It wasn’t that I wanted anyone to follow me. It was just that there are a group of people on the board who I have come to know over time and who I think of as good friends, and it made me feel sad to see some of them shrug off one piece of horribly bad news after another, and to see them keep making one excuse after another for the bad news. I felt I really should try to point out what was happening before their eyes. It worked for some and didn’t work for others. That’s life.

When I saw you write I’m very interested in Fastly’s earnings call tomorrow. There’s a very real chance that IF TikTok is no longer a customer, it could have been partially caused by Fastly “firing” them as a customer, and then all the stuff about TikTok moving because a US company couldn’t support them. Another excuse. They moved to Akami, for God’s sake, which is a US company headquartered in Massachusetts. When I read those, I figured that you were lost, already inventing fanciful excuses for a company losing its largest customer, which had been a rapid growing massive part of its business, and I realized there was nothing I could say or do to reason with you. Sorry.

I tell people to look at the evidence and when the picture becomes too complicated or changes for the worst, get out. That’s a basic part of what I teach, and one of the most crucial parts..

You were telling them that if you are in love with the company, ignore the evidence, make excuses for it, and hang on and hope for a turnaround as the stock keeps going down.

Here’s some of the evidence you were ignoring:

Revenue growth falling by 20 points in sequential quarters
Revenue itself actually falling sequentially (for the first time)
Falling usage by some large customers
New enterprise customers up only 7 in an entire quarter, while its competitor signed up 80 enterprise customers!
New paying subscribers up only 114! Can you imagine one of our other companies only signing up 114 subscription customers in a quarter?
Its competitor signed up 61 TIMES as many. (Not a misprint)
A new CEO, who doesn’t seem to tell the whole truth in his press releases and conference calls.
They fired their head of Sales and Marketing.
Their competitor has had Edge Computing going for two and a half years at least.
Fastly can’t seem to get it out of Beta and into wide circulation.
Increasing evidence that they had lost TikTok completely, their rapidly growing, most massive customer, and had lost part of other significant customers
Their competitor just came out with two weeks of announcements of stupendous new products, while Fastly was staying in Beta.
Their CEO gave a preannouncement and didn’t say that they had lost TikTok, which he had surely known about!

If that isn’t enough to give you reason to get out, or at least reduce your position, I really don’t know what is. Personally I feel that I would be out of my mind if I had that much evidence that a company that I was in had gotten that much more complicated, and then I didn’t at least reduce my position.

And now we know that their current estimate puts them at 29% organic growth for next quarter yoy.

After all, Fastly is now down over $66 from its high and $26 (and still falling) from when I started selling out at $95 in the aftermarket. It would take a 39% rise to get back to where I started selling out.

When I got out I wrote:

Here’s what I did about Fastly. I’m sure that plenty of you will disagree with me, and I acknowledge that I may be dead wrong, but here’s what I did, and why! Please remember that I’m not a techie. I’m just going on common sense, and here were my reasons…

I gave reasons. You didn’t give reasons for staying in except hope for a turnaround, based on three companies that you named which eventually came back after I exited, but neglecting to mention the opportunity cost of waiting it out, the myriads that didn’t come back, and the obvious fact that where I put the money has obviously done just fine, at 300% of where it started this year, while the averages are roughly flat for the year. It doesn’t matter what happens to the stocks you have exited. The only thing that matters is what happens to the stocks in your portfolio! But, to make yourself feel better, go back and look at all the companies I got out of in 2015 or 2016, for instance (instead of cherry-picking three companies that did turn around), and see how they have done compared to the progress of my portfolio since then.

I’m sorry you were so dissatisfied with how I run my board as to talk about a herd mentality. But right at the top of the blue strip at the top of each post there’s a place to click to start a new board, and you can start your own.



A link to the Knowledgebase for this board is in the Announcements panel that is on the right side of every page on this board.

For some additions to the Knowledgebase, bringing it up to date, I’d advise reading several other posts linked to on the panel, especially “How I Pick a Company to Invest In,” and “Why My Investing Criteria Have Changed,” and “Why It Really is Different.”


Saul, my post was not directed at you and was not based on Fastly specifically.

It could have been “insert name here” stock. What appeared to happen is a lot of people followed you in and then quickly followed you out.

So what I was left to wonder is whether or not people had their own reasons for initially buying shares (or did they come up with reasons to justify owning shares as part of groupthink?

Then the same with selling. Did they have their own reasons for selling or did they follow you out and then justify the reasoning after making the decision?

My overarching point is that it’s been a quarter or two during a really crazy time. The results a couple of quarters ago blew expectations out of the water, the stock shot up (people following momentum) and now the company is still growing faster than anyone expected at this time last year, but has slowed down since their amazing Q2.

The stock is still up 200% or so on the year and I don’t think the business is disappointing anyone other than people who bought the stock because it was going higher who were hoping to do well over the next month or 6-months…which is not sound investing.

The whole thing (buying and selling) feels like herd mentality on this board and whether it was Fastly, Crowdstrike, Zoom, or any stock, it’s a concerning sign that people might be ignoring your warnings to not just blindly follow you.



You have to know that people just mirror your actions. Not everyone. Perhaps not even most people here. But some do. I won’t name any names (because I forgot anyway), but one of the posts that got me over here in the first place was someone touting this board; and he said (more or less) that he does what you do.

I know you don’t advise that. Quite the contrary. But it does happen, and I suspect more frequently than you realize.

I haven’t followed your Fastly saga, so maybe the OP was talking out of his butt. I have no position in FSLY. However, others are buying and selling purely on your say-so. Which means people respect your opinion, but it also means they aren’t thinking for themselves. They’re stampeding wherever Saul goes.

1poorguy (long DDOG and CRWD from this board)



Your post is anecdotal and missing all the point of Saul’s very well written post.

Those that simply follow, by the rules of the board should not be posting here.

Thanks to all who have written what they’ve done and why.



I know you don’t advise that. Quite the contrary. But it does happen, and I suspect more frequently than you realize.

What’s the point? The main reason we come here is to discuss growth stocks. After all the due diligence, most people find the stock worth buying and they buy include Saul. What you said is that if Saul buy a stock we should avoid?

Motley Fool subscribers buy MF recommended stocks. Is that wrong? According to you, they should avoid those stocks.

We come here discuss, share ideas, learn from people better than ourselves. We do reach consensus sometime and people buy together. But each people also come with new ideas that they believe in but not others. PTON is an example that Saul didn’t believe in but still many people bought. But the important thing is that we all learn and improve. FSLY is a good example that I learned from AYX experience and exited early. We always say when business change to the worse, we get out. But when the change is here, many hesitate and resort to hope. That’s the big lesson that Saul taught us again and again. Future is always uncertain. The decision is based on odds. Some changed companies will come back big. But that should not prevent us from taking the right action to bail out.


You are speaking both ways…
You say that your posts are not about Fastly but you circle back to ‘My overarching point is that its been a quarter or two during a really crazy time…’ i.e: Fastly.
Looks like you have really high conviction in the company. And you will hold as long as your thesis is intact regardless of whether SP is 134, 65 or 10. Power to you.

People handle their investments differently. For some, such as you, ~50% stock volatility seems fine, others may prefer a safer profile while expecting significant growth. Thats fine too.
Do you know what the demographics of this board and what each persons investing risk profile is?

I am a newbie here, don’t know the cast of characters. But your comments make me wonder whether you are really concerned about people learning or you just want to stem the tide on Fastly.

Saul has a post about his 50th anniversary college yearbook write up. He says:
Having a good relationship is tremendously important. Relationships are never perfect, but in a good one you should have a feeling of satisfaction. If you feel tense, put down, or attacked most of the time, it’s time to leave. It’s the same for jobs. There is an inertial tendency to stay in a bad relationship or a bad job and to subconsciously think, “In my next time around, I’ll be happy and live the way I want.” There is no next time. Don’t waste five, ten, or fifteen years. You don’t get them back to live again. Do it differently now, this time.

To me, this applies to relationship with the companies/stocks you own as well.

  • F8

The whole thing (buying and selling) feels like herd mentality on this board and whether it was Fastly, Crowdstrike, Zoom, or any stock, it’s a concerning sign that people might be ignoring your warnings to not just blindly follow you.

Does anyone else see a HUGE conflict of interest here?

Austin, you work for a competing stock recommendation service. Clearly your comments on Saul’s board are not unbiased in any way, shape or form.

Aren’t you criticizing people for following recommendations made on this free board when you are apart of an organization trying to get people to pay for similar information? That is laughable.

I don’t fault you for making a living (probably using this board for information for the site, lol again.) But don’t come on this board and start telling people about herd mentality when you’re selling the same thing!

Also, it sounds a bit like you’re trying to scare people into thinking they need to pay for additional investing services like yours, rather than just collaborating for free in places like this.



Hi Kyle,

After reading your post, I googled Austin’s name…

And you know what I found?

He works for 7Investing :slight_smile:

Mike L


I don’t think he is hiding that at all. There are a bunch of ex Motley Fool personnel at that service. Dan Kline being the most recent. I’m new to this board but I think Austin sees this board as something else vs a recommendation service. I think the purpose of this board was to foster discussion and I think Austin perceived the discussion get closed because Saul made a conclusion. I think it may be true for some because there’s definitely going to be some people who follow Saul (and from seeing the results I can’t blame them).



I believe you have good intentions. And if I got your LinkedIn profile correct, you aim to empower people to be financially educated. That is an admirable goal.

However, I believe that you have not considered sufficiently the diverse circumstances of various people.

You wrote in a previous post that you want to encourage “independent thinking and doing your own analysis vs blindly following the herd.” To what degree is “independent” thinking? To what degree is it considered as “own” analysis? To what degree is “blindly” following some leaders? I get the sense you have a high bar for all of this. But that’s perhaps because you’re a financial analyst/advisor.

Suppose I’m a dad with young children and I want to spend as much spare time as possible with my family. Furthermore, I’m not confident in my investment analysis of a company because I suck at math and my training is in counselling.

I encourage you to see that there is a wide ranging spectrum of degree because people come from many different walks of life. Does doing “independent”/“own” analysis require me to read the company’s quarterly financials and conference call? And even if I do, how knowledgeable/capable would I be to actually analyze the content to a degree that would actually be helpful (and not misinterpret it)?

Given the above hypothetical circumstances, if I decide to follow the investment decisions of specific individuals on this board, is that really considered as “blind”? Is it “blind” to trust a source which I consider reliable after assessing the source, however limited my assessment may be? While you did state you don’t intend to insult anyone, your choice of such adjective could come across as offensive to some people.

And how is it any different than say to follow an investment newsletter, which seems to be your job?

Lastly, some of your comments may actually hinder someone’s investment learning by causing them to be hesitant of this board and turn to other sources that might not be as good.




Could you please point me to a TMF policy that I am in violation of?

There’s a distinction between “personal” and “private” info. The two links are public information. If a person chooses to make their personal info public, how am I “despicable” for simply referencing a public info.


Hey, everyone,
I think we’ve probably got enough on this thread. It’s time to close it.
Thanks for your cooperation.


Could you please point me to a TMF policy that I am in violation of?

8. Conduct
The Motley Fool champions active and open debate among our members. All we ask is that it’s done in a lawful and civil manner – be it posting on our boards, commenting on blogs or articles, replying to CAPS pitches, or using our system to contact a fellow member in any way.

Accordingly, you agree to use The Motley Fool for lawful purposes only. You may not use or allow others to use your Fool membership to:

Post or transmit any content that is disruptive, uncivil, abusive, vulgar, profane, obscene, hateful, fraudulent, threatening, harassing, defamatory, or which discloses private or personal matters concerning any person;

Very little is more personal than a LinkedIn page or personal bio on an employers website.


Very little is more personal than a LinkedIn page or personal bio on an employers website.

I disagree. Those pages are public in nature, and people put things there that they hope will be seen by as many people as possible. A Facebook page is something else again, and there, people can adjust their privacy settings as they wish.



I don’t agree with Austin’s stance on FSLY, but I fully believe Austin’s intensions are good. I’m a member of Rule Breakers, Stock Advisor, Beth’s Service, and yes 7Investing. I stopped Bert’s service and picked up 7Investing because of guys like Austin and Simon who I’ve valued from this board and other Fool services. I’m not recommending any of course, I don’t care what services you subscribe to. All I’m saying is I’ve read Austin’s posts for years, he’s a good dude, and he’s not here trying to sell his service and steal subscribers. He genuinely cares about people investing, and investing well.

I sold out of FSLY many months ago,not because of any of the current debates, but because I was so excited to pick up PTON that I had to sell something.



I have been investing in companies since July 2020 and following this board since August. I am incredibly grateful for the teaching and exchange of information that takes place here. PLEASE KEEP THE INSIGHTS COMING! What we do with the information is up to us. If this format is cause for concern to anyone, then I encourage them to find a discussion board they are comfortable with.


I am incredibly grateful for Saul’s generous teaching, I am new to this board and new to stock investing , I have been a huge fun of Warren Buffett’s ,I learned a lot from watching multiple times of 20 plus year annual meeting on YouTube, I Can instantly tell the similarities between Warren and Saul , they could really mind their own business rather than take lot of effort to write and share a lot with people like me who is absolutely rookie. Absolutely love this board, love the way it is.
On the other hand , We are all adults, we learn and Act based on our own judgment.

1 Like

After all the due diligence, most people find the stock worth buying and they buy include Saul. What you said is that if Saul buy a stock we should avoid?

I will answer this one question, and then do as Saul requests and not reply further to this thread. Because it is a legit question.

The key difference in what you’re saying is “due diligence”. The posters I referred to apparently (I don’t know them, but it is inferred by what they wrote) just follow Saul. They rely on Saul’s due diligence, not their own. That’s a huge difference, IMO. Yes, multiple parties can come to the same conclusion, and invest similar to Saul. Many do. Some of the more interesting threads are when someone doesn’t, and they explain why. But some non-zero percentage of people just say “Saul bought it so I should get in too”, and that’s the sum-total of their research. I know Saul thinks that is bad because I’ve read in “from his lips” (so to speak).

And let’s CERTAINLY end this herd mentality thread. Speculating on whether or not other investors here are thinking for themselves or not is the WORST kind of speculation. We are all adults and must think for ourselves. If we do not, we have no one but ourselves to blame.

Asst Board Mgr


Hi Motto, I had your post #72941 reinstated. It shouldn’t have been deleted. There was nothing private in the links you posted. LinkedIn information is meant to be read by the maximum number of people. That’s why it is there. And the link to the home page of Austin’s newsletter just requires clicking on “Our Team” and the information comes up. No subscription or anything necessary. You could consider it part of advertising for the newsletter.