Amvona is a blog founded by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson that provides opinion and analysis on issues of Faith, Investing, Economics and Technology. The word Amvona is derived from the ancient Greek word for "Pulpit" (άμβων).
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson is a Greek Orthodox priest, activist and investment manager known for advocating a philosophy of investment based on Christian ethics.
He is the chief investment officer of Lemelson Capital Management (LCM), the sole sponsor and general partner of The Amvona Fund, which several times has been named the world's top performing hedge fund according to financial media outlets The Wall Street Journal and Barron's.
Lemelson’s position on ecumenism and the role of the Orthodox Church have been cited in The Washington Post, CBS News, Fox News, The National Interest, The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald among others. His investment research and analysis has been cited in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, Fox Business Network, and TheStreet.com and credited with influencing share prices in publicly traded companies.
Prior to his ordination in 2011, Fr. Emmanuel had 17 years of experience as a successful entrepreneur, including authoring multiple patents in design, business process and software architecture. As a graduate student he founded, amongst other businesses, the internet site Amvona which achieved ~120% CAGR between 1999 and 2006. In 2005 Amvona ranked among the ten most visited photography related internet sites.
He is the founder and president of The Lantern Foundation, a 501 (c)3 private foundation that provides financial support to Christian organizations as well as the founder of the Stowe conference for charity.
Fr. Emmanuel graduated from Seattle University with a B.A. in Theology and Religious Studies and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology with an M.Div, has served parishes in New England and Switzerland.
Watch: Fr. Emmanuel on Fox Business News Varney & Co. here
Watch Fr. Emmanuel on Fox News a Spirited Debate here
Readership and Influence Today - Security Analysis
The following are just a few of the thousands of comments that can be found online:
*click on the link under quote to find online.
“In the old days, when Smith Barney spoke, people would listen. In today's market, when Lemelson speaks, investors may want to listen up as well.”
“Kulicke & Soffa Industries jumped nearly 7% Tuesday after Lemelson Capital Management announced it was building a stake in the semiconductor and LED equipment maker, saying the company is "absurdly" undervalued... Lemelson made news earlier this month when the investment firm said pro wrestling firm World Wrestling Entertainment was way overvalued, sending the shares down more than 35%.”
“I have never commented on an article in my life but I felt I must take time out of my day to say thank you Mr. Lemelson for the well written, excellent analysis of the Skechers Company... Your article added a great deal of clarity to the situation and I think your assessment is fair and closer to the truth than any that I have seen in a while. Keep up the good work sir, I was beginning to believe that there were no more sane, rational analyst/ commentators out there and you have restored my perspective. Good job and a good day to you....”
“Spectacular analysis and conviction and you have proven yourself to be an incredible analyzer of companies. You really put the time in and you share every nook and cranny of your analysis. Wall street analysts should be embarrassed by their research compared to yours. Plus, you are committing your own capital to your ideas. Three people I now follow obsessively: Doug Kass, Mohammed El Erian and Gregory Lemelson. Well well done. ....”
“In my mind an extraordinarily well written and thought provoking article, not to mention a refeshing change from the gridlock of "Apple Valuation" articles out there. I really enjoyed reading it and in fact, it is one of the few on Apple of late that I read from beginning to end. I thank the author sincerely for his unique contribution.”
“I look forward to your next idea - I am very impressed with the work you put out... it's never to late to read one of your reports”
— Anonymous RIA (100 M AUM), Menlo Park, CA
“This article is just fantastic!!! It is the best written logical and to the point discussion on the topic. I am sure if you use the same logic in your priesthood then I am sure God exist!!! I actually was in search of inspiration like this but could not find it on my own.”
“...thank you so much for preaching to this choir member. I feel as though Matt Taibbi and, now, you are the only people, of whom I am aware, that adequately articulate that: Not only does the emperor have no clothes but possibly no Empire without our cooperation. Well done!”
“I was recently re-reading your Oct. 31 article (here) on how Western Digital is an ideal acquisition target. The stock is up 40% since you wrote that article, so a hearty congratulations on the long position... The share price appreciation has certainly paid off for investors... I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic... I'm sure SA readers would feel the same...”
“...while generally agree with your article, I'd like to point out something you may have missed: You may have a great second avocation as a writer of humorous financial articles. Heaven knows, WE NEED IT!
Thanks for a very deliberative essay, and delivering it in a very readable format!”
“This is yet another clear, concise, yet thorough analysis of Western Digital and the HDD industry, thank you.
...your captioned blog is leading the list of article links I am publishing in my aggregate news service today. It is emailed to over 400 HDD, investment, and supply chain execs in the industry twice per week. I really felt that you nailed it and that you have done so consistently over the last several months. It was time to highlight you to friends and clients in the industry.”
“I give credit when credit is due and you Gregory really do your homework when you invest I give you that...
I been following you for a few years now and all your articles on WDC, and I for one will be buying again if it dips, or has some correction, I think it is an outstanding business and at a very undervalued price like you pointed out.
You are really good at analyzing businesses that is for sure.
I take few peoples advice when it comes to investing since most people simply don't have a clue even on here, but I always listen to yours since our investing style is so similar and since you make so much sense and everything is so well thought out by you.
“Keep doing what your doing. Not many people are willing to stand up to the big banks that have decided that they don’t have to play like everyone else... Thanks to people like you the complicated matters and cases involved are being broken down into understandable, common language that is getting the information out Main Street. Wall Street isn’t happy … but shame on them in the first place for participating in these fraudulent schemes.”
—John O’Brien, Register of Deeds
In October of 2011 the same article was featured by SeekingAlpha (which has over 50 million unique monthly readers) in "Market Currents" with the editors commenting:
“Greg Lemelson makes the case that a little-noticed Massachusetts Supreme Court decision this week basically made all foreclosure sales in MA over the past 5 years "wholly void." Of particular interest is the remedy to those who find themselves with worthless title - it's not against the foreclosed homeowner, but against the bank/servicer that improperly foreclosed.”
“...the best current status report for the mortgage mess that I’ve seen this week or for that matter, this year. It’s worth studying because it fills in a lot of spaces with real information and reality applied to the gaslight environment created by Wall Street.”
“Hey, do you live in Massachusetts? And did you buy a bank-foreclosed house? In the last five years? Oh boy. You’re probably going to want to sit down for this. You kept your moving boxes, right? And receipts? Because things are about to get a little complicated in the Bay State...”
“...a fascinating article about strategic default. There are a ton of terrific arguments and one-liners, but two parts I really like: (1) the conclusion it is unethical to pay a mortgage; and (2) criticizing foreclosure defense lawyers who advocate against strategic default, concluding that position is a byproduct of fear, shame, and guilt, not reason.”
“This is a fantastic article written by Gregory M. Lemelson... I like his writing style... this article is a fun read, while somewhat tragic, when you understand what is and has been happening in our country. It is also highly instructive and articulates well many of the pertinent issues in this foreclosure scam around our country – which is nothing more than the seizure of homes and wealth in a massive transfer of money and property to the 1%.”
SA Market Currents - SeekingAlpha US Economy "Greg Lemelson makes the case that a little-noticed Massachusetts Supreme Court decision this week basically made all foreclosure sales in MA over the past 5 years "wholly void"... (October 20th, 2011, 6:01 p.m.)
Amvona was started in 1999 by American entrepreneur and investor Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson as a graduate student. The site was originally built as a hybrid e-commerce and social networking platform to sell photo accessories which were also developed by the company. Between inception in late 1999 and the end of operations in early 2010 the company shipped over 1 million photo accessories to approximately 300,000 customers worldwide, receiving ~200,000 positive comments along the way.
The Compound Annual Growth Rate between 1999 and 2006 was ~120%.
According to Google Analytics the original Amvona photo-related site received approximately 750,000 unique visitors per month at its peak and is referenced in numerous books and manuals as a primary source for photo equipment. By 2005 Alexa ranked Amvona.com amongst the 10 ten most visited online photo retailers.
In the Fall of 2009 Amvona added a blog to it's eCommerce platform and by April 2010 discontinued its e-commerce operations in order to focus exclusively on the blog.
In 1999 Amvona reluctantly launched its site to sell its "homespun" photo equipment wrapped up in a social context (before the word “social networking” meant anything to anyone other than 1950’s era sociologists). We also created an integrated and "open" community for our users to share their images. Given the fact that some folks still thought the Internet was a passing fad, (particularly in the wake of the bursting .com bubble) "open" was hardly cool. It is difficult to believe in retrospect, but back then, photo sharing not to mention digital cameras were almost unheard of, and they were certainly not linked to any sort of online commerce. Putting it together in 1999 took a bit of an intellectual stretch and a streak of imagination.
Long before social meta-data was common place or even understood, its derivatives such as user profiles, product reviews, exif data and online tracking, were already being employed by Amvona to sell products. Through the use of proprietary technology, this fluid, constantly updated and real time user-centric content was being regenerated and wrapped around products across multiple online platforms. This allowed Amvona to seamlessly launch products into a vast network of potential customers; when a purchase was made, the Amvona member became part of an unbroken and automated feedback loop across these multiple platforms, thus sales begot more sales, and revenue grew exponentially. In fact sales grew at a far greater calculus than the products could be manufactured and restocked especially given the entirely self-financed nature of the operation through its early years. User content which was generated on one platform could automatically be regenerated and shared in real time across multiple other platforms. This technology and the approach resulted in Amvona being cited in several prominent publications on Internet marketing (although few knew about or understood the tools we had developed to produce these results).
However, our story was not only about delivering products in a more meaningful fashion it was also about trying to shatter a boutique industry that sometimes functioned more like an "exclusive club", and bordered on anti-competitive practices that were ultimately unfriendly to the consumer. We felt that in addition to being unethical, it was also incongruent with the advent of increasingly low cost digital cameras which would ultimately re-energize the industry and make photography accessible to millions more. This meant competing on price, which strange as it may seem, few others appeared to be thinking of given the incestuous DNA of the industry. Despite meeting the pricing objective Amvona maintained operating margins which we believe were at the very top of the industry.
In order to achieve this, in 2000 (believing that China could ultimately manufacturer high tech products that were at least "as good" as European manufacturers) we moved our manufacturing base to China (at the time understood as the destination du jour for shoes and T-shirts, but not photo equipment). In those "stone ages" of the Internet, many thought "made in China" was a four letter word when it came to photo equipment. However, because the competition actually understood the potential implications of this part of what we were doing (unlike our technology), this move created an interesting backlash. Nonetheless, when you undercut your competition by 70%, they tend to not only notice, but follow. It is safe to say that not long afterwards, the "Amvona business model" was downloaded more than once, and all feelings about Chinese manufacturing were put aside. By 2006 most major photo retailers had some form of the "Amvona model", many also copying Amvona product designs along the way.
Rarely does a day go by that we don't hear from former customers complaining that we no longer sell photo equipment. We did not realize just how many people we had reached with our value proposition, or how important the brand had become for so many. It is fulfilling to know that we had a positive effect in some way on so many people and that our products are still be used by photographers all over the world.
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