Off to Hong Kong …And Downton Abbey

I will be in Hong Kong all week at the Next Money conference.

I loved Hong Kong the first time and can’t wait to speak and network.

I am watching season 5 of Downton Abbey on my flight. Ellen and I have been on and off binging on the first 4 seasons the last month.

The show is truly fantastic. Everything happens and nothing happens over the first 4 seasons.

Downton Abbey, the award-winning series from Julian Fellowes, spans 12 years of gripping drama centered on a great English estate on the cusp of a vanishing way of life.

As the USA grapples with automation, the show really rings true right now.

Hong Kong is the opposite of Downton Abbey it seems.

Listen for the Footsteps

Ben Evans had this great post about the ‘Inevitabilty of Technology‘. I really loved how he ended it:

The key thing, I think is that we have both those deterministic drivers of change and also luck, skill and brilliance. These can take you to different places. I wrote earlier this year about what you could have said in 2001 to be right about how mobile would develop. You could have got perhaps 90% there with the right determinants and vision, but would you have put a had-been computer company that had just launched a music player at the top of the heap? Steve Jobs supposedly said, returning to Apple, that his plan was to stay alive and grab onto the next big thing – to listen for the footsteps. He tried video, and a few other things, but he got there in the end. But he might not have.

I am addicted to looking at charts because I can look backward at others successes and failures to help me think about the future.

This chart from Charlie showing the Netflix rise against Blockbuster’s decline captures the Steve Jobs ‘footsteps’ line:

In 2007, the Blockbuster CEO said the following: “We have everything that Netflix has, plus the immediate gratification of never having to wait for a movie.”

Drops mic…and wallet.

Which brings me to this Tweet I saw that can be jumbled in many ways:

Building a lasting business is kind of a miracle. Money, cap tables, investors, lawyers, plans, people, competition, time, technology and listening to the footsteps.

Financial Insanity and My Roomba Lost my Retirement Money 

If you have not seen ‘Black Mirror’ on Netflix go watch a few episodes. It’s a modern version of ‘Twilight Zone’. 

If I were to have written an episode for them on the ‘Financial Apocalypse’ we would open in a future where robots replaced all the jobs and end with the robots that managed all the pensions for the humans that were now unemployable losing everything trying to beat the market. 

Oh wait … it’s happening. 

Now I have to rewrite the whole damn episode. 

What Could Go Wrong?

This is the least volatile month for the Dow in history.

I have no idea when volatility picks up again but the other side of this calm period will be very interesting.

I really liked this Jim Chanos interview on the possible big changes in global capitalism. As Trump takes credit for the rise of the market since the election and the new highs in confidence consider this rung as a good reminder from that interview:

LP: What about the rise in bank stocks since the election? Are banks anticipating deregulation?

JC: Almost all stocks are going up, mostly because of the belief of lower taxation. But after Obama’s election, most stocks went down and kept going down until the following March — and then they tripled! So I wouldn’t read a lot into the first month or two.

It could be that banks are anticipating deregulation, but so what? Deregulated to what end? They’re still going to have the capital requirements, which are international. Putting capital standards on them is the biggest way in which they were regulated.

In the bigger picture, if you think this is an uncertain presidency and we’re not quite sure where he’s going and how events will conspire, it’s not that important to get too worked up because things will happen and you’ll have to react. If, however, this is a once-in-a-fifty-year change in global thoughts about capitalism, then you have to pay attention.

I Love New York and 53 Things I Learned from Howard Lindzon

I am in NYC for a few days at the Stocktwits HQ.

Today was wall to wall meetings around town. I always overbook and never account well for travel time when I am here. I am optimistic!

At the end of the day in SOHO, I was on the phone catching up on things at home with Ellen and Neil deGrasse Tyson walked by. He was younger and shorter in person. That threw me just long enough to not pester him for a photo.

Like me he was headed into LURE (a fave restaurant). A few minutes later I walked in and as I walked back to my meeting I passed him and at the next table was my old friend James Altucher.

I have not seen James in a few years and we caught up for a while and I was like why the hell are you and Neil not friends. I should have introduced them.

The long New York day reminded me of this post James Altucher write about spending a day with me in New York.

I love how big this city is and how small it can feel.

Appreciating the Journey

It is hard to appreciate the ‘journey’.

Fred wrote today that ‘the inevitable often takes way longer to happen than you might think.

In 2006 when I had the idea for Wallstrip, I was so sure of myself. I only had a kernel of an idea but I knew that you could recreate a financial network and bypass television. I shared that kernel of an idea with Fred (yes that Fred) and he invested. I won’t hold it against him that he wrote this post too late. He has never held it against me that we sold Wallstrip quickly.

YouTube was the beginning of a video revolution that is really just accelerating today (10 years later). One of the reasons I loved doing Wallstrip ‘on the streets’ was the way people loved to throw down snark and negativity. Ten years later this YouTube/Google ‘on the street’ Wallstrip still makes me shake my head.

If Fred had told me to just hang on for 10 years before I really dig in, I am not sure I would have believed him or had the patience to wait. I just wanted to get my idea out there. That is what makes Fred a great investor. What makes for the best founders and investors is that ability to find, catch, build and hang on the longest for the meatiest part of the trend.

Of course, executing relentlessly against a vision for 10 years because you are likely way ahead of the inevitable is what makes great ideas massively profitable for the investors and the founders.

As I invest more (and hopefully better) than I operate, I really like to share these types of stories and truths with founders as I meet and dig in.

Investing and mentoring can be just as important as founding and building.

Good Content Might Not be King, But It Sure is Addictive …Here Comes Basic Income

We are all dying.

But, we waste so much time every day that we still have a massive amount of time on our side.

I can’t believe how much time I keep finding in my day to watch content on Netflix and Amazon.

The one thing that Spotify, Netflix and Amazon are proving is that we will make time in our crazy ‘busy’ smartphone addicted world to consume crazy amounts of content. We lean back, we binge, we even chill.

The machines that the majority of America hates for displacing their income, give us all more time. I have read 100 essays on artificial intelligence (AI) and this is the only way I can explain it in english.

The machines will not be turned off at this point so we are headed for civil war or basic income.

Assuming we all don’t kill each other, we won’t even need basic income for the boom in good content to accelerate.

In fact, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Google, Comcast, Verizon, ATT, Time Warner should be paying the ‘red states’ a basic income directly so the government does not get it first!

We all spend our time on 3 to 5 networks (for me it is Stocktwits, Netflix, Twitter, Amazon and Spotify – in this order based on battery consumption) and we will give those networks even more time if the content gets better.

That means more ‘studio’s’ (like Wattpad is doing for readers) for the networks and communities that have gotten to scale.

The more money and time I invest in content, the more I believe in basic income!

The millennials can’t lose it seems!

Stocktoberfest East and The Cashtag Awards – March 29th and 30th in Manhattan

This year we are finally taking Stocktoberfest east!

The show will take place March 29 and 30th at a great venue. Click here for details and sign up.

In addition to the additional Stocktoberfest in 2017, we have created the first annual ‘Cashtag Awards’ a celebration of all the good, the bad, and the ugly in stocks and markets stocks and markets. Please take a few minutes and add your favorite names to the categories.

Stocktwits is proud to have created the ‘$’ Cashtag that is now used everywhere on the web that stocks and markets are discussed.

Josh Brown has agreed to host the awards which means the food should be great.

Stay tuned as we announce the big speaker lineup for the event and the ‘Cashtag’ nominees over the next few weeks.

My Visit to Russia – I Mean The Verizon Store

I was forced to visit a Verizon store today to upgrade an iPhone on my business account. It was no different than trying to lease/buy a car at a car dealership in the 1990’s. 

After the Verizon ‘bandwith broker’ disappeared for 15 minutes into the back to view my spending history with his Verizon ‘pit boss’, I was presented with some choices on how to save money on my current plan (which is a rip off), if I were to buy a tablet and something useless called ‘the hum’.

My smartphone is magical and so is the internet. 

Somehow the gateway to all this magic is back in the hands of the government, a telco oligopoly and financial derivative algorithms. 

Not sure how to hedge the risk yet but we will all be paying for this massive slippage and hidden leverage at some point.