India and The Internet…

The Indian internet frontier is now in full acceleration.

Pure 4G Service Provider Reliance Jio crossed the 300 Million customers mark in just two-and-a-half years of its commercial operations in India.

The stat does not mean that much to me and my investing this morning, but in the next bear market, when fear again grips investors and the media, India’s internet usage is a fact and data point that will lead to the next recovery…especially for the S&P 500 companies making the right investments and efforts in India. Facebook is one example.

Speaking of fear and bear markets…the S&P has now recovered everything it lost in the 4th quarter last year. One of the quickest recoveries in history. Ben has a great post on the comeback and the data.

If you have any doubts about India now that their internet economy is raging…look no further than the current crop of USA IPO’s in the last few weeks – Lyft, Zoom, Pinterest represent billions in new wealth in transportation/logistics, telecommunications and social media/e-commerce.

It is hard to keep the markets down and innovation stifled when everyone is connected, chatting and spending.

Some Great Long Reads

Thanks for all the nice responses yesterday. It’s good to be home for a week. We had a nice small seder with the kids, Ellen and my in-laws.

Onwards…

I met Polina Marinova this week in New York. She joined me and a group of friends for Lombardi’s pizza and held her own!

Polina works for Fortune and curates a fave email of mine (and Ellen) called ‘The Profile’. I have written about it before and you can subscribe here.

This week had some great links including:

The rapid rise of Tik Tok.

An actual Facebook page worth following.

YouTube’s CEO running an empire of chaos

Click here for this week’s full email.

Have a great Sunday.

Happy Passover

Things were looking good yesterday.

I was having a quick bite with my pal Mike Katz at a fave spot Marta in New York right before my Uber to JFK and my flight home to spend Passover with the family.

Half way to JFK I got a text from American Airlines that my flight was cancelled due to weather. It was sunny outside… naturally.

I called American and the next flight they had for me was Sunday. I yelled a bit and the agent found something for me Saturday. I assumed yelling even louder would get me something better but to no avail.

I figured I would go to airport and find a different carrier but it was a mess of cancellations. I decided to retreat back to the city for one more night and take the first flight out Saturday.

It is the first seder I have missed with family in forever.

I decided to take a long walk through the city, stop somewhere to watch the Leafs/Bruins game and do a little work.

It was a perfect early evening for a walk through the city. Walking the streets of New York are a perfect reminder of how small we all are. It always helps calm me and put life in perspective. You can hustle and chase, but there will always be people doing better, so you might as well soak in life and try and enjoy the moments.

I walked SOHO to get a feel for what was new and nothing much stood out. LULU, Apple and Nike are still the busiest stores. I grabbed a few new pair of Stance socks and a couple pair of AG Jeans (they continue to crush it as well).

I stopped in at a bar on 3rd Avenue on my way back up to Grammercy to watch the second period of the Leafs game. I sat with a young group of people doing tequila shots and having a great time.

I walked home to the hotel for period 3 and went to bed happy that the Leafs won Game 5.

I’m off to JFK to catch a Delta flight home so fingers crossed for seder night 2 with the family in Phoenix.

The Trade App From Stocktwits

The team at Stocktwits had some big news today… it will offer its community members the ability to place unlimited, commission-free U.S. equity trades directly through its new mobile application, Trade App:

Ian, Stocktwits CEO explains why Trade App came about:

With 150,000 messages sent every day on the platform, Stocktwits prides itself on understanding the retail investor and trader. For ten years we’ve had a front row seat to the roller coaster of emotions the active investor goes through, from the highs to the lows. We are successful when our members are successful and existing solutions are not getting the job done. We built Trade App to create a better experience for investors and traders of all levels. Self-directed doesn’t have to mean self-destructive, and we believe the key to success lies in not relying solely on yourself,” said Ian Rosen, CEO of Stocktwits.

further…

As the largest community of active investors, Stocktwits is already a significant portion of the total active investor community in the U.S. Our long-term success and growth as a company will also be defined by the health of the larger active investing market. Commission-free trading was a major step forward in making active investing more accessible. At Stocktwits, we asked ourselves who in the brokerage space was both attracting and keeping new investors by capturing the daily excitement we see around trading. We saw no one. So, we built a brokerage that matches the excitement and pulse of the community we’ve built.

Trade App is expected to go live this summer and you can sign up here.

Go Leafs Go

I decided last minute to head to Toronto to see game 4 of the Leafs/Bruins last night. I’m back in NYC on the first flight this morning.


StubHub and Porter Air make it almost too easy.

The Bruins won which put a damper on the quick trip. But I got to see my mom, and my two ‘great’ niece and nephews…

I have two more days of meetings and then it is back to Phoenix for Passover with the family. It has been a wild two weeks of travel so I am looking forward to getting off the road at home for a bit.

My first few Lindzanity podcasts will drop next week so I have some editing to do this weekend as well.

Nichification and Virality is History

Bob Lefsetz has back to back great posts up on the subject of nichification and the Death of Virality (only if you sign up for his free email).

On nichification, Bob writes:

That’s right, putting on your best face, curating your image, that will be passe. We’re evolving into a more honest era, where it’s all about what your friends think of you. And the truth is they’ll forgive flaws, that’s what makes you human. And all those makeup tutorials on YouTube, the purveyors are going to give up and not be replaced.

This is a complete reset. A disassembling of the twentieth century model of gatekeepers and number ones. And the early internet model of virality. Virality is almost dead. No one has the time for it. If your friend recommends something, you’ll check it out, otherwise you’ll ignore it.

Friends have points of reference. There will be a switch to real life as opposed to internet life. Of course friends will utilize the internet and the smartphone to ease their existence, but they’ll mostly use these tools to gain information and communicate with their friends.

So marketing will become ever more difficult.

But also the aspirational culture we live in will decline. Everybody wanted to be rich and famous. Turns out very few people can be rich and famous. So why try? Everybody was gonna write an app, nobody does that anymore. Apps are something you get for free, they’re not a way to get rich.

As for getting rich… The millennials and Gen-Z are far different from their forebears. It’s not enough just to have money, how did you earn it, do you give back? Forget the disinformation paraded in the media, about influencers frolicking and flying on private jets. Everybody’s resetting their aspirations. They want fulfillment, not fame. And no one can be as famous as the stars of yesteryear.

It’s like America will become a nation of small towns. Because you don’t want to feel like a number.

If Bob is just a little bit right in his riff…you better know how to market effectively or hire for the role. For me, marketing has never been easy. I know good marketing when I see it, but am not sure how to create effective marketing. I have never had any natural instincts about growth hacking, a/b testing or hired effectively for this role.

In his next post about the end of virality, Bob riffs:

But the truth is if you’re trying to gain a fanbase from scratch, good luck. Be thankful anybody is paying attention at all.

You can post it, but that does not mean people will read it, never mind share it. We’re all overburdened with info, so we only forward the most fascinating, the most important, which is very little. And the dirty little secret is nobody reads it anyway. Bump into them and ask them, they’ll try to fake it, but the truth will be revealed.

Kind of like those e-mail newsletters with articles to read. You sign up and click through a couple of times, but then you stop, the information is not vital. God, think of how many articles have been forwarded to you that you haven’t read.

We all watch different TV shows and read different books and listen to different music. So nothing catches fire and blows up, because no one’s got the time for what they’re already interested in.

So marketers furiously look for publicity in newspapers, blogs, believing it will start a fire. But it won’t unless it’s truly eye or ear-popping. It has to be equivalent to the Beatles, or at least Adele, to get traction.

Otherwise, you’ve got to convert people one by one. Which sellers hate. Because it’s slow and difficult and you win or lose on your merits. It’s hard to fake people out, and they’re certainly not going to tell anybody else.

So, it’s about train-wreck or quality. And even then, word is gonna spread slowly. Just look at all the clickbait on legitimate websites. You know the drill, lurid headline and when you click through you’re inundated with ads, so you don’t.

Marketers have brought this upon themselves. We’re overloaded, we’re not paying attention. We have to hear it from a trusted source before we’ll click.

So nothing lights a fire on the internet overnight.

Which means that big publicity campaigns fall flat. And if you can see the sell beneath the supposed event, people are turned off. That’s what killed viral music videos.

So there is no overnight success. No instant adoption. And that’s what the system was built for, to create a towering edifice overnight.
There’s no sure-fire way to the top.

We live in an era where everyone is offering their expertise and playbook and nobody has the right expertise and playbook for you. I think the best companies and investors of tomorrow are preparing for this new grind.

Momentum Monday – If The Fed….

Here is an actual tweet from Fat Nixon:

If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points, and GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%…with almost no inflation. Quantitative tightening was a killer, should have done the exact opposite!

There is no mention in this fat tweet that the previous fed chair and dove Janet Yellen was fired by Fat Nixon for the lackey in place right now.

A much better and funnier tweet by Fat Nixon – that I write for him – should read:

If the Fed had not raised interest rates Tiger Woods would have 20 majors

I will start this Momentum Monday with the fact that investors today can get 2.5 percent on their cash. While that has not been cause for alarm or a flight to cash, I say 2.5 percent is not too shabby. Here is a link to my friend Gary Zimmerman on how to get 2.5 percent FDIC insured. (disclosure – I am an investor in MaxMyInerest)

Enough with the conservative talk…you came here for momentum and momentum I will give you (with Ivvanhoff).

Here is this week’s episode – watch and or listen – where we tour the markets and notice much of the same patters – payments, security and software continue to lead. At the end of the episode I spend some time talking about the breakout in Disney on the launch of Disney+.

As a reminder, Marketsmith (by Investor’s Business Daily) is now a sponsor of the weekly show. All the charts you have been seeing in the videos and will continue to see are from Marketsmith. They are offering my readers a three week trial for $19.95. Click this link if you would like to try it out.

Have a great day.

Tiger…and Nike

NOTE – I had a bad link to the Wences Bitcoin essay yesterday. HERE is the correct link. A must read.

ok…onward

I remember exactly where I was and who I was with when Tiger won his first green jacket in 1997.

I remember exactly where I was (and who told me) when the Tiger scandal/downfall began.

This weekend I had Masters fever and with the Masters app I could enjoy it completely.

This morning I was out on a ride in South Carolina for a few hours and using my airpods and iPhone Masters app to follow the shots. Boring, but not bad to pass the time.

This afternoon I was getting a ride to the airport watching the final shots of Tiger on the Masters app as he won his fifth Masters. It is one of the great sporting moments I have watched. Thank goodness for the app.

The app is fantastic…literally the perfect sporting event app. Between the Masters app and a couple of group chats, I was dialed in to all four days of action.

The caliber of golf right now is insane.

Tiger inspired this generation of golf and the game will never be the same. I don’t follow professional golf very closely, but I did not think Tiger would ever compete in a major event again as of a few years ago. The golfers he inspired are just too young and good. Color me happily wrong on this.

The USGA should get their shit together for the sake of the players, the fans and the game and just hire the Masters dev team to build the app for use in every tournament.

PS – a highlight clip of the best shots of the day and the tournament would be a great addition. If that exists, please point me to it…thanks

PSS – I don’t like the Nike golf wear personally, the shoes are hit and miss, but the Nike Swoosh just owned the Masters with Woods, Finau, Koepke, Dustin and Molinari plastered on the screen for days on end. Long $NKE.

Remember Bitcoin?

Today is my last day of riding in South Carolina at George Hincapie’s Hotel Domestiqe.

Yesterday George took us on a great ride. He posed with me along the way:

I could not keep up with the strong riders in my group who spent most of the time pushing hard with George, but he did ride a few km with me and it was a fantastic day of cycling.

On the first night, my end of the table got talking about Bitcoin. I started the conversation because I was sitting with 4 senior executives from various large gold companies in Canada and after a few drinks was pondering their demise. I was interested in what the reactions would be and reactions I got.

Because I do not do a great job of explaining Bitcoin and the Bitcoin Blockchain, I turned the conversation into a very high level discussion and said I would share a great explainer and research notes.

Just last month Wences Casares, CEO of XAPO, wrote a great essay titled ‘The Case for A Small Allocation to Bitcoin‘. I think anyone with an open mind will really enjoy the essay as he lays out the risks and rewards.

My favorite quotes:

How can something that constantly crashes go from $0.05 cents to $4,000 you ask? If you want something to go from $0.05 cents to $4,000 and fool everybody into believing that it is failing, do it with as much volatility as possible.

and

How can Bitcoin fail?

Bitcoin can fail in many different ways. It could be taken over by a bad actor. It could be displaced by a better platform. It could be hacked. And Bitcoin can probably fail in many ways that we cannot imagine yet. Because Bitcoin does not have any intrinsic value, and because it’s value depends on a social consensus which is a sort of collective delusion, in my opinion, the most likely way in which Bitcoin could fail is a price panic. If we all decide at the same time that we think Bitcoin is worthless, then it will be worthless. It is a self-fulfilled prophecy. If the price of Bitcoin were to plummet to zero or near zero, even if the platform remained intact, its reputation would suffer immensely and it could take a generation to rebuild that credibility. This could happen if people buy amounts of Bitcoin they cannot afford to lose, for example if people invest their retirement funds or their kids’ college funds into Bitcoin, and as the price goes does down they are forced to sell, pushing the price further down and forcing others to sell. So, in my opinion, the biggest risk to Bitcoin is people investing amounts they cannot afford to lose.

I am in the Wences camp that people in a position to invest allocate 1 percent of their assets to Bitcoin at current prices. I am overexposed to Crypto myself through private investments (hedge funds, Etoro, Robinhood, Coinmine, Civic) but have bought a few coins back directly as well.

I hope this essay helps you get a better understanding. It definitely helped me.

Amazon’s Shareholder Letter

I am in South Carolina biking this weekend.

I was invited by Ron Sedran who runs equity capital markets at Canaccord. We met through another friend in Toronto,Lowell Kamin, who felt I could help Ron and his team get quickly up to speed on the pace of changes in fintech. Ron put together this trip for clients and it is fantastic.

The hotel Domestique (with 13 rooms) was inspired by the world travels, tastes and active lifestyle of legendary cyclist George Hincapie, who will be taking us on a 50 mile ride today. Yesterday we did 44 miles in the hills.

The hotel is a genius, niche idea and I will definitely be coming back with my own groups in the years ahead.

Before I get to Bezos annual letter, my new friend Mike (a gastro intestinal doctor), who has had to endure 100 stupid ‘Assman‘ shoutouts and questions about my colon shared this joke that his wife emailed to him:

The young woman who submitted the tech support message below (about her relationship to her husband) presumably did it as a joke. Then she got a reply that was way too good to keep to herself. The tech support people’s love advice was hilarious and genius!

The query:

Dear Tech Support, Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slowdown in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0. In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as: NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and House cleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?

Signed, Desperate

The response (that came weeks later out of the blue):

Dear Desperate,

First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system. Please enter command: I thought you loved me.html and try to download Tears 6.2. Do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0, or Beer 6.1. Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Farting and Snoring Loudly Beta version. Whatever you do, DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Mother-In-Law 1.0 as it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.

In addition, please do not attempt to re-install the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0. In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0.

Good Luck!

Tech Support Team

Finally…here is Bezos annual Amazon shareholder letter. It is always a good read.