Past Performance is Overrated …Stock Markets and Angel Investing

It’s 2016 and still almost every piece of financial research and literature (mostly crappy) comes with the warning…’past performance is no guarantee of future success’.

It’s ass backwards.

I have made most of my money betting on myself and other people with little to no track record.

In my world…’future performance would have been limited if I had not backed people with limited performance history’.

Taken further…my own performance will likely peak the minute institutions recognize me as backable!!

But I digress…

One question I get asked the most on Stocktwits since we started eight years ago is why not show ‘track records’? Why not force or allow people to post every position?

I will try to answer it here again.

Philosophically I wanted Stocktwits to be a platform to share ideas and network around a subject I was passionate about – the stock market. It was inspired by my addiction to the Twitter feed and Tweetdeck (I was an angel investor in Tweetdeck). All of us at Stocktwits today share this same vision. We have added ‘born on dates’ to people’s profiles so you can see how long they have been a member and ‘since mentioned’ which tracks the performance of a ticker from the moment mentioned. These are simple and excellent features to give users context. We plan on launching many more contextual features in the near future that will help you quickly size up people and ideas.

We are against measuring people against every message. We created and offer an ‘API’ to let others build models about contributors. Ranking people is a slippery slope even when it seems straight forward like performance in the markets. We have chosen not to do that directly from Stocktwits to date.

I personally love the ability to curate and get a sense for the tape and mood. I believe we need to take responsibility for our own money and investments not just blindly hand them off to people with ‘track records’.

I am an investor in David Cohen’s first angel fund. David did not have a track record when he started this fund in 2009. David was/is smart, I trusted him from our interactions at TechStars and I knew he gad good deal flow and a good eye. If I had waited for David to have a track record I would have missed one of the great funds of all time.

Bill Ackman had a great ‘track record’ investing until recently. So much so he took himself public in Amsterdam a few years back. Everybody could now follow Bill Ackman…right over a cliff into the shitter!

So many founders in our Social Leverage fund portfolio’s had/have no track record of success and so many people I get ideas from everyday on Stocktwits do not manage money professionally. I don’t care. I manage my money. I make the decisions.

Try and keep an open mind about past performance when it comes to betting on people and ideas.


Also published on Medium.