Since winding down my hedge fund in 2006, I have been all about slimming down my stock market investing time. This meant getting off the idea that I needed eight screens on my desk to invest and follow the markets.
In hindsight it was a great timed trade.
While pulling away from eight screens on my desktop was not easy, the launch of the iPhone in June 2007 (not something I foresaw) from which I could get ideas, news, build a network, and execute trades with just a few taps made the move to one screen possible.
Starting Wallstrip in 2006 and StockTwits in 2008 than making angel investments in Business Insider, Tweetdeck, Etoro, Robinhood, YCharts, ChartIQ, Rally RD, StartStackin, Coinmine, SecFI and Koyfin I have run the screen gauntlet and am now now being twisted in a new direction that I am trying to grok and explain to others as Social Leverage invests out of fund 3 and eventually fund 4.
With the brilliant product and execution by team Robinhood the trade was commoditized to a few taps or swipes. Further, with the explosion of crypto and decentralized finance… we got the Big Bang on boarding of a new generation of investors.
While Robinhood, Coinbase, Binance and Etoro have been fantastic at onboarding and arming a next generation of investors and traders, we are now firmly headed into a world where those that want to be active need better and more modern tools.
As the trade is now commoditized, the battle for wallet share, education, fractionalization, engagement, media, and the mapping of our trades will begin.
Which brings me to some thoughts about the future.
The future of finance is not going to be about just the smartphone.
I have shrunk my view of the markets too far. My smartphone screen is no longer sufficient or fulfilling to my consumption and enjoyment of the markets and investing.
Furthermore, The iPad is a terrible one screen solution for investors. As for voice, I have yet to pace a trade using Alexa and don’t think that will become ‘a thing’ anytime soon.
Which means the desktop will be cool again and not just for ‘pros’.
The ‘Instividual’ investor wants more than an app and a one screen ‘Uber’ like trading experience.
For example, I continue to have AHA moments each day I use Koyfin on my desktop and iPhone. While Koyfin does not offer an app, there is a simple shortcut to appify the web version for your smartphone or tablet. It is a fantastic start.
I have so much more information at my fingertips in a very simple and lighting fast UI. I am driving the machine.
This is all happening while ‘passive’ funds pass 50 percent of all invested dollars and Vanguard owns more than 50 percent of the floats of the S&P 500 stocks.
In my personal opinion, this trend will end, but it does not need to as AUM might not be the measure for which the move to desktop products get measured by. People are over diversified, under educated and caught up in ‘free’. The next bear market will be a [email protected]#8er.
I am not sure if the next generation of investors and traders will use one or two desktop screens, but I doubt they should ever need more. If they do, they are literally free.
I went from eight screens in 2006 screens down to my iPhoneX in 2018 and now I am about to introduce more desktop market screen real estate back into my life.
Will it be for everyone? Of course not. But it will be a large market as we move from the smartphone back to the desktop for the next generation of investors.
Opportunities abound. I will never understand why Google has pulled away from being the Google Finance and being the ‘ maps of investing’ but I have a strong feeling they will be back one day soon. If not them, likely Amazon.
As always, feel free to email your thoughts on this future I see.
I have a whole separate set of thoughts about the RIA and wealth management opportunities that lay ahead and will share those in the coming days.