The College Loan Crisis Is Real – Has The Answers…Bobby Matson and I get The Converstaion Started on ‘Panic With Friends’

A staggering 45 million Americans have student debt.

Today, 70 percent of American graduates have student loans.

While the world battles the COVID pandemic, Americans have a student loan and debt epidemic waiting right behind. I had no idea that 40 percent of the US government’s balance sheet is student loans.

Meet Bobby Matson, founder of whose API first product product gives any financial app ‘student loan superpowers‘. With their API, you can empower customers to automatically assess and address their student debt—freeing up cash they can save, invest and spend. This is a perfect time as Bobby says to get the student loan conversation going.

Bobby and his wife had six figure debt like many young Americans and it was holding them back from starting a family. Monthly payments were equal to their rent. Bobby solved their problem navigating a maze of options saving $70,000 and friends started to ask and it led to Bobby founding Here is their founder story.

The mission – lack of information is the college loan problem and Payitoff provides the transparency that is lacking for borrowers.

As Bobby explains in today’s ‘Panic With Friends’:


Just to start their are many income driven options and various deferment options in times of hardship.

Here is the full podcast with Bobby (you can also get it on Apple podcast and Spotify if you search my name). I urge anyone with student debt and the parents of those with student debt to listen to the podcast and forward this episode to friends and family you know have student debt.

The Department of Education has issued a response to the COVID-19 crisis and Bobby wrote this for people in response to explain what it means for you.

You can continue to follow Bobby and stay on top of the industry on Twitter.

Full disclosure – Social Leverage is an investor in

Catching Our Breath and Repositioning…And The Big Get Bigger

Bear market rallies are fierce.

We have now rallied 20-30 percent off the panic lows of a few weeks back. The markets are set to open another 3-4 percent higher again.

Two weeks ago I changed my Twitter handle to ‘The Nibbler’ and wrote ‘A Bear Market Plan‘. The plan has worked and I am booking profits and repositioning my portfolio in a way that might better benefit from how I see the world post COVID. Overall I believe the big get bigger especially in technology.

This morning will be a much better day to panic and reposition. Historically, we have always gotten these days and weeks of relief rallies to that allow people to reposition. Of course the market could continue to rally straight to all-time highs and beyond, but odds are the bear market will last a while longer.

On March 24th. I summed up some ideas from all my ‘Panic With Friends’ podcasts.

Now we will see the large technology companies begin to more aggressively position themselves as leaders in these trends.

Somewhere last week I read a Zoom stat that boggled my mind. Their market cap was larger than 50 percent of the US airline industry. I know that meant a lot to Google, Microsoft and the other competitors in the space that want that business now too.

Microsoft is taking the early lead being ‘evil’ as they continue to try and crush Slack ($WORK) with their ‘Team’ products. They will be offering those same ‘Team’ products to teachers and schools instead of the much better Zoom product who have ‘chinese security’ issues. New York schools have already said yes to Microsoft and no to Zoom. It is likely only Google Class will be able to compete at this new level of war.

Is it fair?

Who knows. The government is busy printing money and fighting with each other.

Does Starbucks care if the corner coffee stores are out of business? NO. They are thinking through COVID safe mobile pick ups and drive throughs.

Does Shake Shack care about all the corner store ‘gourmet’ burger competition. NO. They are out getting the small business loans that were not even designed for them.

The big get bigger!

Elsewhere, few noticed, but Bitcoin is now flat on the year…and gold is up this year. Yes Bitcoin is more volatile than any other asset, but it sure seems durable in a crash and liquidity crisis. I am long Bitcoin and no bearish argument makes sense to me anymore. I will just continue to hold.

The good new for startups that come out of this bear market strong will be that recruiting good people will be the easiest it has been in a decade.

Eventually the start-up investing narrative will switch back to stories of success like ‘The first unicorn born on a Zoom pitch where the founders never had to meet their investors in person’.

I have no idea if this is one week, one month or one year out, but the narrative is being written.

Hope this helps get the juices flowing…

Momentum Monday…How Did We Miss The Crash? …And PATIENCE

It’s Monday and that means ‘Momentum Monday’.

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.

Here is this weeks episode. Ivanhoff and I tour the markets looking for signs of a bottom and I give some more examples of stocks as Venture Capital.

I was looking back to my posts in February wondering how I did not see the crash coming.

On February 10th, I posted this chart of airline traffic out of China that in hindsight was the best tip that the virus could/would wreak havoc on the US economy.

As bad as we all were at getting out of stocks at the top, we won’t time getting 100 percent invested at the bottom.

The charts that are mesmerizing me now include Simon Properties Group the high end mall REIT and landlord to your favorite brands and move theatres:

Shake Shack (from all-time high to all-time low in less than a year)…

The Nasdaq 100 has only given back the gains of the last year…not so for the small cap stocks…

I feel worst for people in small cap and value stocks. This chart from JC took the wind out of me because you can feel the pain for everything small (this is just public small caps versus the S&P)

Of course we will get bounces but it will be a long climb back to relevancy for so many small cap stocks.

The banks are being forced to be friendly to the people in 2020 which is not good for the banks as a business or their stock. YOu can see the low relative low to the S&P and one scary chart is Silicon Valley Bank:

My friend JC points out the weakest of the weak sectors and is worried that ANY bounce will be sold here.

A big question now is how much supply chain and revenue disruption is priced in. think we will learn much more this week as we get more data about COVID out of Italy and New York.

Patience is key. The bulls are giving up which is one bullish sign worth watching.

Om Malik Joins Me On ‘Panic With Friends’ And Two Nephews Jeremy Bernick And Aaron Nach Join Me For A ‘Panic With Family’

It was great to have Om Malik join me on ‘Panic With Friends’. Today Om is a partner at True Ventures, a $2 billion venture capital firm in San Francisco.

They have made over 300 investments including WordPress, Peloton, Fitbit, and Blue Bottle Coffee.

Om was a journalist at the beginning of his career covering technology and we chat about the changes in Technology from 2001 when he started his blog to 2020 as well as the future he sees.

The big changes came in 2015 as technology became the center of the universe and he explains it in the podcast (minute 15). It was a great conversation and you can listen here.


For a change of pace, I wanted to get the COVID angle from my two nephews who are living in Tuscon finishing out their school year via Zoom and social distancing at The University of Arizona.

They both see big changes to social norms as they worry about their first jobs and internships as they finish up their senior and junior years.

I am very close with both of them so it was a fun and thoughtful conversation. You can listen tight here.

Comedy Gives Back (Laugh Lounge) and The Chart Summit

I am a sucker for a good laugh and a great cause.

Today at 4 pm PST – 8 pm PDT my friend Claude Shire, the founder of Laugh Lounge, is working with ‘Comedy Gives Back’ to direct #LaughAid2020.

The show will be streamed on the LaughLounge app. You can download it here. This stream is FREE on the app, and Laugh Lounge is donating 100% of all subscriptions during the broadcast to @ComedyGivesBack. Once you have the app you can beam it to your television with Apple TV.

This FOUR hour live comedy event pulling comedians from around their country in their homes will not be easy to produce and direct live if my daily Zoom calls are any indication. Claude has directed a bunch of Netflix and Amazon comedy specials. I have had Claude on my podcast last year to talk about his startup and life in comedy.

Please pass this around to your friends today.

PS – last weekend, JC Parets (All Star Charts) organized a Chart Summit for COVID charities. It was an incredible lineup of 31 traders and investors that shared ideas and strategies. You can watch it all for free right here. Here is my discussion with JC.

Cash Is King and Max My Interest Speeds Your Way To The Throne and Raoul Pal Scares and Prepares Me With His Forecasts – TWO New Panic With Friends

Hi Everyone..

I went hiking with my daughter Rachel last night and we made our first TikTok.

Ok onwards…

We now have 40 ‘Panic With Friends’ loaded and you can listen to any or all of them here – or on Spotify or the Apple podcast app.

Two today that I wanted to share are with Gary Zimmerman the founder of Max My Interest and Raoul Pal founder of Real Vision.

I am good friends with both and a personal angel investor from waaaaay back.

There is an old saying that ‘Cash Is King’ and Gary has figured out a beautiful and simple way for anyone to intelligently manage their cash and even today earn up to 1.71 percent. You can do this and keep your existing bank accounts open.

The average American with over $1 million in their portfolio keeps 27 percent of their money in cash!

I called Gary up for the whole backstory, the panic of 2008 that gave him the idea while he was working in the banking industry and he was panicked in Japan and how Max My Interest is exploding in popularity during this panic. All startups are hard but Gary and I know that fintech startups take an especially long time to build trust and strong businesses. I know you will enjoy the conversation and can listen to it here.

Next up is Raoul Pal who I love talking markets with.

He is currently in the middle of the best trade of his long career and he walks me through it. Raoul also shares how he is building Real Vision, his first panic and a lot of great stories about hedge funds, bad trades, great traders and how pensions killed the hedge fund industry.

Raoul also gives a great explanation of why he is bullish on Bitcoin, the coming dollar wrecking ball as well as some other interesting predictions.

You can listen here.

Equity is Complex – Secfi is Your Pre Wealth Advisor Helping Employees Analayze Their Equity

Note – this is an important topic so please forward this to anyone you know that founded or works at a startup whether it’s a company that has just raised a seed round or a company on its way to an IPO.


One thing employees are being forced to learn during this COVID health crisis is that their startup equity is complex.

Today I wanted to help as many of these people as possible by having founder Wouter Witvoet on ‘Panic With Friends’.

Secfi is an employees equity advisor:

Equity is complex. Secfi helps you every step of the way so that your company’s success also becomes yours.

Their financing solutions are tailored to your specific needs like buying a car or making a down payment on a home.

The first step for EVERYONE is to learn about stock options, deciding on when and how to exercise them and gaining a profit perspectives (the tax part).

Secfi makes it incredibly easy for everyone at every stage of a startup

Of course…not every company can be underwritten, but that does not mean every employee should not understand their own options.

Here is my ‘Panic With Friends’ conversation with Wouter that dives deeper into his startup journey the problem Secfi discovered and the solutions that Secfi offers.

The great news is all one has to do is head to the website and spend a few minutes with Secfi’s robust calculator to make the most of their equity…

Here are some other recent articles on Secfi that you may want to read and share:

Pitchbook – here

Crunchbase – Here Is What You Need To Know About Equity If You Have Been Laid Off

Financials versus Technology and Warriors Over Worriers

It is April 1 so I will lead with my foolish merger idea of the year….

Netflix will buy Peloton!

Actually I do think a merger like this will happen one day soon and it could end up being a bidding war between Apple, LULU, Amazon and Netflix.


Knut and I added 4 new ‘Panic With Friends’ to the lineup yesterday and you can listen to all of them – now 36- right HERE.

I was reading Howard Marks excellent monthly letter yesterday (it was sent to me a bunch of times by friends). His trader telling him he never would have thought he would use the terms ‘FOMO” and ‘Panic’ within two weeks of each other rings so true. It was dizzying. I like how Howard lays out how he is thinking about the markets with his bias of being a ‘worrier’ not a ‘dreamer’.

If you want to talk to my partner Charlie at Compound Advisors about your portfolio or allocations or how we do things just hit me up and I will intro you or head to the site and ping him directly.

Next and most importantly to me at least….

The most interesting chart I have seen in a while was shared by David via Ian comparing a chart of financials to technology:

It is at this intersection that I have spent the last 14 years of my life.

From this chart, in hindsight, I would say my timing was pretty pretty pratttttty good.

While last month before the crash I wondered out loud if Fintech was in a Bubble…we now know that at least valuations and companies are indeed fragile.

The next phase in fintech will not be for ‘warriors’ not ‘worriers’. I think dreamers are being washed away in most of startup land right now. I am hoping that the dreamers don’t slow down in science and medicine.

Over the next 15 years it will not get any better for financials versus technology.

How The Pandemic Will End

When I had the idea of ‘Panic With Friends’ a few weeks ago I thought I would make 10 episodes of the podcast and be done with it.

I am now three weeks in and have 40 episodes taped (32 are released and you can listen to them here). I can’t cover every single one here on the blog in realtime. I will eventually shout them all out here as I have been doing. My long time Norwegian friend from grad school, Knut Jensen (yes everyone in Norway is a Hans or Knut), gets more fan mail than me and has been a machine in the podcast studio he built in a week like a Norwegian MacGyver. He never thought his CLIO awards would lead to a third rate, part time, podcast gig during a Pandemic. Then again for an ASU student he is overachieving!

I have spent almost every waking moment the last month on zooms/calls with portfolio CEO’s as they raise capital, make incredibly difficult decisions and position for both a long grind and the other side of this pandemic (Mike Katz is the CEO of mParticle a fund 1 portfolio company and he just shared this strategy post titled ‘Live for Today, Plan For Tomorrow). My partners Tom and Gary have been zooming and phoning, turning documents and spreadsheets as well. In February, when I could sense the problems I was in New York helping face to face, but now I can only do it from my office on Zoom or the phone. My friend Semil, a venture capitalist as well,has a great post titled ‘Portfolio Triage in A Pandemic World‘. It’s a great overview of what we have been doing since February.

In the background I have Koyfin, Stocktwits and Twitter open 24/7 so I can follow the markets, chat with the community on Stocktwits and track COVID.

The podcast has consumed all my downtime but the upside has been a creative burst of energy.

I am grateful that my stomach and bowel issues came in November and not today so the hospital bed can go to someone that needs it more than me. I just got a second opinion (like Larry David) on my Crohn’s and after a battery of tests I am told that there are no signs of Crohn’s. Lucky Lindzon.

I am now just hopelessly staring at a few twitter streams like that of Bill Gates for any signs of news and data that feels trustworthy.

He had a great TED talk that I just watched and today linked to an Atlantic article titled ‘How The Pandemic Will End‘. I won’t paraphrase it because everyone should just take the time to read the whole thing.

It seems like April will be harder than March and we won’t get any semblance of order back until June. I will be having more guests on the podcast that can decipher the emerging trends from the COVID pandemic and panic.

The longer term effects and trends set in motion are mind boggling but part of my job is to get in front of these trends and back the best founders and teams with that will best ride them.

Momentum Monday – Tensions Are High, Oil Vey and What Will Be With Retail (Jeff Macke Joins Me On Panic With Friends)

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.


Tensions are very high. I know this because I am getting called names like ‘intellectual lightweight’ for saying this won’t be another great depression.

I will keep it brief today because of the ‘Momentum Monday’ Video and my ‘Panic With Friends’ episode with Jeff Macke.

Here is today’s Momentum Monday episode with Ivanhoff which he titled ‘What comes after a relief rally‘. We share a bunch of ideas as to how to try and trade and position for the days and weeks ahead as the markets either remain volatile or begin to calm down.

Last week I had a long conversation about retail stocks with Jeff Macke who spends all his work time covering the retail sector. We agreed that there is no reasonable way to value retail companies in the current environment so be extra careful. I learned a lot.

A couple charts that have my undivided attention include the monthly oil chart I call ‘Oil Vey’:

I am watching the $VIX (measure of volatility) which continues to set records:

Disclaimer: All information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment, legal or tax advice, or an offer to buy or sell any security. For full disclosures, click here