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.

Sometimes You Know…

This interview ‘Blowing Up The Venture Capital Model Again‘ with Marc Andreessen was a fun read.

Marc is a great founder and venture capitalist, but maybe even better at media. He can talk his book and build brand better than anyone.

I love this point he always makes about venture investing:

Andreessen Horowitz’s well-publicized view, one it still holds, was that what matters is not how many companies you back that fail but how many become massive, outlier successes.

I make a living in this business and Marc is correct.

I still remember my first meeting with Mark Scatterday at Pro-Innovative Concepts, Todd Davis at Lifelock, Mike Lazerow at Buddy Media and Baiju and Vlad at Robinhood. They all described what they were going to do and ‘I knew’.

At Social Leverage we work hard at all the companies we invest in, but the massive successes drive the results, and the dialog.

This week Pager Duty went public and it was fun to read what Paul Graham at Y Combinator wrote to TechCrunch back in 2010:

Aaron Levie, founder of $BOX had this to say about the genius of Pagerduty:

In hindsight, all the great companies and businesses sound so simple!

That said, sometimes you know!

A toast to the massive outliers!

Milestones

Stocktwits CEO Ian Rosen shared this milestone today:

We just crossed 2 million members on @StockTwits today – in 1/4 the time it took to get to our first 1 million. We’re thrilled to continue accelerating through the next millions and to the thousands each day joining the largest, fastest growing, most fun social network for investors and traders

I am really proud of the team, the Company and the brand.

Stocktwits has been a very organic (growth) company. The organic road is a long one.

The roadmap for the rest of 2019 is jam packed with some exciting new launches that the community will love. Stocktwits is not resting.

Looking back at the early years of the journey…if I knew Stocktwits would grow this well over the years I might have enjoyed the ride a little more!

Note to self and anyone listening…try and enjoy the ride.

Gone Fishing…and Some Trading Reminders

I am on my way to NYC with a stop for one day of Tarpon fishing in Naples.

Here is my view as I write tonight…

Onwards…

This tweet from Ramp Capital made me laugh this morning:

Last week I put on a really bad trade following a big win in $LULU. I rarely will trade around earnings, but with the big $LULU move on earnings I got loose and put on a long trade ahead of earnings on Restoration Hardware. Long story short, it was so easy for Ellen and I to spend a fortune at Restoration, I felt they would surprise people.

As Josh Brown would say…I was ‘beclowned’.

If you invest or trade you will be ‘beclowned’.

It could be worse…I could be this guy…

PS – some good investing reads today include Morgan Housel’s ‘You Have To Live It To Believe It‘ and Kwockchain’s ‘Making Uncommon Knowledge Common‘.

Momentum Monday…Is The Earth Breaking Out?

It is Monday which means Momentum time.

Our show today covers the sweet price action in the markets led by semiconductors. Click here to watch or listen.

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.

PS – I am heading east for a couple weeks of work and fun that includes board meetings, tarpon fishing and some hard core bike riding in Charlotte North Carolina.

PSS – My friend JC has a good post titled ‘Is The Earth Breaking Out‘.