A few years ago, as I walked in — late — to the StockTwits “Stocktoberfest” conference in Coronado, Howard Lindzon stopped what he was saying in front of several hundred people, looked at me, and said “Hi, Ian.”
When this happened, I didn’t know Howard nearly as well as I do now. I was the newly minted General Manager of MarketWatch, a business for which I had immense respect, with an intensely loyal audience and employees that were passionate about each other and the brand. Howard’s name was legendary, but he was just one of the many people I was getting to know better as part of the MarketWatch radius.
During that incident, though, I was struck by his natural ability to make a room of hundreds feel small and congenial. I went on through the rest of that first Stocktoberfest to gain even more of an appreciation for the StockTwits unique ecosystem he had created of traders, financial media, fintech entrepreneurs and investors that surrounded the event. And starting with that first exposure, the StockTwits team itself has always reminded me so much of my first impressions of the MarketWatch team which became so successful — smart, nimble, irreverent, and passionate about the company and its users. The gathering is a unique mixture of some of the best and most interesting people at the intersection of these communities, and I’ve made more lasting professional and personal relationships at that event than any other — by far.
This is the promise of the StockTwits brand. From that first day, it seemed less like a set of products and data, and more like a club, or lifestyle. Shortly thereafter, I became an advisor to the company and met Justin Paterno, who has been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to the company as COO, and a key reason for its continued growth and success.
← Howard welcoming me to the platform back in 2013.
As finmedia, fintech, and finvesting angle towards a shared future, the number of ‘expert’ voices grows in each. Everyone is vying for attention, the voices run in parallel, and it’s both difficult and tedious to see every angle.
This is what makes the StockTwits community so interesting. The core platform is populated by young traders as well as seasoned investors, the stream data in raw form is used by institutions and funds, and the events are a gathering space for a smart, fun group of startups, journalists, VCs, and other interesting people.
←Phil Pearlman presents the greatest slide in history, at Stocktoberfest; confession: this pic is my twitter avatar
In other words, the StockTwits ecosystem is a natural gathering place for the stakeholders that are reshaping financial services.
While I originally first felt this while deeply in a career of financial media and b2b data, taking a left-turn to co-found Even Financial, a fintech startup, gave me perspective on what it takes to make disruption work in practice (a lot).
Though I left Even (in great hands with my co-founder Phill) to get back closer to media, the lessons I learned from that experience have formed an even stronger foundation for my belief that the startup, media, and investor communities need a better centerpiece for idea sharing — both in product and in person, and also a better curator of the results.
This centerpiece is what I think StockTwits should and will be. Its roots are deeply embedded in daily lively market discussion, data, and in-person gatherings of the best and brightest. It counts many of the active personalities in its orbit among those who are shaping the financial world. But the clear, consolidated messages to which these attributes should give rise is still sometimes hard for those not living daily in its products to hear. The value still seems too esoteric.
Stay tuned, because we are going to bring that voice to you: mass-market, and above the noise.
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