5 Stocktoberfest 2017 Takeaways

Stocktwits* just wrapped it’s annual Stocktoberfest conference Friday in Coronado, which has become a fixture on my conference circuit because it’s the best show going if you want your finance, media, and technology all in one place. It’s intentionally small and free of swarming vendor exhibit halls, which enables them to focus on content and you to focus on networking. Below are 5 highlights for me from this year’s show.

1. Social Leverage: Stocktwits founder Howard Lindzon is one of the great no-holds-barred presenters and gracious hosts. This show is known as the best under-radar fintech conference going because Howard always keeps it real, so everyone else follows suit. Also I’m grateful to Howard for being the catalyst that brought together many of the best financial bloggers in the game—when Stocktwits was getting its streams going, the strategy was to suck in users by having a blog network, and I’m forever proud to have been part of that crew along with stalwarts like Josh Brown (TheReformedBroker.com), JC Parets (AllstarCharts.com), Tadas Viskanta (AbnormalReturns.com), James Altucher (JamesAltucher.com), Greg Harmon (DragonflyCap.com), Joe Fahmy (JoeFahmy.com), Brian Lund (bclund.com), and many more. Howard’s investment company is called Social Leverage, and like all the best branding, the name clearly states his vision for bringing people together.

2. Finding Your Feet As A Leader: Stocktwits CEO Ian Rosen took over July 2016 and has settled in really well, not only having continually improved the product, but as the MC for the event, he kicked off with how he’s scaling the platform and the business. And if his previous experience scaling Marketwatch and Dow Jones in a similar way is any indicator, there are great things ahead for Stocktwits. And again on a personal note (that’s a theme here), Ian is so completely down to earth—the opposite of so many media folks.

3. Investing Education Can Be Fun–Seriously: Chart master JC Parets had one of the great moments of the conference. When he got up to speak, Howard was walking by and whispered “just wait, he’s electric” to one of his guests seated next to me. JC went a couple slots after Meltem Demirors from Digital Currency Group, who did a great tutorial on cryptocurrencies, which was perfect for bitcoin and blockchain luddites like me—she’s passionate, articulate, and an unwavering bitcoin/blockchain bull. So then JC goes through his 15 Charts You Can’t Afford To Miss, and you need to watch this clip to see for yourself how he’s not only electric but he had the quote of the show about Meltem’s presentation.

4. Biggest Media Names On Quality vs. Quantity: Linette Lopez of Business Insider led a financial media panel where Bloomberg, Marketwatch, Fortune, and Dealbreaker journalists talked about the delicate balance between content quality vs. quantity in a lighting-fast attention span era. Good news is that they all confirmed that quality tends to win—according to their stats, people still find their way to more thoughtful content despite the speed of everyone’s streams. But they also conceded that quantity is just part of the game. Linette, who oversees one of the fastest headline churning machines in the business, had another quote of the show with her comment below. And for those fellow cryptocurrency luddites like me, don’t miss Jen Wieczner’s Fortune cover story on Coinbase—it’s the perfect primer on the entire topic.

5. Jeff Macke Is A Retail Mastermind: I used to think Jeff Macke was a blowhard when he was on CNBC, and I changed my tune a few years ago when I read his book that he co-wrote with Josh Brown, Clash Of The Financial Pundits. He lays himself bare in that book and it won me over. Then I saw him speak Friday, and I have to say I was pretty blown away on his retail expertise. One of his great quotes was this:

“The prevailing narrative that’s just dominating is the death of retail. It’s not the death of retail, it’s the shift of retail.”

Then he dove in about how Victoria’s Secret has blown it with a retail and marketing strategy focused solely on sex appeal and drab stores lacking proper inventory. He asked: how much could you cross-sell and meet the needs of a female consumer just by understanding what kind of bra she’s buying? Is it a maternity bra, sports, sexy, etc.? That concept is profound when you let it sink in. I’ll be watching his retail views more closely from now on.

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Footnote:

*For those who don’t know of Stocktwits, it’s like twitter but you follow stocks and securities, and since 2008, it’s become indispensable for the realtime pulse on markets. They invented the $TICKER ‘cashtag’ to organize securities into highly relevant streams, and they heavily edit out the riffraff so commentary is quite useful, and it’s an oasis for people who want to filter out political and other tension that permeates twitter.