Closing out 2010…What a Year

To start, I want to thank you all for joining me in 2010 on this blog, the StockTwits/Chart.ly/Twitter streams, my TV programs on StockTwitsTV, and wherever else I may have interacted with you on the interwebs.  I continue to marvel at the revolution taking place which not only connects people of like interest all over the world, but which allows a single voice with something to say to be heard.  Just take a moment to respect that, respect that a single person with quality information to share can gain a following just by sharing.  People all over the world can access a single person’s views, it is a profound advancement for humanity, far more important than the printing press.

Second, I am nobody, I don’t come from a lot of money or a great family name with connections.  I’ve been able to build those connections through sharing my ideas and skills generously, and I’ve been blessed with a return on that investment of time and energy in ways you can’t even believe.  Howard Lindzon likes to call this “social leverage”.  It’s a catchy phrase, but only in the last few months did I really come to understand what it means.  I don’t write this blog or share my thoughts through other mediums solely for your benefit, this isn’t an altruistic exercise, I’m not running a charity here.  I share because I believe I have something to share that may benefit some of you out there, and although I had no clue at the beginning exactly what I would get back in return, I understood there was something.  I have since learned a lot about exactly what that something is, and it has been significant.  In the coming months I’ll share with you all exactly how you can use social leverage to your benefit.  But at the end of the day, it comes down to sharing without knowing exactly what you’ll get in return, and I want to thank you all for listening to me rant, about whatever it was I thought worth sharing.

A lot’s happened this year.  My investment management firm Surfview Capital gained a lot of traction as I went from a being good trader to being a good trader with a good business.  And at the end of the year I made an important decision to shut that business down for the time being so that I could focus on an amazing opportunity on the business development side of StockTwits.  It was a hard decision but the right one.  The markets will always be there when I come back.

The hardest part for me to be honest is not being able to share and comment on the markets day in and day out.  More than anything about StockTwits I enjoy the comradery, the feeling that my stream goes to battle in the markets every day together.  We have rituals, a loose schedule, we practice together (research, charting, general market homework), and we are each other’s eyes and ears every day.  I don’t want to sound corny, and we are certainly not here for the benefit of each other, we’re here to make money, but it does at times feel a lot like we’re on the same team.  Perception is reality sometimes, and I often feel like everyone else is watching out for me.  But I digress.

We put up great returns at Surfview Capital this year, showing positive alpha in each quarter and walking away at the end of November up more than 30% for the year.  We completely missed the flash crash, thank god, caught the two major trends of the year and stayed out of the market for the most part during the choppy summer months.

My role at StockTwits continues to change and for that I am very lucky.  I’ve had the opportunity to experience so many different aspects of the social media, finance, and startup landscapes, just in this past year.  It’s been trial by fire, but it’s mostly that way for everyone, we are doing things that are brand new, there’s no handbook for most of this stuff, so we rely on our instincts and previous experience in other fields to move forward.  It’s been exciting, and at times scary, change is constant here and being flexible is paramount to everything else.  The word pivot comes up a lot, I still don’t quite understand it, it’s a word that can be used for everything, like dude.  Did I pivot from running money and the media side of StockTwits to not running money and going to the business side of StockTwits?  Or did I just make a decision and go in a different direction for a while?  Whatever pivot means, I guess I did it a few times this year.

I was lucky to have a healthy year, for that I’m extremely thankful.  Over the last 4 months I’ve also gotten myself back into pretty good shape thanks to my gym being located between the office and the subway, I can’t walk by it at night without feeling lazy.  Still, I’ve definitely lost a step on the ice since my junior days and my core strength is not where it once was, things to strive for.  My family and friends have stayed healthy as well, a blessing.

There is so much ahead in 2011 that I’m looking forward to.  We continue to push the boundaries at StockTwits and are constantly striving to remake the financial media landscape.  The consulting arm of Surfview Capital continues to grow and I’m thoroughly enjoying helping you guys in understanding how to best use all of these new platforms to grow your asset management firms and personal brands.

I’m sure 2011 will throw just as many twists and turns as 2010.  I’m looking forward to it.

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