Thanksgiving Musings On Seeking Alpha, Syndicated Posts, “Investing Communities,” and the Future of Stone Street Advisors

25 Nov

Over the past decade (and most seriously the past 3-4 years) I’ve played around with several “community”and/or “social” stock and finance sites, including the seldom-useful, antiquated (in my opinion, at least compared to the competition) Yahoo! Finance message boards, The Motley Fool, Marketocracy (remember that?), Minyanville, Seeking Alpha, and more recently/frequently, Stocktwits and Twitter (We also have been syndicating our content on Business Insider of late).  I’ve dabbled with Covestor and considered Stockpikr, but never gave either anything even approaching the ol’ college try.  Each of these things had or have several pluses and minuses and down the road, I’m sure I’ll dabble with some as-yet-conceived “social” finance websites/tools.

Since Yahoo! Finance boards are just too easy a target, and I haven’t used The Motley Fool since they (stupidly) turned down a TV show production I’d pitched to them about 5 years ago and I switched over to primarily reading Finance blogs and mainstays like the FT etc.  When I started writing for 1-2 Knockouta few years ago, I started thinking about ways to increase readership/popularity and discovered Seeking Alpha.  Technical/communication issues aside, I never really liked Seeking Alpha.  They’ve got (or re-publish) a ton of content from god knows how many hundreds of contributors, some well-known, some less-so.  They allow readers to leave comments, and rate articles/contributors (these are not unique to SA, of course), so when I think about it, I’m not quite sure why it never really did it for me; not even the events they have for contributors sucked me in. Frankly, I find their website and content management system, policies, rules, etc to be WAY too intrusive, to say the least, to the point where I seldom bother reading the website, let alone cross-posting my posts there.  Sure, friends of mine like Kid Dynamite and others have a pretty decent following there (which no-doubt helps drive traffic to their own websites and increase their visibility/popularity), but considering my myriad frusturations with SA, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to put the effort in to toot my own horn in those parts.  Alas, while many have acheived (relative) greatness through shameless self-promotion (everyone from Tim Sykes to some now highly-respected finance/economics commentators), I’ve always preferred to put my thoughts out there and let the content speak for itself.  Perhaps its time I reconsidered my stance, though…

Minyanville was one of the first social finance sites I got into and Todd, Kevin and the crew there certainly do a helluva job (and because they’re awesome, sponsored the inaugural Street Meet we had earlier in the year!), but admittedly, as most of my intraday commentary is twitter-based, I haven’t been reading/commenting nearly as much as I should be.  Kevin and I have talked on/off about me posting there as well, but both of us have plenty on our plates so those conversations have been in some state of flux for a few months.  Now that I’m writing this I really need to take care of this.  Note to self: Schedule drinks with Kevin!

While I don’t particularly support their sometimes misleading headings and artificial pageview/clicks from slides hows and whatnot, Henry, Joe, etc (and formerly my man Carney) have turned Business Insider into a pretty impressive operation.  Their content management system is pretty good, although my submissions there require at least 1 person to approve them (a person who isn’t always as knowledgeable as I nor incentivized to publish my posts in a timely fashion), although compared to the unfortunately more traditional editorial standards/”oversight” at The Atlantic, its a veritable walk in the park to publish on TBI.  Also, The Atlantic doesn’t syndicate content, not surprising considering the storied history of the magazine (extending to their web presence), so when I do decide to post there, its exclusive (an honor, no doubt), but limits breadth and visibility.

Where am I going with this?  First and foremost, I think today quite an appropriate time to thank the editors/proprietors/managers/owners/employees of all these outlets for sharing my vision and giving me the honor of being able to post on their sites.  Similarly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank our readers, without which this would largely all be in vain.  Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my fellow blogger/commentator types, from whom I’ve learned so much over the past few years, from whom I depend to to educate me on things outside my realm of expertise/experience.

Secondly, and perhaps selfishly, I want to ask all of you, whose opinions I’ve grown to value so much, your thoughts.  While I love doing this, and take a certain amount of pride in so doing for the low, low salary of zero, at some point down the road I’d like to reach the level of exposure/popularity where I can at least cauterize the hemorrhage in my bank account, so-to-speak.

Some have wondered when (in whatever form) Stone Street Advisors will start managing money.  To be honest, the thought had crossed my mind, but I never really sat down to think about whether such a move would be possible (and more importantly, profitable).  Others have suggested keeping some content free, but shifting the best, most actionable to a paid newsletter or something along those lines.  I’m not quite sure how much money such newsletters make or it’d be worth the time/effort, but I’m not diametrically opposed to that approach in concept yet.  Others have suggested a variety of other moves, some reasonable, some bordering on cockamamie, but most somewhere between the two.

So, pardon the rambling, stream-of-consciousness, but these are the things I’ve been pondering for quite some time, and since I value your thoughts, I thought best to share with you all.  If you’ll indulge me, you’ll share yours.  If not, thank you for reading, and have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!  (and to our International readers, I’ll email you some turkey, heh).

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4 Responses to “Thanksgiving Musings On Seeking Alpha, Syndicated Posts, “Investing Communities,” and the Future of Stone Street Advisors”

  1. Jason Raznick November 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Lots of good thoughts here.

    When you launched stone street, I thought you were planning on raising a fund. There are obviously a lot of places you can take what you do, but it all depends on what excites you most.

    • Anal_yst November 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

      Ah how could I forget Benzinga and Jason, another great outlet and person with whom I’ve discussed working??? I blame it on my solitary focus on eating my face off in an hour, nom nom nom.

      And to your point, Jason, as I rambled in the post, if I thought it were possible to raise enough $$ I’d be all about the fund management thing, alas, at what, $50-$100,000 in start-up costs and no anchor/seed investor in the picture, that dream is still a bit of a ways off, sigh…

      Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading/commenting!

  2. bond.math November 25, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    high comedy that you think this site produces anything remotely close to analysis one would consider acting on !!

    • Anal_yst November 25, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

      Ordinarily I wouldn’t dignify your comment with a response, but just to shut you up, over the past several years I’ve received dozens (if not hundreds) of emails etc about what we’ve done, what about you? Remember, we do this for shits & giggles buddy, hundreds of thousands of pageviews, comments, and oodles upon oodles of other evidence renders your comment not only uninformed, but in the significant minority.

      Additionally, nowhere have any of us represented SSA as an actionable trading service, further evidenced by our lack of daily market commentary. If that’s what you’re looking for there’s plenty of great sites on our blogroll, to the right, and on Stocktwits.

      Quick question though, since you don’t seem to appreciate anything (despite it being highly unlikely you”ve even perused even a small fraction of it) we’ve done: W hat’ve you done? No website attached to your comment, so, what are you, afraid to put your thoughts/analysis/etc online for the world to see?

      Feel free to contribute something meaningful one day and I’ll gladly post it so everyone can see the “real analysis” you apparently put together. I’m 100% serious. If you can do better, do it, and I’ll post it here and we’ll let the World decide if you’re as great as you seem to think you are.

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