So a couple of weekends ago Howard Lindzon invites me out to Coronado for his annual Lindzonpalooza event. Let me just begin by saying that this island has become one of my favorite places on earth. Howard lives some life. I was out there in the Fall for Stocktoberfest and Coronado was love at first site for me. No doubt about it.
Back in October, the event featured some of Howard’s tech startup buddies showing off their new venture as well as some of my stock market friends explaining their strategies. Brian Shannon gave a presentation, Joe Fahmy got up on the stage and did his thing, and when it was my turn, I explained how I view technical analysis. It was fun. I learned a lot and got to hang out with a bunch of my friends from around the country that I usually only see on stocktwits, twitter or through their blogs. It was a blast.
But this time was different. Howard asked me to come out and give a similar presentation, only this time, it was all tech startups and one technician. I’m pretty sure I was the only liquid markets guy at the entire event. And that may have been the best part. When you don’t know anybody, or very few of them, and are willing to admit when you don’t know something, it’s incredible how much you can learn in such a short period of time. And maybe more importantly, how many cool and brilliant people you can meet in one weekend.
I got there Thursday night so I didn’t have to travel during market hours and managed the book from the hotel room Friday morning. Another reason to love Coronado? Markets are closed at 1 and the weather is beautiful. It was 1:30PM and I’m sitting on a deck overlooking the beach drinking a beer with practically an air show taking place over my head. The Naval Base is on the island so the most ridiculous planes are coming in every 10 minutes or so. Talk about a great start to a weekend!
Friday night we go out for beers and I got to meet a lot of cool people. But Saturday morning was when the presentations got going. I wasn’t sure what exactly I had signed up for. But you know me, go party in Cali, meet some people and talk about charts? I can do that.
So Howard gets the morning going by doing about 20 minutes of standup comedy. He goes around the room giving credit where it’s due – a few of his buddies in attendance had recently sold their companies to the likes of Yahoo and Salesforce for some big numbers. Slowly but surely, most of his friends get made fun of and then Howard goes, “alright, now JC is going to tell you what he thinks about the world”. Thanks again Howard for giving me the heads up that I get to go first!
I was still getting my coffee ready when it was my turn to present. In a similar way to Stocktoberfest I went over all of the different aspects about technical analysis: momentum, seasonality, intermarket analysis, correlations, sentiment, etc. Then touched on my views in Mexico, Indonesia, precious metals, Treasuries, and a few other charts that I think tell an interesting story. I didn’t realize it until after, but I was literally speaking a foreign language to a community that does something completely different in their day to day stuff. But I got some great feedback. I think my approach to the market isn’t very complicated, purposely, so it definitely helped me on this day explain what I do, what I look at, and how I come up with conclusions based upon that work.
But forget me. Hopefully people learned something from what I said. But the truth is that I learned so much over the next few hours, that it can’t possibly compare to the chart stuff that I discussed. I can be here all day talking about the companies that presented. But here are a few that stood out to me:
StationCreator – Jon Labes who used to work at StockTwits is building some special for sure. This company allows you to essentially build your own streaming TV channel. You can set your viewing schedule with a combination of original content and embedded videos you may find elsewhere. You can then add it to a blog you already have or a website for your company. There are advertising dollars to be made there from commercials you add to your channel. No tivo here to fast forward through. Jon and I chatted for a while, good dude.
Life360 – This was one of the companies that really impressed me. It’s basically an mobile app that groups your whole family into one social network. But not a Facebook Jr, “hey mom I just had a PB&J for lunch and here is a picture of my friend’s dog”. It’s more of a “dinner is at 7, don’t be late”, sort of network. There is a killer GPS function that is designed in a way that doesn’t drain your phone’s battery. There’s a panic button that sends emails/texts to all of your family members in case of an emergency. There’s a “check-in” button that let’s teenagers tell their parents that they’ve arrived safely wherever they’re going, instead of having to call and tell them. I can definitely see why this company is growing globally and can provide a great service to a family.
MobileDevHQ – this to me just makes sense. Building an app that people want isn’t the problem. It’s the potential users finding your app that is the issue. So this company acts as a consultant to optimize your app search results through google and apple’s app store. They created a way that notifies them when the googles and apples of the world change their search algos and let you know how to change your title or explanation of your app to maximize your search results. This sounds like to me like a huge advantage to a company trying to sell their apps online.
Skyscraper – My friend Paul Burger is really creating something special here. His company helps bloggers monetize their content. Imagine what a pain in the neck it is to find companies that want to market themselves on your blog, then you have to charge them, schedule the banner ad, etc etc. The revenue generation will take up twice the amount of time it takes to write your blog posts. Paul’s company Skyscraper takes care of all of that for you so you can focus on creating content. It just makes sense. Really nice guy too.
Whitstream – this is the StockTwits for comedians. Instead of ivanhoff and I drawing lines on charts and sharing our thoughts on them, comedians make fun of political debates and award shows. It’s brilliant. Lisa Cohen had the room dying of laughter when she put of some of the examples on the stream. I don’t think there’s much to explain here, just go check it out.
And I can go on and on. Fanium, an app for fantasy sports, Embark that tracks email opening behavior to help companies send emails to customers at times they are most likely to open them, New Hive which let’s you build your own site (or expressions, as they call them) is great for artists and musicians, Videolicious is an app that allows you to edit videos and publish them within seconds, Anyone Home creates a solution for people looking to rent single family homes. These are some incredible companies.
And trust me, I’ve just done a horrible job of explaining what these companies do. There is so much more to it than what I just mentioned. Most of which I don’t understand, technology wise, but I’m trying my best. I strongly suggest looking up these companies and learning more about them. There is some afantastic stuff being built out there. And in reality, these are just solutions to a problem that these founders have had in the past so they created a company to solve that problem. It just makes sense.
One of the things I learned out there was how many steps ahead these guys are thinking. As my friend Chris Peacock from CNN Money put it, “this is heavy”. Companies are being built to solve problems in areas that are just starting to grow. The solutions they are providing will be used by people years from now, but they are getting it going today because they have the vision. I am so fascinated by the way these guys think. I was blown away.
So now I have all of these new friends I’ve made from all over the world. A lot of them are in California obviously and a bunch from Canada. I learned so much by just shutting up and listening. And sure, I asked stupid questions. I’m willing to admit this isn’t my world. When my pal Dan Schleifer, Founder of ChartIQ, was explaining his new app using HTML5, I joked and said, “right, as opposed to HTML4 right?”. And he looks at me and he says, “JC you know you’re the only person here that doesn’t know what the difference between them is right?”. I know. So I learned. I learned a lot.
It was such a privilege for me to be there among some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. I got to see some really cool companies that are creating some incredible products. I have all of these new friends. And I got to hang out in Coronado for the weekend. I told Howard if he keeps inviting me out there, one of these days I’m just going to stay and not come back to New York. The place is really that awesome.
Great event, to say the least. I know charts and I know sports. Tech Startup, not so much. So go learn more about some of these companies that I did a poor job of explaining. Trust me, I think it’ll be worth your time.
Thanks again Howard.