Letter to the Google founder dudes

Wassup, Larry and Sergey.

Nice earnings last night.  26% growth, over $8b in the quarter.  Not too shabby.  I’m taking my $GOOG stock to the bank.

Oh, also, cool what you did to the “supposed” adult supervision afforded by (well, ex-) CEO Eric Schmidt.  It’s pretty sick how Larry just wrested control away from him and sidelined him to take back the company.  I’d give all my 24 hr access to fruitloops on the Googleplex to see the look on his face when you dropped that bomb on him.

For me, it didn’t really rock my world.  From the word on the Street (or at least on campus here), he never really had any control anyway. Like when you guys bought Android and didn’t even tell him.  That was awesome.

Eric may of had to go — I mean, with over 90% search dominance in so many markets, yet the inability to really monetize anything else and the makings of a Microsoft-type ($MSFT) European anti-trust inquisition mounting against the search firm, the company needed some fresh blood.

But this peep isn’t exactly sure that a return to its roots is what the firm needs.  With the growth in the company over the past few years (23k f’in Googlers, baby!), we’re kinda all over the place.  Add a lame attempt at buying Groupon — we need new leadership.  I mean, the last thing we want is to pull a Yang or Ballmer and bring back the lifeblood of our startup days — our founders — to steer these ships that have certainly outgrown their own abilities to manage such large organizations.

Oops — is that what just happened?  $YHOO’s Carol Bartz maybe-coulda-woulda been a better choice??  Maybe not.

Rock on,

Your faithful (and rich) Googler

Realtime trading data in the collective tradestream is HUGE

Softly launched a month ago, Yahoo Finance’s Market Pulse is actually a huge f’in deal.  Clearly, the press — and investors — hasn’t really understood what’s going on here.  And I’m not talking about StockTwits’ inclusion in the real-time stream (there are only two sources of data right now).  What’s really huge here is the Covestor feed that’s showing up on stocks.

Market Pulse is a real-time feed — much like Twitter is — on specific stocks.  So, whenever a trader or investor tweets or writes about a stock, it shows up here.  So, everytime someone blabs about $AAPL on StockTwits, investors can follow that stream alongside the other data provided on Yahoo Finance.  Is that interesting?  Maybe.  It is part of the real time conversation and important for hyperactive traders, I guess.

But the big deal here is what Covestor is supplying to Yahoo Finance users.  As a marketplace for investment services, Covestor actually validates/verifies trading activity of its managers.  In turn, Covestor supplies Yahoo’s Market Pulse with a real-time stream of trading activity — real live trades with real money behind them.  Users get a feel for how large a portfolio position is (in percentage basis) and whether the investor is building or liquidating a position.  Where else can you find this in real time? Nowhere.

This is all about the power of the collective tradestream.  This takes everything to a whole new level.

This is a BIG deal.

10 predictions in online finance for 2010

I’ve been thinking about what the future has in store for investors and I’d like 2010to use this post to help clarify my thinking.   Essentially, I’d like to hone in on what 2010 portends for online finance.  I’m looking for some broader trends, as well as some company-specific prognostication.

  1. AOL’s ascension, Yahoo Finance’s continued domination, Google Finance tweaks:  Now that AOL has fully cut the cord from Time Warner after opening up the portal, it’s got to fend for itself.  AOL Money’s new incarnation is DailyFinance, a formidable offering worthy of investor eyeballs.  DailyFinance is the crux around which AOL has woven its numerous niche sites, like financial blogging site BloggingStocks and personal finance site, WalletPop.  Look to AOL to get its ship in order and move up the traffic charts.  Yahoo Finance, barring a sale of the tech firm, will continue to dominate, without really any changes to the platform.  They’re pretty much on cruise control but will still get the vast majority of financial traffic.  Google Finance will still suffer from lack of attention but the search firm will turn its sites on generating traffic to the fledgling site given the fact that CPMs are high in the financial vertical.
  2. Consolidation in the brokerage industry: While many of the old-school online brokers (what a weird expression) are still wary of the changes social media has ushered in to online finance, a couple of the startups in the field (Zecco, TradeKing, TradeMonster) understand it very well.  I think you’ll see the big boys make a small tuck-in acquisition of one or two of these players and continue to run them under their own brand.  An acquisition would be  a relatively inexpensive laboratory for the big brokers to begin to get a feel for the second generation online trading environments.
  3. Small RIAs begin to adopt expert communities in greater numbers: Covestor and kaChing offer asset managers an alternative distribution mechanism to bring in assets.  Through a transparent trading platform and encouraged blogging, expert communities provide a business model to the financial blogosphere as participants get paid by investors to mirror their trading activity in their own brokerage accounts.
  4. Howard Lindzon does it again: StockTwits gets an offer for $25 howard_stocktwitsmillion — I’m not convinced he accepts it or where the offer comes from, but his winning streak continues.
  5. SeekingAlpha raises another round of financing: On top of the round they just raised, the financial content aggregator will go to the till to raise more funds as profitability remains somewhat elusive and management gets aggressive about growth.
  6. Reuters buys Wikinvest: Reuters understands branded content (a wikinvestla Felix Salmon and recent purchase of Breaking Views) but also understands the power of social media.  Wikinvest would be an interesting addition to the recent rollout of sweet, new Reuters.com.
  7. Jim Cramer and TheStreet.com left with few options: TheStreet.com sees revenues decrease and isn’t able to find a buyer or strategic investor.  Their blend of freemium content doesn’t resonate well with the public and they continue to struggle to find footing.  While current columnists won’t see the whupping that Dykstra took this year, the firm prepares for bankruptcy in 2011.
  8. Bloomberg, Bloomberg, Bloomberg: Bloomberg fires on all cylinders.  As it continues to own the institutional space, with BusinessWeek in tow, Bloomberg gets serious about retail financial/business content.  They hire more than 5 people to run Bloomberg.com and they make other smart, strategic acquisitions to pimp out their portfolio of properties.  For a firm that gets so little of online finance traffic (I think last numbers were less than 5% of online finance traffic), they have a long runway ahead of them.
  9. James Altucher becomes  the man: Blending smarts with a good altucher_dailyfinance_blogwatchsense of humor, Altucher is on his way to ubiquity with great positioning in the WSJ, RealMoney, and AOL’s DailyFinance. Look to see more of Altucher’s market commentary and stock picks.  By the end of 2010, Altucher will launch his own mutual fund as he goes retail.
  10. Maria Bartiromo and Tiger Woods: 2010 will reveal that the queen of CNBC will have traveled with Tiger on his private jet numerous times with no chaperon.  Well, not really.  But who hasn’t been with Tiger…

Wishing everyone a great holiday season and a prosperous 2010.  It can only get better from here (I hope).