Investing without leveraging Social Media is like fighting with both hands tied behind your back. Maybe you can head butt someone to death, but why make it so hard on yourself? A few months ago I penned an article called, “Where Social, Mobile and the Cloud Meet.” I talked about how important it’s becoming for companies to extract and react to information in real-time. If I tweet that I am going to buy an iPad today – it is useless for Best Buy to send me a discount coupon a week later. Ideally they would present an offer the same day. TIBCO’s CEO, Vivek Ranadive, says it well:
In 20th century content was king. In the 21th century context will be king. We have so much data now, but the useful life of the data keeps coming down. And the amount of time that we have to do something about it is coming down even faster.
Shortly after my article was posted – a buddy of mine Rob @Techinsidr, on StockTwits – a Social Media site for investors, suggested that I check out a Business Intelligence company called MicroStrategy. He had used their software while working at Intel. After some research, I decided to buy the stock.
That scenario is one of the most obvious ways to use Social Media in investing. It is really no different than getting a stock tip from a friend except for the fact 5 years ago I would have never known Rob. Our paths would never had crossed. Social Media brought us together and through many conversations he has become a trusted source.
That being said, StockTwits is much more than people sharing stock tips. Real-time news and timely references to research material are far more valuable in my opinion. On Thursday, @robertlendvai shared that he was listening to Micro Strategy’s ($MSTR) CEO Michael Saylor’s talk on Global Tech Trends. As an investor in MSTR, I immediately clicked on the link and began listening to the presentation. It’s an one hour talk. Usually 10-15 minutes is my limit, but Saylor’s presentation is so fascinating that I had to watch it in its entirety. Trust me, after the first 5 minutes you will be hooked (watch it).
Saylor discusses the four megatrends that are evolving in technology – Social, Mobile, Cloud and a consequence of those Big Data.
In one of his many stories, Saylor explains the power of the social graph. Saylor says it is quite humbling to Google yourself. Typing in his name returns hundreds of Michael Saylors. He states that our names unto itself are not unique. However, our relationships with people are unique.
Saylor tells of being at a party in the French Riviera and meeting a Belgium model named Talis. In his words, he says that she was “hot.” The next day he thought that it would be nice to meet her again. Not having a phone number – he typed her name into Facebook. Out of thousands of Talis’ in Facebook – the one that he had met popped up to the top. Her name was on the top, because they had six friends in common. Saylor says since were both at the party that it was highly probable that they would have overlapping friends. By having similar friends, it was enough to differentiate her from all of the other Talis’ in the world.
I wanted to insert a picture of Talis here, but we have no friends in common. LOL….
Saylor says since Google has no awareness of the social graph – he never would have found her doing a Google search. This simple example blew my mind and highlights why Larry Page is calling out Facebook for lack of social data portability.
Since this presentation was from earlier this year, I was curious as to Saylor’s thoughts on Google’s latest social media project – Google Plus. From the Talis story, I knew that he was Facebook user and decided to check out his wall. As expected, he had shared his thoughts on Google Plus and many other interesting topics. I read all of his wall entries and walked away with new insights in tech.
In three days, I expanded my knowledge of today’s megatrends – without Social Media it would have taken months to attain the same level of understanding. I said all of this to say, if you aren’t utilizing Social Media – you are making this investing game far more difficult than it needs to be.
Disclosure: Long: MicroStrategy, TIBCO. Short: Google. Positions may be changed at any time.