Possibly the best Twitter community in the world???

Possibly the best Twitter community in the world???

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Up until recently I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with social media.  I’m not a complete luddite, and I recognise the need for the firm to have a robust social media strategy, because let’s face it, the internets isn’t going away 

The ‘love’ part includes writing this blog. The ‘hate’ part included the perceived huge time suck, and the ease with which I could disappear down rabbit holes.

I’ve finally come to realise that the ‘hate’ part is absolutely on me. If engaging on social media is such a time suck, and I’m disappearing down rabbit holes, is that the fault of social media, or my own lack of discipline?  (That’s a rhetorical question BTW).

So, during this year I have made a concerted effort to have a robust, disciplined strategy.  Do I still disappear down the odd rabbit hole?  Of course I do, nobody’s perfect, but I have managed to rein it in, and largely only do so when I have and WANT to spend the time.

In being more strategic I have made the most wonderful discovery.  There is a community of people on Twitter who are writing the most amazing content and sharing it FOR FREE.  This is what I am trying to do with my own little blog, to help and inform people to make smart decisions about their money.

These guys take this to another level.  Writing not just about finance, but about a whole range of issues which affect, and should be important to, us all.  Reading their work has taught me so much, and I hope in the months and years ahead that continuing to do so will help me to become a better writer.

As 2017 draws to a close, I felt it only fitting to acknowledge the depth of gratitude I owe to the following:

  1. Abnormal Returns – Tadas Viskanta

I read a lot of social media content, but I can’t hold a candle to Tadas.  When does he ever get time to sleep?  Or eat?  Widely regarded within the community as the number one curator of content, he is my one-man time management tool, and saves me hours every week. Not only does he curate great content, he produces it too.  The fact that he does this for free is remarkable.  That said, I did become a member this year because I believe a resource like this is worth paying for.  He has led me to read non-finance posts which I otherwise wouldn’t have (he’s a very discerning curator – if he links to something, it’s worth reading), and is responsible for introducing me to many of the following bloggers….

  1. Collaborative Fund – Morgan Housel

New to me this year, and what a find.  When I grow up I want to be able to write as well as Morgan 

Morgan cut his teeth writing for The Motley Fool and is now at VC firm Collaborative Fund which aims to invest in emerging firms for-profit and for-good.

What I love about Morgan’s writing is its conciseness.  In depth, but never a superfluous word.  And the breadth of subjects he covers, many with similar themes, but always challenging your own mental models.  Then every so often, he’ll throw in a post like this one.  Brave, and wonderful.

  1. Of Dollars and Data – Nick Maggiulli

Nick is about half my age, has only been blogging for about a year, doesn’t work in finance (he works in data), and is already whopping my butt when it comes to my goal detailed above 🙄 .

Nick writes engaging and challenging content, and is a great storyteller.  His posts are amongst those I most look forward to reading.

  1. The Evidence Based Investor – Robin Powell

Journalist Robin Powell is the UK investor’s very own Caped Crusader.  A thorn in the side of the active fund management industry, he has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of investors to increase transparency on costs, and for many years was a bit of a voice in the wilderness.  His dogged determination is finally starting to pay off, and whilst many investors may still choose to invest in active funds, they should – in no small part thanks to Robin – at least be able to make a more informed decision as to what they will pay to access the potential alpha some active funds can provide.

  1. Farnam Street – Shane Parrish

Shane doesn’t write about investing, he concentrates on long form posts on a whole raft of different topics.  He is an avid reader (as am I – and I credit Shane in part with the fact that this year I read over 100 books).  I never come away from reading one of his posts without having made copious notes of things I need to think about further.

Entering Shane’s blog is like entering the library in an English stately home.  The walls are lined floor to ceiling with thousands of books.  There’s a wing-backed armchair next to a roaring fire, with a cup of good coffee or my favourite alcoholic beverage alongside.  And of course, the ubiquitous couple of black Labradors stretched out on the rug in front of the hearth.  Bliss.

I think if I could only read one blog for the rest of my life, it might very well be Shane’s.  I have recently joined his Learning Community and am looking forward to learning from and contributing to the group in 2018.

  1. The Team at Ritholtz Wealth Management

The very earliest adopters of blogging within the finance community, they have used social media to great effect to grow their firm, but in doing so have never once compromised on their personal and corporate values.

As a team, Ocean’s 11, or The Rat Pack? You decide.

As individuals:

Barry Ritholtz (the Godfather – keeping the young whipper snappers in line)

Josh Brown (Dennis the Menace) With almost 1,000,000 Twitter followers, Josh’s influence in the community is far-reaching.  He pulls no punches, will sometimes surprise with a point of view I wasn’t expecting, and his language is frequently, ‘colourful’ shall we say (how do you get that past your Compliance Officer, Josh?  ).  His posts can be relatively off the cuff, or – like this one – make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Michael Batnick & Ben Carlson (Batman and Robin – but which is which?) Based in NYC and Michigan respectively I hadn’t appreciated how closely this pair work together, until they started their new podcast last month.  They are clearly great friends, and as well as writing brilliant content their podcast is funny (they never miss an opportunity to take the mickey out of themselves), engaging and an entertaining 30 minutes.  Michael’s first book comes out in June in the UK, and that, plus one of Ben’s books are both on my reading list for 2018. Also, Michael has one of the cutest kids ever.

Tony Isola – deserves the US equivalent of a knighthood (what would that be?) for services to informing and educating teachers and students in the US, and fighting on teachers’ behalf to get access to better retirement plans.

  1. Above The Market – Bob Seawright

Bob is Chief Investment & Information Officer at Madison Securities in California.  He takes the (hard won, amongst some outstanding content) award for my favourite post of 2017. It’s a post I have gone back and re-read numerous times, it’s that good.

I have only one criticism of Bob – he doesn’t post often enough!

  1. L2Inc – Professor Scott Galloway

Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing to second-year MBA students. Seriously, if I’d known at 18 that professors could be this cool, I would have gone to university  (Actually, I think my retrospective 18-year-old self, if around today, would have had a bit of a crush on Prof Galloway).

I reviewed his book in my November book review, and his videos are equally inciteful.  And yet, here’s another man not afraid to bare his soul from time to time. I really admire that. (Ok, I admit it, my present day self has the teeniest crush on him too )

  1. All About Your Benjamins – Justin Castelli

Young guy, doing great work.  Every time I read one of his posts I know the future of proper financial planning is in safe hands.

  1. Monevator – Anonymous

I have no idea who is behind this (UK) blog.  Aimed primarily at the FIRE community (Financial Independence Retire Early) of DIYers, the blog is a wealth of great content for anyone wanting to become a better investor.  I especially enjoy his weekend round up posts, not unlike my own TWSH

Well that’s it.  If you only chose to follow one of these writers in 2018 you’d be doing yourself a massive favour.  Looking through the list, I see it’s pretty US biased, and VERY male biased.  I hope that next year I might be able to change that.

To all of the above, thank you for everything you do.  Between you, you are doing great work to educate the public and hopefully over time we will see that evidenced in better outcomes for them.  As a community (which I would like to think I am in a very small way a part of) I think this is what keeps us motivated more than anything else to keep cranking it out.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and may 2018 bring you love, laughter and joy.

Warm regards