I had a front-row seat at the birth of electronic trading, and it had a profound influence on my career and the thought processes that I would systematically apply to all subsequent endeavors. At first, I was simply enthralled by what we were able to do with the data; how we assessed it and took risk in order to generate more money, with which we could take more risk. I became fascinated by the power and control a trader wielded when relying on data to make decisions. It was years later before I began thinking about the bigger picture and the implications of this new kind of trading. It’s a story about how technology systematically changed a well over 200-year-old industry.
Jim Cramer, CNBC host and former hedge-fund manager, recently said, “At the end of the day, the market has no conscience... Nobody is investing to make the world a better place.”
In the spring of 2010 the Middle East reached a tipping point. It was called the Arab spring. A decade later, we are in the midst of the American Spring. We are the country whose fuse is lit and ready to explode. With the stock market making COVID-era highs, the disconnect between reality on the street and the illusion created by printing money, lending at 0% interest rates and outright lies by the federal government, has now seeped into the psyche of the American people. The illusion that 40 million unemployed can be fooled by a check in the mail and bringing back sports is finally being shattered and the glass will cut deep across the political divide.
We have completed the timely filing of our first quarter 2020 financial results. This marks our 10th 10-Q filing as a public company, along with having filed our 5th 10-K in March. Quarterly revenues were approximately $293,000, at the lower end of the range I had expected. Nevertheless, I am delighted, given the headwinds we withstood and the visibility we now have. With some clients asking for discounts and deferred payments and employees making it through a three week period of limbo in March that reshaped our company’s routine and monopolized our time, revenues quarter over quarter were essentially flat. They were, though, over 8 times higher than Q1 revenues in 2019. All things considered, this was a quarter I will never forget, both for its intensity and lessons learned.
I was listening to an interview of Real Vision CEO Raoul Pal, in which he was asked for some macro perspective on the world economic scene. While he was far from confident that fiscal and monetary policy can “paper over the cracks” in our economic foundation, Mr. Pal was emphatic that, for all the focus on lifting restrictions and bouncing back to business as usual, “reopening is a mirage.” Sure, he says, consumption will return to some degree, but not at all to the degree that people and markets seem to be expecting. The continuous media driven cycles by political parties and scores of other special interest groups have constructed this so-called mirage of “reopening,” in a desert where our nation’s leaders are wandering aimlessly. Prepare not for a reopening of the American culture, but rather a reimagining of the American society and, by extension, the American dream. The new American Dream will be found online in democratized digital environments from platforms like Vimeo, Spotify, and Vocal.