Thursday, December 11, 2008

Old School Bear Market Benefits

There were a couple of bear markets when I was a kid.

My dad had several friends who were stock brokers or bankers and he would call them a couple of times during the day and at the end of the day to see what the market did and to prevent monopolizing one guy's time, he would change up who he called from day to day.

The calls themselves were really cool. They would start with "how's the market", then go through a short discussion of national and local business news then end with news about wives, children and other relatives.

These were real two-way conversations with people he knew. You don't get that from watching the news, which is, at best, a one-way exchange of information. They built connectivity between two human beings, which, in turn made the whole community just a little bit stronger, especially when you consider how many other people were having just the same sorts of conversations.

Were my dad alive today, he would simply check the Internet to see what the market was doing, then go about his business, completely missing the opportunity to connect with someone, with anyone.

Technology has added so much to our lives, but it has taken some away as well. We have more information available to us than ever before in human history, but we're also becoming more and more isolated.

Perhaps that's why the fastest growing parts of the Internet are all companies that offer some sort of social interaction like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and the like.

The trick now will be to evolve these sites from being not only very useful, but also very profitable so they'll stick around. That was a hurdle my dad's brand of social interaction didn't have to pass. It will happen though. There's almost always a way to make money on things that are useful.

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