Regular readers of my work here at Equity Guru and elsewhere have, for the last few years, had to go to Stockhouse.com to see what I write. They can see which companies I like, what companies I despise, which CEO I was tagging with an unfortunate nickname, and more.
That was a fun ride. I like to think I left the place better than I found it, and a lot of good investors made money following my work, which gives me the good feels.
But, eventually Lebron has to leave Cleveland and make his way into the big bad world. So, for the last several months, I’ve been talking to a variety of media outlets, companies, investors, brokers, promoters, colleagues and random homeless people about what I should do next.
(Yes, I’m aware Lebron went back to Cleveland eventually. Quit trying to ruin my flow, nerd.)
Staying at Stockhouse wasn’t an option. There comes a point where pushing for radical change moves from healthy to clubhouse cancery, and I’d long ago passed that point. There are a bunch of things at Stockhouse that the company should fix, that’s no secret, and they will, but I’ve not got the patience for a five year plan in doing so. Maybe that’s my glitch and not theirs, but I’d rather build something new than apologize for something old.
I’ve been in that place before. When I took a contract buyout at the Vancouver Sun three years ago, it was for the same reasons. When you’re a fresh recruit, you can shake the tree and make mucho fruit fall, but after half a decade that clarion call for change is heard as a whine by those who control the budgets, even if you have a trail of successes behind you, and that’s the time to clear out.
Before that, way back in the late 90’s, I used to work for indie film director Kevin Smith. Same deal; one day you’re an innovator setting up a merchandise empire, the next you’re a boat rocker asking questions at the wrong times. A timely exit has always been healthier for a career long term than it seems to be in the short term.
I’m happy being a boat rocker. I’m good at it. And, in journalism, that tendency is an asset, not a personal failure.
And so I sit this morning, in a Richmond cafe, eating a terrible organic carrot cake slice and neck deep in my second caramel macch, putting the finishing touches on something new, that I will control, that will be nothing if not a rocking boat at all times. Here’s Equity Guru.
I’ve been approached by almost every Stockhouse competitor over the last couple of years, and once again in the last couple of months. I’ve had brokers offer to finance new media outlets that I’d run, stock promoters offer ‘hired gun’ work, I’ve been offered the CEOship of two public companies, and I was even offered a $4m budget by a client to buy Stockhouse outright and install myself as the new boss.
But a few years back, a guy I used to work for, who I thought at the time was working at his dream job – a job that he inexplicably left shortly afterwards – told me an important thing that should be rule #1 in any person’s career: Who you work for is REALLY important.
It’s, really, the most important thing. If your boss wants you to clock in and only do as asked, and that’s your preferred deal, then you’re a match made in heaven. Enjoy your pension. Middle of the pack will probably keep the lights on for a while.
But I need to work for a risk taker. I need to work with the best of breed. I need to work for someone who will refuse the business of a crappy client. I need to work for someone who recognizes the system is broken and is determined to fix it. I need to work with people who will storm the gates of power and break rules and be working at midnight because world domination is fun. I need to work for first place, or a second place that will break arms to move up a spot.
So I’m working for myself.
And partnering with the crew that has helped Fabrice Taylor’s President’s Club become the dominant player in the non-penny Canadian public market space.
Equity.Guru is the first phase of a plan that will seek to bring in a new investor audience, as well as add to the existing crowd. It’s time to young this business up, to put an emphasis on legitimacy, to scalp the bullshit players publicly, and to give client companies exactly what they’re paying for – real exposure, expert advice, and an audience that sticks with a good company over the long haul, rather than taking profits after three days.
To start things off, I’m going to start a new concept: The Founding Three.
I’m going to choose three undervalued public companies that I believe have the business concept and team to deliver a multi-bagger win over the course of 18 months.
Not 18 days, not 18 hours, but 18 months. We’re going to build businesses here.
Those three companies will be covered a lot, in detail. I’ll pull no punches – if they don’t deliver on their promises, you’ll hear about it from me first. If they do anything that isn’t shareholder-first in nature, I’ll club them over the head with it.
But if they do as they promise, if they show they’re legitimate through their actions and words, if they constantly do what a good public company should do, I’ll scream it from the rooftops and help them on their mission.
I’ve selected two of the three. Discussions on the third are ongoing.
When I reveal them, I expect many readers to say “who?”, but we’ll make the answer to that clear very quickly.
The value Fabrice has brought Canadian investors has been threefold. First, he’s expanded his reach to build a real multi-platform, multi-demographic audience, online, in print and on screen. Second, he presents his information in a way that answers the reader’s questions before they know they have questions. Third, he doesn’t take part if he doesn’t believe in the deal.
I’m taking it a step to the left, in that I’m hoping to do all of the above, while looking for companies that that don’t actually have their shit together yet, but that I believe will absolutely do so, and deliver nice returns to those who got in early. I’m going more penny, less big board. I’m looking for the company that has already fixed the thing you’re discounting them for, that may well drop 10% in the coming weeks before the rubber hits the road and it starts to tear.
My rule for the last two years has been, if I pat one company on the ass, I have to find another to shiv in the neck or nobody will take the good words seriously. That’s worked well for me, and that notion will definitely continue here. Calling out the creeps and frauds and rounders is as essential as calling out winners, if you’re concerned with protecting your readers’ dollars.
But when I do that here, I won’t have anyone asking me to tone it down so that a friend doesn’t get offended. The lawyers letters can come directly to me for the shredding, and if a CEO chooses to come at me hard at 3am with an alcohol-fuelled shitagram, they better come ready for pitched public battle.
I don’t expect to be at Equity.Guru exclusively. I’ve been featured on on Equities.com and CEO.CA over the last week with guest spots, and I’ll gladly continue to show up as requested to help rise a tide that lifts all boats. I may bring on new partners, or syndicate to other outlets, or agree to a regular stint elsewhere.
But the first pieces I put up at EG these last couple of weeks, with no promotion outside of Twitter, have received as much traffic as an average Stockhouse post does, so I’m pretty sure we’re onto a good thing here. And I’ve got newsletters and podcasts and all sorts of neat stuff to come that promises to blow that out going forward.
In the Canadian venture space, legitimacy is a differentiator. It’s a marketing niche. “We did what we said we would do” is a rarity.
Time to change that. Get stuck into the comments and tell me what you love right now, and why. If you help me spot a good one, I’ll get behind it happily.
And thanks for reading, wherever you happen to do that. I won’t charge you for access and I won’t bury you in ads, and I won’t sell you horse pucky. In return for that, maybe you can help spread the word?
Who we are (added 2018)