In our TraderTalk series, we interview some of the most interesting and best performing investors from the worlds of social media, CopyTrading platforms, traditional asset management and private traders. Below are the insights from WOLF Financial (@WOLF_Financial). He hosts 40+ hours a week of Twitter Spaces, covering stocks, crypto, NFTs and real estate. He has been a pioneer of Spaces and now is one of the most popular accounts in this space.

AP: To start, what is your background in finance? 

I have a pretty traditional finance background. I went to school at Drexel University and studied finance during my time there and graduated with a Bachelors. 

In my third year, I got a job at Goldman Sachs in Philadelphia. I worked with three different teams as an analyst, managing about $6B in AUM. That was my entrance into the finance world. I was able to sit there and listen in on these phone calls as my manager talked with really powerful people all around the world. I got to understand how he talked to them and how he connected with them and what they cared about, because it wasn’t just about how their money was performing on a daily basis, it was about building trust and relationships. After that, I went to a job in private equity at a firm called Versa Capital Management. I worked there for about six months. This was an interesting experience learning about the management side of things as I worked closely with the management of two different firms. 

During my senior year of college, I got pulled into the start-up world. I came on as the COO for a fintech start-up which was pursuing a social finance app. About eight months in, I took on marketing responsibilities and started to build on Twitter. I enjoyed the Finance Twitter community and the concept of social finance. About six months into that, Twitter Spaces became a thing. After seeing one or two Twitter Spaces, I saw that they had so much potential. I went and DM’d a bunch of people who worked at Twitter. This got me access to hosting Spaces within a week. So, I just started hosting, thinking I could be the first person to do organised, hosted, moderated Twitter Spaces. There wasn’t a single person doing this yet. It was a good opportunity to break in early. 

I built the Twitter audience over the course of a year to about 30 thousand followers. Then in December, the startup’s investors decided to pivot and focus specifically on one part of the business and really wanted to go B2B with it. They decided that they would change the brand and go in a different direction. This is where there was a bit of splitting point. I wasn’t as fond of going B2B, it’s not really the world for me. I like interacting with the consumer. So, I was able to purchase the entire platform, brand and everything WOLF that I had built for this company. I purchased it and it became my own. I then basically started my own social media marketing firm, really marketing through Spaces. Now, I host 40 hours of Spaces a week, and have contracts with dozens of financial companies on a weekly basis, building out programming and marketing content. There is tons of free content as well for those who like trading. As it becomes more expansive, I have to learn to be able to moderate for different clients. For example, I host two real estate clients every week. I can’t really not know anything about real estate and lead the conversation. That goes with tech analysis, fundamentals, crypto, NFTs. So, I have to know a little bit, not necessarily to teach, but to run these discussions. 

AP: What was the reason for setting up WOLF on Twitter?

I started the account for the company. We needed to build out this app, similar to something like StockTwits, a hub for social finance. We needed users and also would need to have relationships with content creators who had audiences. In my mind, the best way to build these relationships was to be one of them. Instead of coming in as a brand, we needed to be coming in as a person. If we were able to do that and build these relationships and show the people who we had behind it, I thought that people would receive a lot better. It was a conundrum when I came in. Do I talk as “we” or “I”? So, I decided to make it personal, and it worked out in the long run. 

AP: How much of a role do you think social media now has for trading? 

I think it has a decent size. Retail still only makes up a maximum of 25% of the market and maybe over the last six months, probably less. So, they don’t really move stocks. Maybe smaller caps may have some movement, but large caps won’t be affected. Small caps will get moved by social media every day, hence “pump and dump” and everything happening there. But hedge fund managers have social media too. They’ll be looking at what is going on and it will factor their ideas. There will be people they respect on social media that are posting and I’m sure that they are looking into that and researching for themselves. Social media has become a great place to do research. 

AP: With your Twitter Spaces, has there been one that standouts and sticks with you? 

Yeah, probably a couple of them. The largest space that I ever hosted was an interview, in January of this year, with Puru Saxena. He is a popular, retired hedge fund manager based out of Hong Kong. I say popular because he gets a lot of attention, and he has a strong track record. He really does back up his opinions. When I was able to get him onto Twitter Spaces, he’d never done them before, didn’t even have the Twitter app on his phone. I got him onto Spaces, and we had maybe 10 thousand people that came and listened live, and then 50-something thousand listened to the recording within about a week. It was pretty crazy to see that people are coming and listening and paying attention. So that was one that just went bonkers. 

One other space that happened was actually very recent. About four weeks ago, I was doing a space with Whole Mars Catalog and Ross Gerber, talking about how AI and autonomous vehicles are going to change other industries besides the car industry. Gordon Johnson, who is a big Tesla bear, came on to the Spaces. It then became a pretty intense back and forth. A good amount of people listened, a few other people came and joined. So that was a memorable one for me. 

AP: What do you feel has been the biggest learning curve for you in the market over the past year? 

I think it has been a staunch learning period for many people. The last several months especially. For some reason, going into 2022, I didn’t have a great feeling about the stock market. I haven’t added to a single long position in 2022, which has probably been my best move. In fact, only 10% of my portfolio is actually in the stock market right now. I probably should have played more downside, but that is easier said than done. So, I think that there have been lots of curves. So many people in the runup and in February/March 2021 that were telling me, “Look, all I have to do is make $500 a day off this and I can retire. I can do this forever…” I thought to myself, “What are you doing that is so special compared to anyone else? What is your system?” People would say they day trade and grab stocks on the way up for a few pennies then I sell. But I never saw that as a viable strategy. People couldn’t back up why they were doing what they were doing. What I realised was, the majority of people are just following others into trades. That worked for a long time… until it didn’t. So, the biggest learning curve for others, I would say, is not to follow others into trades anymore. The most important part is selling, and you can’t get that information fast enough when listening to others. People always just end up holding a bag. All they are doing when they follow people into trades is providing traders with exit liquidity. That’s been one of the biggest learning curves for many retail traders over the past little bit. 

For a learning curve in Twitter, I always try new things. I’ll change my bios, my headers and switch my content here and there. Always playing around with the algorithm. 

AP: After your conversations with those on Twitter Spaces, what do you feel are some common concerns within the economy right now? 

There is a worry that in a couple of months we are going to have a negative GDP number and we’ll enter a recession. That looms large. Inflation is all over the timeline every day, you can’t escape it. The war is also not going anywhere. I think it’s a pretty hectic time for us right now. Then we have midterms coming up, that’s another thing to focus on. There is a lot of political manoeuvring leading into this to try and appease people and, of course, a falling stock market is never good for the sitting party. There really are a lot of concerns right now. It’s starting to pile up. 

AP: What do you think is the biggest mistake for retail traders in the market? 

That’s a good question. I think the biggest mistake right now is that people want to out-perform the market but without actually being a full-time trader. That’s the weirdest mindset right now. They want to be a stock-picker and this-and-that, but they don’t want that to be their job. I think that you have to have a separation here. If you are going to put in time, then it’s okay to go ahead and choose some growth stocks and add to them. But for some people, I think they need to understand that they should just buy QQQ or SPY. They just won’t be putting in enough time to really pick good stocks, but they will still be expecting to beat the stock market. This is what I think has happened over the past year. SPY was up like 26%, or something like that on the year. However, most people that stock picked were not up anything close to that and some would have actually been negative. So, there is a disconnect across the ways unfortunately. You can’t outperform the stock market without putting in time, work and effort on a daily basis. 

AP: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Honestly, no clue. If someone asked me a year and a half ago, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I might have told them, “Working in an investment banking firm” or something like that. I like to plan about six months out. Anything more than that, I feel like I’m hurting myself because, especially in this world I am in right now, there is an incredible amount of opportunity. I’ve had the most random things happen. Someone with one million followers will slide in my DMs and pitch me a business proposal. It can sometimes really come out of nowhere. So not committing to long term plans helps me not to miss any opportunities. As long as it is something social, I’d like to think that’s where it will work out. I like to talk and connect with people that do things in that environment.

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