Howard Lindzon

Born in Toronto, lived in Phoenix for 20 years and now in Coronado, CA with a loyal wife (15 years, 14.2 Canadian years), two awesome kids and a dachshund. Schools – University of Western Ontario, Arizona State University, American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). My current start-up is called Stocktwits and I am a co-founder and CEO. I also manage a hedge fund and have done so since June of 1998. I make early stage investments though Social Leverage. In the Summer of 2006, I created Wallstrip and with the help of Adam Elend, Jeff Marks, Lindsay Campbell and a hard working crew we created over 300 shows. In May 2007, Wallstrip was purchased by CBS. I am a partner in two other funds called Knight’s Bridge Capital Partners . I moved out west to play golf, but now rarely do. My hobbies include driving my kid’s to activities and staying awake. I am in pursuit of the perfect sleep solution. Endless bad ideas – trust me!

The Next 10 Years…

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by serial entrepreneur and investor Howard Lindzon of StockTwits andSocialLeverage. He was born and raised in Toronto and has a soft spot for his hometown and Canadian entrepreneurs.  You can find this post on Howard’s blog and to stay up to date you can follow him on Twitter @howardlindzon or StockTwits @howardlindzon.

Nobody knows!

Nobody knows what the next 10 minutes will be like, let alone the next 10 years.

It used to be no one cared what the next 10 minutes were going to be like. Twitter has changed that for good at this point.

What we can do is look back for patterns and try to project them into the future or as we do in the stock market all day, spot patterns that are upon us or emerging.

It’s a fantastic business to be in.

William Quigley has a really good post up hypothesizing on the next 10 years in web, tech and VC land. Here is some meat:

Let’s also keep in mind that public companies are generally a lot less risky than private ones. Less work and lower risk. That is how it used to be for public shareholders, but that era has ended for good. Let me give you some perspective on how much things have changed since the last tech cycle., the world’s largest Internet retailer, went public at a $440 million valuation. Hard to believe, isn’t it? A company worth $90 billion today was worth just over $400 million when it went public in 1997. That skimpy valuation represented less than one times its forward 12 months of revenues, a multiple more closely associated with a corrugated cardboard manufacturer than the most important innovator in retailing in the past 100 years.

eBay went public at a $650 million valuation, representing less than three times its forward revenues. Amazingly, this valuation was considered adequate even though at the time of its IPO, eBay had already established itself as the pre-eminent auction site on the web. Go back to the earlier part of the 1990s, and it gets even more extreme. Cisco, the most important company in computer networking infrastructure, went public at $225 million, a valuation representing just over one time its annual revenues.

William is talking my book so I totally agree but I always have one foot out the door. I have been called to task often over my years managing money for being too risk averse.

I consider myself ‘liquidity averse‘. I don’t mind paying up for the highest momentum public companies for the liquidity they provide and I won’t pay up for start-ups for the liquidity denied. I assume liquidity is a miracle and need to maximize my upside for that risk. STARTUPS ARE HARD! No matter what happens the next 10 years, you need to read this post and remember the miracle of effort needed to make a start-up succeed.

Not many people I have run across in my 13 years of managing money deploy my strategy or thinking and that emboldens me. I believe the two ends of the investing spectrum are very connected and I am fascinated by the ‘tells’ I see by watching the all-time high list and Angel List.

While I am not sure of the next 10 minutes, let alone the next 10 years, I am confident in my work that thousands of web entrepreneurs will take notice and follow my strategy in the years ahead.

Does your startup need to be massive?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by serial entrepreneur and investor Howard Lindzon of StockTwits and SocialLeverage. He was born and raised in Toronto and has a soft spot for his hometown and Canadian entrepreneurs.  Follow him on Twitter @howardlindzon or StockTwits @howardlindzon.

Photo by Paul (dexx)
Creative Commons License - By 2.0 Some rights reserved Photo by Paul (dex)

In 2008, I was using every speaking chance I was offered to preach that there was never a better time to start a web business. I also put my money where my mouth was and invested in more companies than I could afford and started Stocktwits.

Let’s assume you followed the advice and failed. Most startups do. You were Lindzon’d. Sorry.

Good news…you learned a lot and the funding market, never easy, is more open than ever.

Better yet, the mentoring system and pool of talented angel investors looking to reinvest has never been wider and deeper.

Techmeme, Hacker News, Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, LInked In, Twitter, Facebook and of course Stocktwits ….all better than ever for connecting, getting smarter about starting businesses and finding the right trends to ride. Y combinator may be too crowded, but Tech Stars, Founder Labs and Startup Weekends are open.

It is a little intimidating right now to take the first steps because of the bubble talk, startup revolution, competition and massive reach of the last group of leaders. There is not one Tiger Woods of startups, there are 5 you will ultimately stress yourself out comparing yourself too…Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Zynga and Groupon.

Don’t get caught up in the ‘I need to be Massive’ talk. It’s a trap. Take the ‘Massive’ lessons of geniuses like Reid Hoffman from this great post and than get to work on getting massive one step at a time.

The game of Risk and world domination is won from the corners of the world unless you can roll non stop 6?s. Don’t bet on that stuff and don’t pitch your investors on stuff they won’t believe.

Editors Note: This post was originally published on on March 23, 2011 @copy;2011 Howard Lindzon. Republished with permission.