The Revolution That Wasn't

How has technology impacted modern finance and created an asymmetrical relationship between Wall Street and individual investors? In this episode, we speak with Spencer Jakab, the author of The Revolution That Wasn’t and editor of the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street column.
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Podcast: The Revolution That Wasn’t

How has technology impacted modern finance and created an asymmetrical relationship between Wall Street and individual investors? In this episode, we speak with Spencer Jakab, the author of The Revolution That Wasn’t and editor of the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street column. Spencer dives into the differences between Wall Street and a casino, outlines the risks of being an active investor on Wall Street, and looks at how technology has created an environment where trading stocks is no longer expensive. He emphasizes the importance of long-term investing with tools such as index funds or compound interest to build wealth without playing ‘the game’.

Key Highlights

[00:01 – 07:00] Opening Segment

  • From Wall Street Trader to Financial Journalist: Spencer Jacob’s Journey
  • How he learned about finance and got a job in emerging markets
  • Introducing The Revolution That Wasn’t

[07:01 – 13:40] Examining the GameStop Revolution

  • How the pandemic provided Spencer an excellent opportunity to start a side project
  • The genesis of the book
  • The GameStop stock surge
  • The initial headlines about the GameStop surge

[13:41 – 20:37] Exploring the ‘Meme Stock’ Phenomenon

  • The story about meme stocks
  • Meme stocks went way beyond their fundamental value
  • Examining the meme stock squeeze
  • Short selling is a legitimate practice where people bet against stocks without owning them

[20:38 – 27:44] Wall Street: Not a Casino, But a Place to Build Wealth

  • Young Reddit traders made money, but they were net contributors to already rich people
  • Wall Street is mainly made up of intermediaries who are not taking risks with their own money
  • Wall Street is not a casino, but it can be marketed as one
  • The correlation between the level of activity and returns

[27:45 – 35:01] The Revolution That Wasn’t

  • Trading used to be expensive, but technological change has democratized finance
  • The “zero price effect.”
  • People consume more of something when it is free
  • The pandemic caused record volatility in the stock market, leading to an increase in trading activity

[35:02 – 42:16] The Missed Opportunity

  • From the bear market low to one year after, 96% of American stocks rose
  • Stocks that were popular in Robinhood did better than more established stocks
  • The credibility of older, wiser investors vs. the success of younger, social media-savvy investors
  • The gamification of investing

[42:17 – 52:20] Closing Segment

  • How to beat Wall Street and participate without playing the game
  • Technology has lowered the cost of investing, allowing for more market participants
  • Wall Street can be a place to build wealth over the decades with the right approach.

Additional Links:

Brian’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-c-adams/

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