Howard Lindzon is the founder of the innovative financial social network StockTwits. He also created the pioneering daily web video series Wallstrip, which gave viewers an irreverent take on stocks and trends. On top of that, he is also an angel investor, hedge fund manager and a popular personality on Twitter, where over 250,000 people follow him for his well-informed and often amusing insights on the markets.
Howard is Adam Sachs’ guest for his first episode hosting The Wolf Den podcast. After a successful run with Wallstrip he sold the show to CBS Interactive in 2007. Howard tells Adam that one of the biggest lessons from that experience is that, “what moves the needle with a true brand is the quality and who is watching,” not necessarily just total views or subscribers. He explains that, “it wasn’t so much that we were getting a million views. We never–I don’t think–got a hundred thousand views on a show. But every media elite was watching it, so we had a great attention.”
Howard notes that the shows, “were also very focused. We had a message, we were consistent, and the idea in itself was good enough.”
He relates that experience to what he does now, working in social media around finance. “I can’t be a jack of all trades, but I can be a jack of all trades as it relates to my vertical or my passion,” he says.
“We try and just focus on what we think we have an edge in. And the longer we do finance and the longer we keep our network fresh and growing–until I feel I lose that edge–I’m going to keep doing it. And then the audience grows, right? You build trust, everybody knows what your focus is, and it just kind of feeds on itself.”
While it seems like some people find success overnight, Howard has his doubts. For an entrepreneur, he says the key question is, “do they like this idea and this industry long enough to do this 7 years?”
Ultimately, “it’s all about just getting punched in the face, and who’s going to show up the next day.”
Listen to the whole episode to learn more of Howard’s thoughts on podcasting, being a CEO, and the differences between a bootstrapped and a venture funded company.