A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of running into Jon Najarian, his beautiful wife Bridget, and their daughter on the north side of Chicago at one of the local art fairs. Jon is a very good guy, who always impressed me as a person of high character, and integrity, as is his wfe Bridget, who is a local judge here in the City of Chicago.
Jon, Bridget and I had dinner in Vail, Colorado together when both Jon and I were on different panels at the Minyanville Investors Conference, hosted by Todd Harrison and the staff of Minyanville.com, back in 2005, 2006 (?).
After departing it got me thinking about how I was lucky enough to meet Jon, and get to know Todd Harrison, not to mention countless others that have been a big help to me or assisted me (or whom I could assist) over the years, and the genesis for most if not all of these relationships was Jim Cramer and the www.street.com (TSC). We were early readers of Jim and TSC, in the late 1990’s, and Jim has always impressed me with his ability to create something from nothing. Jim was early to recognize the power of the internet and the blog, and got a jump on a lot of today’s online investing websites, by starting www.thestreet.com in the late 1990’s. Jim also created “Mad Money”, which (from reading between the lines, and noting how many TSC’ er’s are now on CNBC) packs a lot of power at CNBC, in what seems to be a very popular show.
After shooting Jim an email in 2000, we began writing for www.thestreet.com (and for that I am forever grateful to JJC, and the editorial staff), since I was fortunate to get to know and meet, and become friends with folks like:
Todd Harrison: Jim’s former partner at Cramer, Berkowitz, Todd invited me to write for Minyanville in the mid 2000’s after leaving TSC, and also invited me to sit on the “fundamentals” panel at the above-mentioned Minyanville conference, with Vitaliy Katsenelson, and Fil Zucchi, a gesture for which we are eternally grateful to Todd. Vitaliy has been a friend since, as has Jon Najarian, and it is always a great compliment when anyone asks you to speak at a conference, on investing-related matters. Vitaliy has written two books, and has spoken around the world at many conferences. Vitaliy started a ValueX conference in Vail, Colorado which he holds every summer, and which Jim Chanos, one of the most highly-regarded short sellers of our generation, attends. (Although we didnt get a chance to talk, Barry Ritholz was at the Minyanville Conference as was Jeff Saut, both frequent guests on CNBC.)
Scott Rothbort and Cody Willard: After getting ejected from www.thestreet.com with finality, in August, 2011, Scott and Cody asked me to come write for www.WallStreetAllStars.com, which we did until the spring of 2012, until we decided to start blogging on our own. Cody has a regular column on Marketwatch, while Scott is one of the headlines on WSAS every day. Both have been friends since our TSC days, and both are worth reading daily.
Herb Greenberg – high quality individual that is on CNBC daily now thanks to Jim. Herb was a great presence on the short-side at www.thestreet.com in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, being early on Tyco (and the Koz) not to mention many others. At TheStreet’s hedge Fund conference in Miami in 2002, Herb and i talked for a while about growth stocks like Starbuck’s and Whole Foods. Herb does his homework, and most importantly admits when he had the fundamentals wrong, but that isnt often. Decent guy, very honest and forthright.
Gary Morrow – excellent technician on www.thestreet.com, and former CME floor trader in the currencies. We met at the same Miami hedge fund conference and now talk daily on instant messaging. TheStreet has a lot of good technicians – Alan Farley, Dan Fitz, and Helene Meisler – but I’ve been fortunate to learn more about technical analysis from Gary Morrow than probably any single source, ever. The CFA exams didnt spend any time teaching practitioners about technical analysis – a real failing for that series of exams in my opinion, even though I thought very highly about the Charter and the process.
Jeff Miller – now a local friend here in the suburbs of Chicago, Jeff is (I think) one of the best bloggers out there today with his “A Dash of Insight” weekly commentary. His thought process is very measured and analytical, and he delivers it in a very down-to-earth and practical fashion. It is a great blog – check out “A Dash” if you get a chance.
James Altucher – now an accomplished publisher with two fascinating books entitled “I Once Was Blind” and ‘The Luckiest Person Alive” I’ve never met James but we’ve talked a few times and emailed, (and Facebook’ed) and his story is worth reading. Basically James’s theme about life after his many ups and downs, is “dont sweat the small stuff, and it is all small stuff”, and it is a great perspective.
There have been countless others that have come and gone through the years, like Norm Conley, Jeff Bagley, Hewitt Heiserman, and many other friends / acquaintances, or staff like David Morrow (RIP), George Moriarity, Angela Ottomanelli-Hobbes, Gretchen Lambach, and other editors whose names I have forgotten (unfortunately).
We were fortunate to write for Jim Cramer at TSC for almost 12 years, (with some time off in between) and are very grateful to him for the opportunity, and have had other opportunities elsewhere as a result of friendships / contacts made at TSC. Frankly I was always amazed Jim didnt fire me sooner given that we were growth stock investors in a market where growth stocks were just taken to the cleaners in the early 2000’s. (I thought that was a tough bear market to live through then – I had no idea.) Today, we like growth stocks, but like value too, and our one discipline is to not get too fixated on one methodology (or asset class) while forsaking others.
On July 4th, 2012, our country’s 236th birthday, I just thought it was time to say “thanks”.