Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management and ubiquitous financial media personality, just went to San Francisco.
Josh has a great eye for biting (and also serious) commentary, and so when he goes to San Francisco and writes 10 things that stand out, you should read them.
The item, though, that sticks out to me is No. 6, which illustrates that when you hang out in San Francisco, you’re likely to hear the exact conversation everyone who thinks about “what do they talk about in San Francisco” imagines those people have.
Said another way: in New York, you imagine everyone talks about Wall Street; in Los Angeles, movies; in Houston, oil; in San Francisco, tech and how rich it’s making everybody.
6. At the bars and clubs, everyone openly talks about money. Some of the words and phrases I heard over and over again in all different locales were “vesting schedule,” “stock options,” “stock units,” “restricted shares,” “burn rate” and “we’re raising a new round.” These items are discussed freely, out in the open — among friends and strangers alike — and are often the icebreaker comments to strike up a conversation. It’s not at all an exaggeration to say that people have caught a sort of finance fever — and it’s highly contagious. The tone is not exactly boastful, it’s more of a social signalling thing, as if to say “Hey, I’m in the game too, just like you.”
I won’t worry about the signalling thing (Noah Smith a few weeks ago addressed the “signalling” epidemic over at Bloomberg View, and like whatever), but Josh’s point here, again, is that when I imagine what happens in San Francisco, I imagine that it is some version of this.
Of course, Josh and myself are both New York-based, maybe we’d both go to SF and be listening for these conversations, and so sort of confirm our priors by overhearing them. The bulk of conversation might actually be about, I don’t know, the drought in California, or about how I’m not sure if I should call him back or not.
You know, normal things, or whatever.
But for people who like to look around the landscape and take these kinds of anecdotal observations as the places where you really glean information about the state of the market, Josh’s trip to San Francisco gives the believers and the haters just about everything they need.
Everyone in San Francisco is talking about tech funding, which means things are going great, or things are about to come crashing down.