Roger Nusbaum submits: I had what can only think of as a peculiar question left on the blog yesterday, that then ensued into an interesting comment exchange, that I will try to answer in this post. You can read the entire question here, but basically I am being asked if my blogging and teaching (if that is the best word?) works against my interests as a money manager. "We just think that you are inadvertently cutting off the (tree) branch of your perch," is how the question ends.
Long time reader George left a supportive comment saying this person may not get it, and I think that is probably true.
According to my Sitemeter, which is public, I average in the neighborhood of 1250 hits per day. Actually on days the market is open it is closer to 1500 and goes way down on the weekends. Add to that the number of people that read my content through various feeds and aggregators that don't even come to the site. Add to that however many people read my stuff on Seeking Alpha/Yahoo Finance. Lastly add the people that read the articles I write for RealMoney and TheStreet.com. While I don't know, it is possible I reach 5000 people a day.
I am aware of three people in Prescott that read my blog. Three. Regardless of how many people actually to read my stuff, I doubt that even 5% (I would be shocked if the number were even 1%) of people that do read me are from Arizona, where that vast majority of our clients live.
Based on these numbers I don't think cannibalizing prospective clients is really an issue to be worried about.
The comment includes something I don't quite understand about my use of the term do-it-yourselfer. I think the blogosphere caters more to people that will never hire an investment manager, not exclusively but generally. These folks, whether they should or not, will manage their own portfolios.
There are many reasons why I have the blog and why I put so much into it. First and foremost I enjoy doing it, simple as that. Another reason is I learn from readers, and I also hear about new products from readers too which helps me be better at my job. It has opened many doors to me in terms of other writing opportunities and making contact with much bigger fish that I would have never otherwise met.
Almost as important as enjoying writing the blog is that I get tremendous satisfaction helping people become more knowledgeable investors. I doubt the commenter can really grasp the extent of my sentiment here.
One last thing about this exercise was a tone that I think I picked up on in the question where I owed the commenter an answer. Answering reader questions is productive and I enjoy it, but I don't owe this person anything, let's be clear about that. Equally off-putting was that the comment in question was also left on Seeking Alpha.
For something that actually makes this post worthwhile and relevant; Alcoa (AA) reported earnings last night, and for the 175th quarter in a row (hyperbole) they missed earnings and the stock went down. In all seriousness they miss earnings a lot, I wrote two different Motley Fool articles about Alcoa earnings misses (here and here). A thing I have touched on many times is knowing what the stocks you own are capable of doing, and continual earnings misses should be included in this understanding.