The Changing Economy

I am an avid follower of Howard Lindzon, founder of StockTwits and an early stage investor on a level I just cannot comprehend. This week was the Stocktoberfest East conference in New York and, despite my usual discomfort and dislike for the city, it was well worth the trip in.

Howard talked about all sorts of trends as they related back to investing - both public and private. Robots, artificial intelligence, social and transactional themes carried over from previous years. What was a bit new, at least to me, was the deepening of the millennial theme. It seems that they like cities and prefer experiences to things. Maybe I knew the latter but the word "density" was used to describe the former. Density means that everything is right there. No waiting. No traveling.

While I knew about decentralization - blockchain and the sharing economy - they used a new term, fractionalization.

I actually have some experience with fractionalization. A company called Motif Investing presented at Stocktoberfest (West) a few years ago and they allow investors to create a portfolio of stocks using fractional shares. If you can't afford even one share of Google at $1051 (stick it Alphabet), then how about 1/15th of a share. And a quarter share of Facebook, for good measure.

It's like a personalized mini-mutual fund. And Motif is not alone. A quick check of the Google shows Stockpile, Acorn, Folio and more.

Stocks themselves are not tangible but this concept spread to the physical world. There was a vendor at the show called Rally Road that bought classic cars and sold shares to the public. It's not a timeshare where you get to use the car for one week in the year but rather you own a fraction of that car all the time.

You just can't drive it. The car stays in cold storage, nice and safe.

The point is that you can invest in this exotic asset on a retail investor level. If it goes up in price, so does your share.

It's not a brand new idea. I already mentioned timeshares and mutual funds. How about limited partnerships on oil rigs, real estate and more?

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Disclosure: No positions in anything covered.

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