Money:Tech 2008 — Where Web 2.0 Meets Wall Street

The inaugural Money:Tech conference is approaching fast — February 6th and 7th in New York at the Waldorf Astoria — and the final program is now (mostly) in place! The conference is, of course, all about the confluence of Wall Street and Web 2.0.

And what does that mean? Well, new ways of Web-2.0-style collaborating are changing money and investing, with the zero-sum game of Wall Street changing in the process. At the same time market mashups with new sources of web-based data — auctions! real estate! pricing! weather! — are transforming the never-ending hunt for a money-making edge.

Meanwhile, Wall Street is pushing the bleeding edge in areas like realtime, database technology, and storage, while struggling to disentangle how new technologies are creating new market risks. As fast as new technologies transforming markets, we have new problems emerging, some of which, like last August’s quant fund meltdown, that can be tracked directly to changing market technologies. Far from being separate, in other words, Wall Street and Web 2.0 are crashing together in a hurry — with both having oodles to learn from one another.

We’re going to hear from key people at the confluence of money and technology, like Jim Cramer, Larry Tabb, Rick Bookstaber, David Leinweber, Michael Stonebraker, and Steve Skiena. Unbeknownst to many, Jim "Mad Money" Cramer was the first professional blogger, and his has long pushed the edge of financial media technology. For his part, Michael Stonebraker is a database legend, having been called the "Johnny Appleseed" of financial technology, and is one of the most important figures in the world of data and realtime information. Rick Bookstaber, author of Demon of Our Design, and ex-Wall Street guy,  will sure-to-be-controversially explain why technological innovation in markets is past the point of diminishing returns.

It will be non-stop, including demos of hot technology from new and existing companies, plus data visualization, prediction markets, social investing, consumer finance, and on and on.

The first day of the conference will kick off with Tim O’Reilly and I setting the tone for the event by talking about what Wall Street and Web 2.0 can learn from one another at the innovators’ edge. After that, we go straight to a fireside chat with Jim Cramer, one of the most polarizing and interesting figures in financial media & technology. That will be followed a by a mix of keynotes, panels, and demos. Among others, there will be a fascinating panel on blogs and the future of equity research, moderated by Andy Kessler and with panelists like Henry Blodget, Nouriel Roubini, and Barry Ritholtz. It should be great.

Day two will continue the theme, with an ongoing mix of keynotes, demos and sessions. Highlights will include a panel on social money money management, consumer Web 2.0 finance tools like Wesabe, plus a great Steve Skiena talk on what market hackers can learn from his experience in hacking online Jai-Alai markets. The day wraps with a panel of leading financial venture capitalists and angel investors talking about what we can expect in the future of money & technology .

Here are some key themes:

Social money. Money used to be considered zero sum. Now it’s also about learning from your erstwhile competitors, sometimes even turning them into collaborators. Welcome to new examples in collective intelligence in markets.

Hacking Markets. Old-style financial data is like an over-exploited mine: plundered and bereft of utility. Future traders will be focused on fresh web data, from Ebay prices, to travel data, to real estate listings.

Blogs, Bloomberg, and the future of financial media. The fastest-growing and most influential business media is increasingly blogs. Could a blog network ever beat Bloomberg?

Realtime data and risk. Financial markets run on terabyte per second streams of data that must be processed in realtime. The effort is blowing up databases, changing visualization, and providing a peek into our collective future.

We can’t wait to see you there.


  1. Was it Cramer? I remember Todd Harrison doing the trading diary for tyhe early days of TSCM.
    I need to pull out the history of Fin BLogging I wrote so many years ago and review that . . .

  2. I really wish you’d separate the themes of:
    1) New ways to make the bleeding edge even sharper, and how this cuts both ways (i.e. refinements for people chasing the (in)efficiencies of the financial markets)
    2) New ways to fleece the suckers by getting them to take money out of their pocket and put in into the pockets of hypesters (i.e. blog-evangelists, touts, fast-buck scam-artists, and their ilk).
    #1 is an expensive game played among relatively few smart people.
    #2 is an impoverishing game played by some relatively few ethics-challenged people against the public in general.
    And the two don’t have a lot do with each other, even if both are greatly affected by tech.

  3. Fair comment, Seth. Mind you, I think there are blogs/services/tools on both sides of this subject, and we’ll explore the issue, with lots of able commentators….
    And Barry…. good question. It was definitely close between Jim and Todd H. Both started around similar times, but at least one history I have read puts JimC first.

  4. I remember reading Jim’s trading diary when The Street first started — don’t remember reading Todd. But then, Jim is very memorable :-)

  5. You really should reword the social money theme, I sat here pondering it for almost a minute before I realized that when you say “Money” you mean “the financial services market.” You could even rename the category “Social financial.” :) Also, while you twice state that the financial services market is considered zero-sum, it would really put the lie to the economists’ view that markets are not zero-sum if the financial professionals that profit from those markets consider it zero-sum. However, even if it’s true that wall street types view it that way, when weighing the abundant evidence that markets are not zero-sum and the conventional wisdom among mba/trader types, I’ll take the non-zero sum viewpoint.

  6. One phrase was “the zero-sum game of Wall Street”.
    Markets may be positive sum, but that’s not the same as the “game of Wall Street”, which is in fact negative-sum (aka “where are the customer’s yachts?”).

  7. IIRC, Todd started writing by subbing for Cramer. When Cramer came back the readers demanded to keep hearing from Todd…

  8. Great line up of speakers -maybe it would announce the TechTicker at the conference?? wink! wink!