December 12, 2011

Julian Hebron & The Basis Point Join StockTwits

December 12, 2011

Julian Hebron & The Basis Point Join StockTwits

Today my site The Basis Point is joining the StockTwits blog network. StockTwits is a Twitter for markets where you follow people and securities. They’ve also got a formidable list of market commentary and analysis blogs, and I’m the latest addition to that group, covering mortgage and housing.

Founded by Howard Lindzon in 2008, StockTwits has more than 150,000 regularly posting members. They’re currently adding about 15,000 new users per month, and their content distribution network includes CNN Money, Reuters, Yahoo Finance, The Street, Bing Finance, The Globe and Mail.

Needless to say I’m excited. A bit nervous too. But as StockTwits executive editor Phil Pearlman said to me this morning: “just do your thing.”

And he doesn’t say this lightly. I’ve been working on this for more than a year, first to get to know the players, then to be vetted by Phil and his team.

In some forthcoming posts, I’ll highlight which players drew me in and why, but for now, I wanted to provide a brief history of The Basis Point.

When mortgage markets tanked in August 2007, I started expanding a weekly two-paragraph email so I could explain the chaos. I’d been doing this weekly email since 2003, the year I transitioned from the money management industry to the mortgage industry.

Those emails started getting picked up by some housing blogs, and I started to get lots of subscriber inquiries from real estate and mortgage pros as well as inquiries from consumers.

That’s when I decided to launch a blog.

With the help of two longtime writing partners and my wife, I came up with the name and bought TheBasisPoint domain November 25, 2007. I hired a developer from a Craigslist ad I posted in December and I shifted from weekly to daily writing effective January 1, 2008.

But it was all behind a password.

The mortgage and broader crisis was deepening, and no financial firm of any size was safe. I wanted to stay with my company but I was also out exploring all options, including the big banks.

As I learned very quickly while interviewing, big banks don’t allow blogs. And I’d already been writing for my company for years and had consent to write publicly.

So eventually my commitment to my content and my new brand, The Basis Point, kept me at my firm through the economy’s darkest hours.

But I still didn’t feel right pushing my content agenda with management while they were slogging through the crisis, so I kept my daily posts behind a password until January 2010 when I made it public.

And even then, I didn’t use my own name. Finreg was bearing down on our industry, and I still wasn’t sure of the fate of public market commentary. It was only around mid-2011 that I started using my own voice on the site, on Twitter and everywhere else.

So this brings me to today, my first day on the StockTwits network.

If the StockTwits blogs have a singular theme, it’s honesty. All practicing market pros on the StockTwits blog network tell things like they are, so readers are always clear on the writers’ motivations. This is absolutely critical in financial media. It’s what has made the content so compelling to me, and what inspires me as I join their blog network.

More to come on the other StockTwits bloggers who have most inspired me, but for now, I want to say thanks to all of my loyal email newsletter readers over the years (which is called WeeklyBasis), to all of The Basis Point’s early followers, and to Phil and his crew for bringing me on board.

It’s a big day indeed. After all these years, I’m just getting started, and TheBasisPoint will be here daily to help consumers understand mortgage and housing markets.