On Jumping Sharks With Barry Ritholtz

Tyler Durden's picture

Barry Ritholtz is once again in Zero Hedge-marketing mode, which is probably not too surprising: this marks only the second time in under a week in which Mr. Ritholtz has exhibited a fascination with Zero Hedge, previously demonstrating a borderline obsession by actually scouring through tweet mentions of our humble blog. And humble we are - we have paid Barry exactly zero for this ongoing free advertising fest. That said, we are confident Barry will be happy with us reposting his entire post for our readers because he does bring up some valid questions, to which we provide our own brief perspective.

To wit (and we do wonder just which blogger types out there actually relish their anonymity for the sake of retaining their jobs):

I was speaking with a few other trader/blogger types (they best remain nameless so as to keep their jobs) and this interesting observation was made: It has been exactly one year ago today when a (mostly) fawning NY Magazine article on Zero Hedge came out: The Dow Zero Insurgency.

Since that article, argued one of the hedgies in the group, Zero Hedge has seen their influence wax, then wane. The incisive, no hold bars critiques of Goldman Sachs, HFT, regulatory failures and corporate excess seems to have gotten lost in a sea of conspiracy theories, standard gold bug rhetoric, and lots of C grade commentary.

What made the blog great — a singular expert voice (with a few supporting characters) that wrote with passion and insiders knowledge. But that voice seems to have gotten lost in a sea of supporting characters; the original proportions have been inverted.

Its not that the good stuff isn’t there — it is, if you hunt for it. Its just that it is now surrounded by so much other stuff it becomes challenging to locate. (It doesn’t help that lots of writers seem to publish under the name Tyler Durden)  This seems to be the same challenge that many of the multi-author sites have — from Street.com to HuffPo to Seeking Alpha to Minyanville to Business Insider — they must wrestle with this issue on a daily basis. Can you produce more content but still maintain the level of intensity and passion when its a team, and not a single voice?

Whenever a narrow focus and intensity is replaced with an broader emphasis on well, nearly everything, must something get lost in the expansion? I still read ZH — but much less than I used to, now that the inmates have taken over the asylum.

Crowd Query
A what point does a blog jump the shark? Not just Zero Hedge, but The
Big Picture, or boingboing or your favorite blog ___ here?

We forgot to mention that the whole post was prefaced by a very informative quote by Paul Krugman: "Whom the Gods would destroy, they first put on the cover of Business Week." Yes, the same Krugman as seen below:

(at least Newsweek has been destroyed so far)

So, a few quick observations:

First, we would like to make a slight correction to Barry's second paragraph: you see, where the author of Bailout Nation (Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #221,485 in Books, full link for those who wish to purchase it - see we return free marketing favors) is wrong is that our critiques of "Goldman Sachs, HFT, regulatory failure" (oh and he forgot to mention prop trading, most definitely prop trading) were in fact considered "conspiracy theories" by pretty much everyone, including said author himself, until such time as they were proven to be in fact, well, fact.

Second.... well, here we were going to say something smart and worthy of at least a grade B in commentary, and provide a witty yet insightful observation of Barry's own travails as a "Wall Streeter who blogs", but you see the inmates took over, and are covering just about everything else, which just so happens to be, is far more important. Furthermore, we are confident that Barry will do a great job of providing first hand commentary vis-a-vis the aforementioned, on one of his daily appearances of CNBC's crack trading show, Fast Money, where he has recently become a staple, and which features such other prominent hedge funders (or is that fund of funders, we don't know: we just comment on Wall Street)-cum-Oscar-worthy Wall Street 2 stars, as SkyBridge Capital's (and Obama basketball nemesis) Anthony Scaramucci.

Oh, and third, and last, we would like to add one thing. A blog, we are often reminded, just like a waxing or waning company (even one trading at 100x forward multiples), is only as good as the quality of its products, or, as the case may be, content. In a world in which the next best blog is just a mouseclick away, quality of content tends to be a critical driver of that one most important thing: reader interest (especially of the sophisticated variety, because when it comes to discussing such issues as CDS, HFT, commodity contangos, VWAP, and so forth, especially in less than a 100 page slideshow format, we are confident that Barry would agree readers should at least pretend to be sophisticated) is just about the purest indication of not only whether the blog is right or wrong, waxing or waning, but also provides the best answer to Mr. Ritholtz on his rhetorical question of shark jumping.

So here is our humble 2 cent contribution to Barry's question.


and this...

So as we muse what other C grade stuff to discuss next, here is our own crowd query:

How the hell are Tech Crunch and Mashable considered business blogs?

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AccreditedEYE's picture

I repeat:

F*ck Ritholz. His investment advice has the shelf life of seconds. He is a former member of a ragged house, long bereft of lordship.

FischerBlack's picture



So who's the King, and when is he returning? (And does Blankfein have the Ring yet?)

AccreditedEYE's picture

+1 LOL! I think we'll have the answers to your questions soon enough... (I found it to be an excellent quote to sum up the house of Lehman)

hedgeless_horseman's picture

...or is that fund of funders...

From the original fund of funders, "Jail wasn't really as bad as most people thought," says Bernie Cornfeld with a sanguine shrug. "Everyone was very nice."

"Do you sincerely want to be rich?"


Thomas's picture

The comment section is filled with Deep Thoughts by a gaggle of sociopaths; it's what makes it so great.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

A gaggle of sociopathiic wild geese, having flown the market, hoping to return again some day? 


lewy14's picture

I resemble that remark. <rimshot/>


Ben Graham Redux's picture

I used to visit Barry daily.  I haven't visited in at least six months. 

MountainMan's picture

So true, he was my daily staple...now I pop by once or twice a week to catch up with BR.

mikla's picture

Ditto.  I don't read Ritholtz anymore.  I'm looking for content.

Curiously, this graph *does* actually approximate my interest between the two blogs (except for an increasingly exponential delta).

As Seen On TV's picture

Hey, it's above the 150 MA, so... BUY BUY BUY!

scatterbrains's picture

now if that chart were an ink plot test what does it say about my personality characteristics and emotional functioning if I said with all seriousness that it kinda looks like some blue monster giving the weaker red guy the high hard one.. and the red guy even looks like he's kinda enjoying it eww.

mikla's picture

"Hey ... whatchoo lookin' at?"

Pondmaster's picture

Barry , many years ago (5-6) was excellent cutting edge market sense . Today .. well you can't post without a Wordpress password. Barry would regularly answer personal emails then as well. I thought he was very good . Today , he has gone commercial , his book , whatever it was ,led to his downfall . Greed and the desire for fame ( which could be apotential downfall for any of us)  has led to his fall imho. I follow him not. However in defense of one of his points. There seems to be a drop in quality on ZH from its humble beginnings . To many garbage articles , too much conspiricy crap , too much fear  mongering . Becoming like the talk shows that tout gold at the end and at every break . The ones that Congress is after . The BP spill coverage was also way off base ( G.W. and friends ). There is still myriad of cutting edge articles to be written . Please leave the nut stuff out . And , uh , I didn'y know anyone could post under the pen name Tyler Dryden ?

-1Delta's picture

CR is good.  Barry is well... um ...useless for someone active in the market

IdiotInvestor2's picture

I don't visit both Barry and Mish that regularly now. Maybe once/twice a week, and I used to read both every day. Especially during the housing boom and subsequent bust, they were the voice of reason. Mish has become too political for my taste (still like him). Barry's blog is simply no longer useful to understand why the stock market is behaving in sucha fashion.


Maybe there is some jealousy. ZH has done a phenomenal job of exposing so much of the shenanigans that go on in stock mrket these days - and have to mention this - with a great sense of humor. So conspiracy theory or not, it's FUN to read this site.

Also Calculated Risk does a very balanced, data driven commentary. I visit that blog everyday to see what new chart has been posted.

svendthrift's picture

He wrote an excellent piece on the corporate control of our republic. He referenced the irrelevance of the R vs D/ Con vs Lib framework. It was an excellent contribution.


I do not understand these little blog wars. I notice they tend to involve a certain demograhpic.

low_frequency_trader's picture

Ditto BGR, except I never quite got to daily. Nothing to see there beyond Barry's outsized ego.

berlinjames02's picture

This article is an example of why ZH is the best blog on the internet. It doesn't apologize.

As I read BR's article and Tyler's response, it reminded me of a fat kid and a cool, edgy kid on the playground. The fat kid goes over to the cool kid and acts as pleasant as possible to receive acceptance and approval. The cool kid tries to provide the fat kid advice and says, 'Hey numb-nuts, you don't become a bad ass acting pleasant. So fuck off." The fat kid walks away and takes it as an affront to his personality without learning the lesson in the interaction.

Don't be bitter about the response, Barry. Learn the lesson.

doolittlegeorge's picture

been told to visit but never been.  he's for real.  i hate 'im.

Bananamerican's picture

"6. Recession Porn “confusing: The flip side of the bullish trader sentiment is the obsession with every negative datapoint. From Roubini to Zero Hedge, people seem to be hunting down anything foreboding. (How funny is this tweetzerohedge once again pissed that asteroid avoided colliding with earth)"

and this....from Sept 20th...

"No, we are not still in a recession as some people have asserted. No,its not a depression. The wheel has turned, the trough is more than a year behind us. This is not a robust recovery, but the economy is now expanding, not contracting."

Hephasteus's picture

The data point manipulation of the economy is now out expanding the contracting economy.

blunderdog's picture

I, for one, am very inspired to learn that this Barry Ritzhole person is still publishing his blog with the same level of passion and intensity that failed to attract my attention for even the briefest moment. 

Maybe he can work his way up to a gig at Gawker or something with that kind of incisive media commentary.  I hear there's not much money in solo blogging.

carbonmutant's picture

At least he's still in the top 10... right Barry?

Conrad Murray's picture

I came to ZH through SA when I knew fuck all about finance and economics, but was hungry to learn.  The razor sharp wit and (way over my head) detailed analysis intrigued me.  I enjoy anyone who tackles serious issues and can have a sense of humor doing it.  It's been probably close to two years now, and I know more about how not just the business world operates, but the world in general, thanks to TD(s) and the rest who make it happen.  I enjoy GWs political pieces, Banzai's Desktop recreations, and even MHFTs nonsense on occasion.  So what if it's not granular dissection to the point of inducing migraines.  As for the commentary (I assume he means the comment streams), this is easily the best place around.


sushi's picture

Have to agree that this is the best site around.

With the help of TD and ZH I have mastered pretending to be sophisticated. I'm working hard now on pretending to be genuine.

jimijon's picture

Love Reggie... though he is a bit myopic when it comes to google vs apple.

SamuelMaverick's picture

Reggie is awesome.  He jumped the shark on his Rimm vs Apple vs Google thing though.  He got caught up in the Application stream of thought and was screaming at the top of his lungs " Rimm is dead ! "  Well, Rimm is coming out with the Blackpad that doesnt need apps to run webpages. In other words , apps are freaking irrelevant as of a few months from now. Reggies analysis was 100% spot on with one exception, he underestimated a company with good people who can react and change and grow.

Maos Dog's picture

but rimm screwed it up. The blackpad only works with the blackberry as the internet connection, so, they greatly limited their market for it. 

Think about it this way, if you have an andriod or an iphone, are you going to buy a blackberry to use the new rimm blackpad?

This is a WTF were they thinking moment.

doolittlegeorge's picture

exactly. i came here because of the impact on SA.  no doubt "something evil lurked here."  i can't help it.

done with them all's picture

Well said Conrad Murray, those are my feelings as well. ZH is a great site for learning

SDRII's picture

What a complete dilettante. It is a toss up which is more shallow his financial "accolades" or his "media" insights.

Mactheknife's picture

"conspiracy theories, standard gold bug rhetoric, and lots of C grade commentary."

Free advertising or not, it would seem that Barry boy wants to join "Fight Club". We assume he is aware of the initiation.

Monkey Craig's picture

Barry Soetoro and Ritholtz check ZH regularly. The gold literature and punditry from Wayne Madsen are what makes this blog great.  Keep up the good work Tyler. Get the word out before these globalists take down our web.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Barry Soetoro of the Profit to Earnings ratio fame?


Harvard, bitches!!!!

doolittlegeorge's picture

billionaires check this site regularly.  believe me.  especially when "the girls are in town."

israhole's picture

Excellent!  I shot my tv full of buckshot about 18 months ago, so wasn't aware that propaganda man Ritholtz was now on CNBC daily, but I'm not surprised.  Last I knew, his blog had "articles" about him visiting the Hamptons, or which music was his favorite. LOL!

The Alexa chart says it all.  Too bad CNBC couldn't be plotted, or maybe it's covered by the x-axis? 

fiddler_on_the_roof's picture

I like Barry, but I will say one thing, he totally blew his 30% Gold drop from 1250. He was predicting(with big "if/buts") sub-1000 around Spring 2010. He then totally ignored his call then. Gold sellers who took his advice were screwed, atleast so far.

Monkey Craig's picture

+1911. All Ritholtz did was write a book about the financial crisis. Now he has an opinion on anything to do with the financial markets.

Ritholtz - go back to 'advising' clients and speaking on CSPAN. The blogs are for the real ballers like Turd Ferguson and Banzai.

doolittlegeorge's picture

yeah, yeah.  "wrote a book."  what a maroon.

wngoju's picture

yeah yeah, Ritholtz sucks.  holy cow zh, you are, like, so cool.  lookat all them hits!

I would like to see the correlation btw Sarah P's blog and this one.

well, back to Ritholtz...

GoinFawr's picture

and wngoju provides us with some of that 'C' grade commentary Rith was complaining about about... good riddance; don't let the keyboard break your teeth on the way out.


truont's picture

Here's some Grade B, C, F & H commentary:

Barry Can &%$# Himself.

contrabandista13's picture

I still look at the BP daily or almost daily....  Not for content anymore just out of habit and affection....  Having said that, as you are probably aware, I scan ZH at least 10 to 20 times per day, comment at least 2 times, when I'm not in a hurry and I can figure out the math problem and that's only when I haven't smoked some primo ganja, some times it takes 3 ot 4 tries....  Anyway, I wouldn't worry about "jumping the shark", that's what trading is all about...






PS... The answer you entered for the CAPTCHA was not correct.

RobotTrader's picture

Man, lots of angry guys hanging around these days.

Who has made the most bad calls?


Or many of you guys who have been short the market last few weeks?