It’s rare that you hear someone joyously declare themselves “the dumbest person in the room,” but my latest podcast guest did exactly that in describing how his work puts him before fascinating innovators, experts and changemakers across a wide variety of disciplines. Last week on Metaverse, I was joined by Simon Erickson, founder and CEO of 7Investing, who is often described by colleagues as a “rockstar analyst with a dash of Texas charm.”
During a highly successful career as an advisor and investor, Simon rose to become lead analyst for The Motley Fool, an investment guidance company with headquarters in six countries. After leaving in 2020, he then founded 7Investing, a start-up which offers customers seven investing tips and ideas each month, provided by their seven lead advisors.
Interestingly, Simon started his career as a chemical engineer, but quickly moved over to the “dark” (or commercial) side of technical sales. Simon enjoyed learning the new trends, “seeing which way the wind was blowing” and what were the new innovations companies were hoping to develop, whether organic agriculture, deep sea drilling, or personal care products. Seeing how innovation was driven by competition, Simon was inspired to pursue his MBA in entrepreneurship at Rice University to further pursue this interest. His career has focused on creative innovations in business ever since.
We discussed Simon’s seven year stint at the Motley Fool, during which his appreciation for innovation in business was deeply nurtured. He first started as an analyst on their Rule Breakers publication, which instead of paying attention to traditional metrics like quarterly earnings, highlighted companies who were breaking new ground and leading the charge in their fields. Taking innovation as an indicator of investment to the next level, Simon ran the Motley Fool Explorer service, where every month they would look at a new innovative trend in the market, choosing stock recommendations accordingly. To do this work, he got deeply involved in research that went far past a cursory Googling, attending industry conferences, chatting with PhDs and commercial leaders to get a feel for who’s “pushing the envelope at the front of the wave.”
Gaining familiarity with this kind of cutting-edge thinking strongly inspired Simon, shaping his investment style, which endures today in his company, 7Investing. Here, he’s continued his love of deeply researching new trends, but uses it to present “a buffet of options for individual investors to choose from,” putting the power over their portfolios in their hands. 7Investing came out of Simon’s dismay at most people’s lack of education or general fear of investing– the belief that the stock market is inevitably “rigged” or “too hard” for normal people to understand. To get a wider audience access to the finance world, Simon put together experts to support and educate their clients, empowering them to make their own investment choices.
Since Simon could talk about disruptive innovations all day, we had to discuss a few of the biggest trends he’s presently excited about. We touched on the embrace of cryptocurrency, which he sees as fascinating– and he’s recently invested in an Ethereum mining co-op. Whilst many are still anxious about the fact that there’s no recourse if a hacker manages to steal all your cryptocurrency, on the whole, Simon sees a huge potential for crypto’s growth to continue, and that it’s still very much on an upward trajectory. In the healthcare space, Simon’s seeing huge advances in science and technology used for treatment, like gene editing via CRISPR and DNA sequencing, which could be used to optimise patient’s treatments. Simon also predicts a huge shift in advertising, which is moving from the old model of guessing a generalised audience with broadcast television. With streaming, advertising can be very specifically tailored “per viewer”, so we will likely see an evolution in how advertising is distributed, sold, and priced.
But what Simon is most excited to see develop is quantum computing, which has enormous potential to impact every facet of life. Essentially, we just need to sort out both the hardware of building the machines and the UI, so that it can be understood by the laymen who use it, as well as engineers. Today, we have far more data than our human limitations are capable of handling, but if we sort out the right technology, we could enter problems that would take us thousands of years to figure out as people into a quantum computer, which could sort through it in a matter of days. It’s a thrilling prospect, to be sure.
Simon shared my optimistic view of how technology can be a driver for progress and good in our future, and it was exciting to hear how he is working to bring the edification he’s received through years of exposure to experts and innovators to a wider audience. To hear more of his investing tips for first timers, his take on meme stocks like GameStop and what the metaverse will mean for investing, you can listen to our full conversation here.