The Bill Simmons of Finance?

A quick blast of solipsism from your weary host Josh.  If you don’t like me / are sick of me lately I completely understand, you can skip the below in that case 🙂

I spoke with a lot of folks this week about why I began the blog and whether or not my intentions have evolved since the beginning.  This led to some great conversations and gave me a chance to look inward a bit and think about my goals for TRB.

Originally, I thought I wanted to be the Howard Stern of Finance when I started blogging, it was November of 2008 and the world was falling down around me.  It seemed like we maybe had a couple months left before we were living in “Mad Max times”.  But in the context of talking about real money, that turned out to be a bit too nihilistic and callous, not to mention counter-productive for my asset management practice.  Then I thought I’d like to be the Jon Stewart of Finance.  But so does everybody, and every once in a while Jon Stewart becomes the Jon Stewart of Finance – when demolishing banks is the topical flavor of the week.

But I’ve just been set straight.  I now know who I want to be when I grow up on the web/in the media.  I want to be the Bill Simmons of Finance.

I just caught this link to a New York Times Bill Simmons profile from Abnormal Returns this morning…

For Simmons, this distinction — between fan and columnist — doesn’t really exist. Unlike many sportswriters, for whom detachment is a point of professional pride, Simmons makes no pretense of neutrality. This is at least one explanation for his extraordinary popularity. According to ComScore, Simmons’s “Sports Guy” Web column, which he publishes every 10 days or so, attracted 740,000 unique visitors in April, making him probably the most widely read sportswriter in America today….

Later this month, Simmons will take another step in the ongoing expansion of his empire, starting his own Web site, in conjunction with ESPN, called Grantland. Simmons says Grantland will be to ESPN what Miramax was to Disney, a boutique division with more room for creativity. Another metaphor might be Martha Stewart Living, a magazine similarly constructed around a single person’s market-tested sensibility. Much has been made of some of the well-known, literary writers Simmons has already attracted to Grantland, but as a business proposition, the site is basically an attempt to leverage Simmons’s take on sports and, really, life into something much bigger than himself.

Simmons has been at it for awhile, he started writing about sports on the web in the days of AOL, before there were any bloggers (or even blogs) or Twitter.  I don’t believe that anyone in our vertical has done what he’s done – yet.

I’m really glad I caught this article, I now know exactly what I want.

OK, last post about me for awhile, I promise.

Can Bill Simmons Win the Big One?  (NYT)

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