Today's the one year anniversary of one of the more surreal moments of my life. A year ago, I was at Stocktwits and we rang the opening bell of the Nasdaq. When you ring the bell you have to clap and scream and smile and be excited for like 2 minutes straight. It's hilarious. If you ever get offered a chance to do it you should. I've been lucky enough to have done it three times at Stocktwits and each time was unique.
This time was truly unique. It was the first day the markets really started pricing in Covid. I believe the Dow opened up down 900 points. When you see people ringing the bell, you can't see us what they're looking at. From the ringers perspective, they are looking at tons of TV's that are running all the news channels and market data. Everything was red, and a deep shade of red. All over the news you see "Markets crater as Pandemic spreads", "Thousands dead in China. Dow Futures Down." with images of hospital beds and bodybags. Yet, we had to clap and yell and scream and cheer it on for 2 minutes straight. As George W. Bush once said, "That shit was weird."
Weirder still was when we were in the green room I was talking to one of our investors who was really early on predicting that Covid was going to be a problem. He did some back of the envelope math based on projections at the time and arrived at a number - 1.5million people worldwide would die. I remember first thinking, "It's overblown no way." Then I remember envisioning a world where that happened and I saw a really dark place, like 28 Days Later type visions. The markets were obviously having that thought as well.
Yet as of writing this, we are at 2.5 million people dead worldwide with an outsized share of them being in the US. The S&P 500 is up 15% in the last year. It's been a historic year for our world and yet it never really materialized to be as dark as I had envisioned. This is not to discount those who have unnecessarily lost friends, family, and loved ones. That is a tragedy and as dark as it gets. It's also not discounting the trauma we are currently going through that we don't fully yet understand, and won't for years until we look backwards. In my own personal life, I had a series of ups and downs, but I made the best of it. I moved, I've started a company and I'm doing my best, given the circumstances.
I clapped through it. As a society we all clapped through it. It hasn't been easy. We've all had to live out that two minutes for the last year, and many of us were lucky. Those of us who weren't as lucky have also been clapping through it, as fucked up as it was to make them do that.
And for that, we should all take a moment to clap to them.