Twitter (TWTR) is the greatest tool on earth for a widely followed person to disseminate information and create relationships with a mass audience. It’s interactive, open, and allows personal interaction in a way that’s not physically threatening to either party.
Of course being threatened in a bodily way isn’t the same as not being assaulted. Among the financial Twitter crowd very few people have started more fights or taken more shots than Keith McCullough. The head of Hedgeye Risk Management offers a constant stream of chatter and “Timestamped” investment ideas.
There’s a vocal group of critics who claim McCullough’s ideas have been net losers for investors and that he inflates the results. For his part McCullough says he’s fully accountable, a point his voluminous flow of Tweets supports. His critics dispute his numbers and, more to the point freely attack him on a personal basis.
Of the critics McCullough says they’re little more than a bunch of losers with “Twitter muscles” hiding behind aliases. “You have a Twitter handle and you start going after me, making stuff up about returns. Some 34 year old guy in a basement who’s never worked in our business at all, let alone at a high level, has open session against me and I kind of like it.”
In the attached video McCullough says he’s offering timing signals, not trades to be replicated. He argues that makes him no different than half a dozen other services such as those offered by Tom DeMark or the people at Elliott Wave. “The last thing you do with something like that is name an aggregate portfolio return because it’s not a portfolio, let alone does it having any sizing or weight,” McCullough says.
It’s an argument that all but begs for another Twitter assault. At some point even someone who says he kind of likes a good fight has to get just a little tired of going to war with hundreds of anonymous critics. Then again, McCullough suggests it doesn’t hurt business to create buzz.
Since 90% of his business is institutional McCullough notes that anonymous “34-year-olds in their basement” lead to grown-ups who can see every timestamped idea he’s had. “I’ve shown over 2,700 signals since 2008. If you’re a subscriber of ours you can see all our signals.”