Yahoo Finance’s Jared Blikre sits down with Yahoo Finance Editor-at-Large & Anchor, Brian Sozzi, as they discuss Brian’s journey in financial news.
JARED BLIKRE: Welcome back to another special episode of "Yahoo Finance Uncut." I am here with a very special guest. If you, you know, if you read the blurb or you were clicking on the Twitter link, yes, it is Yahoo Finance's own Brian Sozzi. Brian, it is great to have you here again today.
We're not going to be chatting about what's going on in the day-to-day mark-- day-to-day basis in the markets, but we kind of have to address the elephant in the room. And that is markets are in disarray right now. Violent moves to the downside, to the upside. What's in your head right now?
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, Jared, well, first, thanks for having me on your show. It's good to, you know, play pundit for once. You know, I actually came prepared with 75 stocks you need to sell immediately. No, I'm just kidding. I'm totally kidding. No, but look, this is a strange time in the markets for traders and investors. You know, I wouldn't say-- you know, you and I lived through and worked through the great financial crisis.
This is not that, but that doesn't mean it's any less painful, because now you're starting to wake up and look at the markets in the premarket, and you look at the after-hours action, down feels up and up feels down. You don't know who to trust, what to trust. What is a bear market rally? Was the-- was it the start of something more sustainable?
Dividend stocks aren't working. Beat-up tech stocks aren't catching a bid. So it's a challenging time for markets, a challenging time for investors, and really a challenging time for us here on Yahoo Finance because we're making-- you have to make sense of all these moves in real time because people come to us. They need our help. So look, we continue to learn every single day.
JARED BLIKRE: We do. And the Federal Reserve needs our help, too. I thought the--
BRIAN SOZZI: I'm here to help them.
JARED BLIKRE: I thought the FOMC announcement that we got a little bit back was very telling, how they pivoted to 75 basis points almost overnight after seeing those really big hits in CPI to the upside, and also to the downside in consumer sentiment. But I want to get into your background here. You're probably one of the hardest worker-- workers, if not the hardest-working member of the Yahoo Finance team--
BRIAN SOZZI: Don't make me cry. Please, I'm not crying on camera, man. I'm not doing it.
JARED BLIKRE: --to come at 45 minutes in. I'm going to get my Barbara Walters moment. I will. I just want to learn about your background. You come from the analyst industry. And you know, I'm a technicals guy, which is very tuned into my short-term interest in the markets. But on the long term, on the long enough scale, it's all about the fundamentals.
BRIAN SOZZI: We're kindred spirits, Jared. You know, I always joke around about Hindenburg, omen, patterns--
JARED BLIKRE: Don't even get me started.
BRIAN SOZZI: --bulging bicep indicators. I mean, it's all ridiculous, and I like to have a lot of good time with it. But you know, anytime-- I've tried to bury my analyst career. And it was awesome. You know, it was an awesome time in my life. You know, it's where I started right out of school. It gave me absolutely tremendous skills that, you know, we can go into at some point. But you know, it's-- the more I try to outrun that decade plus of my career, the more I realize that I should just be embracing it.
And I do embrace it every single day. You know, I started off, it was as an independent research analyst at Wall Street Strategies, Inc. And you know, my job was to produce coverage-- I considered myself a sell side analyst, but coverage that would ultimately get used by the big bulge bracket firms, so Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, you name it. I made the reports. Those analysts there, and those traders and investors used what I did.
So at one point, I-- maybe this isn't a surprise to you-- I covered 75 companies. I was publishing research on 75 companies. And what the hell does that mean? I mean writing reports every single day, playing around Excel with Excel models. 75 companies, ranging from, let's say, 50 retailers, such as Walmart and Target, to Electronic Arts in the video game space.
At one point, I even covered oil companies. It was just a fascinating time in my life and career. But again, being an analyst, you learn skills that you can't get anywhere else. And that has always been my secret sauce. You know, the ability to get on TV and talk about numbers in an interesting, fun way, I love it.
JARED BLIKRE: I know you do. And you bring your enthusiasm and your game, your A-game, to the stream every day. I want to ask, you were talking about some of your terms and some of the things you did as an analyst. You do a lot of street research. I mean, every Thanksgiving, you are in the stores. You are at Walmart or Target, a lot of these retailers, and you're judging things like foot traffic and, I don't know, how many shopping bags people are carrying. Tell me about some of that kind of research.
BRIAN SOZZI: You are really, really digging up my past. I'm waiting for you to, like, come out and say, hey, I remember what you ate back in college. No, but you know, that was one of the benefits. So when you would cover retail stocks, you covered Walmart. And when I was doing this, you covered American Eagle, Abercrombie. I always told my team and I always told the investors and the traders that ultimately my research went to the story is always told in the store.
You know, when I started out-- and I guess I'm dating myself, and this is weird, I'm now starting to say I'm dating myself-- but the internet was still emerging when I was starting out doing this stuff in 2004. And a lot of retailers that I covered didn't even have a website. And there were retailers that had a website, but it wasn't transactional. I believe, at one point, Movado, one of the watch companies, they didn't have a transactional website, which now, you think back and you're like--
JARED BLIKRE: Now you got NFTs. I mean--
BRIAN SOZZI: --you believe that, but still. I went-- and it was-- and it's not just me. A lot of great analysts do this, too, as well. I guess I'm calling myself great, but we went into the stores and we were tracking foot traffic in stores during the holiday shopping season. But that was really a byproduct of efforts every single day.
You know, I was in the malls obsessively on the weekend, counting clothes on racks, looking for sizes that were not sold, touching and feeling coats like my life depended on it, seeing if a retailer took out certain costs out of the product and maybe they'll meet an earnings number or margin target because they're selling cheaper crap, but that might cause consumers to leave. It was a whole web of craziness, but it was so fun.
You know, the ability to go into a retail store, and certainly, you know, you go to one retail store, and you go to another one, and then suddenly, you're starting to put together a piece to a puzzle on the economy, on a specific company, how they're doing. Then you put pen to paper, you publish a research report, and before you know it, you know, you're out in front of a potential major move in the stock price, up or down.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, it's pretty amazing. And it seems like you developed some really good habits when you were an analyst. And you're doing very different things now, but you carry the same enthusiasm to the job. You have different habits. And maybe you can just walk us through your day when you wake up at 2:00 AM.
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, it's true, it's true. I'll go back to when I was an analyst. You know, and anybody watching this, too, you know, we-- our interns recently started at Yahoo Finance, and I'm just so excited to eventually talk to them. And I will talk to them. But you know, those are early days are always a grind.
You know, I remember the first six months of my job coming out of college was spent essentially sleeping in the office. And there actually were days that I slept in the office. So I guess that's going to be public now. But it is what it is. The people that worked with me [INAUDIBLE]
JARED BLIKRE: You and Elon Musk. He was on the production line. That's a badge of honor.
BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, it is-- yeah, it is a real thing. But if you wanted to learn and you wanted to do it right, whatever right might be-- and I understand, you know, I could be obsessive and I take things a little over the top here, but I wanted to learn how to be a great stock analyst. And that wasn't going to come getting in at 8:00 AM and leaving at 4:00 PM.
What it was going to take, at least for me, the way I-- my crazy mind viewed it, getting in at 4:00 AM and never going home, and coming home-- going and putting all that time on the weekend to build models, to talk to people, ask questions, because I didn't know what the hell I was doing those first six months.
Now, you know, 15 plus years into my career, obviously I do know what I'm doing, and I'm not sleeping in the office anymore. But-- and it's a different job. You know, you and I, we're reporters. And our job, I think, in financial media is to, at least when it comes to Yahoo Finance, one is to help people, this is an incredibly challenging time in the markets, but two, also analyze, synthesize, and give people, you know, analysis in real time on tough topics.
You know, a company comes out, reports earnings, and they beat by $0.30 and the stock gets hammered. You know, it's our job to help people understand why that happens and if it might continue to happen.
JARED BLIKRE: And I've heard you over the years now kind of rail against companies when they commit faux pas. Sometimes it could be the lack of preguidance. Sometimes it's an eight-minutes earning call in the form of GameStop. You take this stuff very seriously, and I've learned a lot from you when you call these companies out.
There should be some-- it seems to me there should be some kind of, I guess-- you've got to be good to your shareholders. You've got to be good to the people who are holding your stock. And if you surprise them too much, and especially on a one-off like what happened with Walmart and Target, that does the stockholders a disservice. So just tell me your thoughts on how you approach shareholder and corporate governance.
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, thank you for the kind words. You know, sometimes I realize I don't-- sometimes you-- and you can understand-- you don't really realize the people you're helping or touching because, you know, you're on the other side of the camera. So I really appreciate that. That's very nice of you.
But look, I'm not calling folks out for the sake of calling folks out or to blow myself up on Instagram or Twitter. That's one of the most wonderful things about being in financial media and financial journalism. You are armed with facts. You are armed with numbers. You can go to a company's website and look at the backgrounds of all of these leaders. You can pull up who the board of directors are in a company.
Let's use Coinbase for an example. I mean, how Coinbase could let its stock price absolutely crash, yet continue to hire, and you have the founder out there saying, oh, Bitcoin is going to a million dollars, and he's out there hiring, and you've got Bitcoin getting blown up and you have a board of directors, what the hell are you doing? I approach it those folks should be called out, in whatever medium.
That's just me. But I come armed with numbers. I come armed with going on Yahoo Finance and pulling up a stock chart. If your stock is down 80%, you're doing a hell of a lot of things wrong. Something is not right. And again, it's not everybody is going to call out executives. That's just not what they do.
For me, I think it's important to do when the numbers warrant it. And hopefully, it leads to some change. Hopefully, the CEO and co-founder of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, sees some of our coverage of his company. I'm sure he has, and he has that moment of internal reflection, should I have been out there hyping Bitcoin when I realistically have seen things slow down? Probably not. So hopefully, he's going to run a better company, and maybe we had something to do with it.
JARED BLIKRE: Well, and not only that, Coinbase just announced they're laying off about 18% of their staff. My Twitter feed personally is filled with people in the crypto industry and also in trading who are now finding themselves out of a job. There were--
BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah.
JARED BLIKRE: The swings that we've seen in the economy and the labor market have pretty much shellshocked people. We've gone back to the volatilities of the '70s, when really we had 40 years of interest rate suppression. There were fits and starts, and we've had a few bubbles here and there, but for the most part, it seems like we've had a period of calm, an era of calm, and now it's kind of changing here. And people want to know what to think.
And so you were at Davos recently, and you were talking about interviewing these CEOs. You had a great conversation with Chuck Prince of Cisco. And in general, really looking good out there. And just tell me, on a personal level, what was it like for you? And I think you've been there-- I mean, this isn't a new scene for you, but what's it like for a person who has working-class origins and is proud of it to go to Davos, to go to the World Economic Forum?
BRIAN SOZZI: It's-- I take it very seriously. It is my Super Bowl. I love this event. I love going there. It's an honor to be going to an event like this. Not everybody gets to do this.
I think it gets lost in the sauce sometimes, like oh, everybody's going-- can go to Davos and talk to millionaires and billionaires and go out and tweet about it. And no, it doesn't happen. So I know it is indeed a special privilege, and something very unique to Yahoo Finance. We've been there, I think, numerous years already. So for me to help carry that baton forward is-- and be there with our editor in chief, Andy Serwer, it's a tremendous honor.
But look, it's-- you are contained in this one area in the Swiss Alps, and you're out there on a porch. You're doing interviews. You finish one interview, and then there goes Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. And nowhere-- like, it's just strange for someone, like you mentioned, that has working-class roots.
You know, I was thinking back last week how I remember getting up on the weekend and cutting my lawn at like 6:00 AM and then having to do all these ridiculous chores, and now here I am in Davos and Bill Gates is walking past me. It's a lot sometimes, if you really step back and think about it. It's like holy crap, I can't believe I'm actually doing this.
But at least from a business perspective, the tone at Davos was a little downbeat, more downbeat than I think we've come to know Davos for. It's usually an upbeat event, where a lot of leaders come, try to hype the next 10 years of human civilization. Didn't really hear that. I heard a more measured tone. And you know, oddly enough, after Davos is when essentially the bottom dropped out of the stock market. So, you know, go figure.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. Let me ask you, because you wrote at least one article that I read about some of the comings and goings there, the afterlife, the parties and whatnot. It seems like there's a bit of a nightlife there. You know, you have all these world leaders. We've basically all been cooped up for two years, in various senses of the word. Even if you have money, you've still been restricted in some way. I'm just wondering, compared to prior years, you said the mood was somber, but what about the nightlife?
BRIAN SOZZI: The nightlife was there. Not there-- I know for me, I went to less parties than I normally would have. And usually, that is the best networking scene. You know, you finish-- in our case, you finish taping in the afternoon, you go back to the room, you get refreshed a little bit, and you work the environment that you are in. And by working. I mean you're meeting with executives. You're moving nonstop. You're not sitting on your ass in your room streaming YouTube on free Wi-Fi. No, you have to be out. At an event like this, you have to maximize every single second.
And you know, the downside is, with this Davos, because of COVID, you know, those opportunities didn't necessarily exist, per se. The parties were there, but you had-- you were running the risk of getting COVID and being stuck there for a week because the travel requirement was still in place. But still, I had the opportunity to meet with a bunch of great executives. I learned a ton. You built a lot of great relationships that will come and, I think, ultimately help me and help Yahoo Finance 3, 6, 12 months down the line.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, and I think one of my favorite interviews with you that you conducted was with the Slack CEO, which is now part of Salesforce. But Stewart Butterfield, really fascinating guy. Really seems-- I like the way he thinks because he's trying to build tools that make workplaces more efficient. And I've got a couple of tips for him on how to improve Slack maybe. But I'm just wondering what you got out of some of your favorite interviews there.
BRIAN SOZZI: I'm glad you mentioned Stewart Butterfield because he is, as they would say in our field, he's a friend of our shows. He was an early supporter of Yahoo Finance. When we launched our network-- wow, what is it, Jared, four years ago? Maybe close to four years ago?
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah.
BRIAN SOZZI: Early supporter of coming on. We've stayed in great contact since. But look, he's trying to change how people communicate at work via Slack. It's a tool that we all use here at Yahoo Finance. So to actually get some time with him on camera and off camera-- you know, there's a lot of great conversations that folks don't see, in terms of the interviews that we post online-- was really cool.
You know, I think he is of the mind that there will continue to be hybrid work. For him, it's all about removing friction so we can continue to have those conversations as you have a universe of humans working from home, but also coming back to the office, as well. You know, you want to keep all of these universes intact. Then next one, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.
JARED BLIKRE: Of course.
BRIAN SOZZI: There is just a ton of attention that is always paid to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Ton of attention also paid to Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon. But here is Brian Moynihan, who's been the CEO of Bank of America coming out of the great financial crisis, and he's hit a home run. Completely reinvented the bank. It was fun to just meet with him, talk with him, hear about his thinking about the economy, what he's thinking about cryptocurrencies, how he's repositioning the bank for the next decade of banking. It's not oftentimes you get access to leaders like that.
JARED BLIKRE: Well, let me ask you about crypto, because we've had huge washouts in the previous weeks here, and we've seen Bitcoin touching the lowest point that it has in-- basically multiyear lows here. And there's been a lot of pain. And I'm just wondering what the tone was, because you can think of Davos as a gathering of the elite. What's the tone, and what are they saying about crypto?
BRIAN SOZZI: Measured optimism. I thought it was a more of a-- not to sound like a, you know, well, a suit or anything, but that's what it was. There was some crypto presence at Davos, but I don't think it was at the same extent as it was at the Davos pre-pandemic.
It felt a little more on the outskirts. Sure, you had the FTX folks there. You had Ripple there, as well. But it didn't get a lot of play, which was-- which was quite interesting. You know, ultimately, Davos is still run by the big-name CEOs. So you had Marc Benioff there. You had Bill Gates there. And the focus on climate change. So crypto was there, just not there all over the place.
JARED BLIKRE: And by the way, before I miss this, I do want to give a shout out to our producer, Mike Claudio. He was a producer in Davos, and he was running around with you [INAUDIBLE]
BRIAN SOZZI: That guy's the man.
JARED BLIKRE: I--
BRIAN SOZZI: Him and Kevin Burke, our other producer, too. I mean, we-- this was our A-team squad. The efforts these guys put forward are-- were superhuman, and what they do is superhuman. So Mike, I know you're smiling on the other side of the camera. You can send me the gift card. Send it to me-- give me a Starbucks gift card. Appreciate it.
JARED BLIKRE: There you go. Done. Let me ask you, when you're doing these interviews, when you're preparing for these interviews, you write more articles than anybody else, I think, at Yahoo Finance by a mile. And what are you doing to prepare? Where do you want the interview to go? I know you're thinking of a headline, and you're just pressing them for that headline while you're doing the interview, but how do you-- how do you get behind that process?
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, first and foremost, again, it was a real honor for me to even talk to the executives that we-- that I talked to. It's something I don't think long enough about. And I should. And that's my problem. I should take a step back and realize, you know, what I do day to day. It's just not my mentality. I'm always, like, thinking, you know, 5 or 10 years down the line. But I take every interview as if, one, it's my last big interview, and then two, it's the last time I will ever get to talk to these people, for one reason or another.
So with that as my backdrop, I then prepare as if I was getting ready to still write an equity research report. I'm looking at the financial statements of the company. I'm going back to annual reports. Now I'm also going-- obviously not now, but as part of my reporting gig, because my career has changed, I'm no longer an analyst, I'm talking to sources to get more familiar with the leaders, get more familiar with the company, reading analyst notes.
And you do all that stuff, and after a while of just doing this for a long time in general, you get a sense on what to ask and what not to ask. You know, at the end of the day, we only have a finite period with these executives. And you don't want to ask some dumb question that nobody even cares about.
And in this environment, you know, we-- people care about recession, higher interest rates, what are you doing with your dividend, are you going to be buying back your stock, how has the pandemic impacted you personally, how have you built your teams to be more inclusive coming outside of the pandemic, what are you doing on ESG. So that's some of the big, broad strokes. And once you have that, try to, like, just fine-tune it to make it company-specific.
JARED BLIKRE: Well, and let me ask you then, what's your favorite all-time interview? I know Michael Eisner, I believe, was up there on that list. What's the big one?
BRIAN SOZZI: That is-- that's a good one. I will go-- I'll go two. One, Melinda Gates. Melinda Gates has been on Yahoo Finance twice. Again, a total honor to even get some time with someone like that. A true world leader, a visionary, someone who's trying to make humanity better.
And to be in the room and someone like that and feel that energy and listen to what they're trying to do was really, really amazing. So I got to talk to her about her new book. That was pre-pandemic. And then also, too, during the pandemic, just hearing what her-- what her and the Gates Foundation are and were doing to help end and improve the COVID-19 pandemic.
And then another interview, I'll go back to my time when I was executive editor at The Street. That was with then new Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. I mean, here's Doug McMillon. You know, I was still kind of-- not newish in my job, but I was getting my sea legs under me in a new position like that. And you know, I met Doug McMillon, we interviewed each other in a hotel.
And I came there, I was wearing a bright blue pair of Adidas sneakers. I never did it again after that. You know, I was trying to be cool. I came there with my suit and my sneakers. And here's Doug McMillon, he strides in. And we were getting to know each other, did like a 20-minute interview.
But he has a hell of a story. I mean, he started working in Walmart stores. And now here's Doug McMillon, still the CEO of Walmart. I mean, how many stories do you hear like that? It's just not normal. I mean, he's a true-- he's a true success story. He stuck boxes in the stockroom, and now he is leading the world's largest retailer.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, rags to riches. Give me-- give me another story like. It could be rags to riches. You have a deep level of admiration for certain people in certain positions, the C-suite. Some of them have had multiple careers, but just kind of a common throughline. So give me another person here.
BRIAN SOZZI: Another person I would say is someone I used to work with, a couple of people I used to work with. One, Larry Kramer. He was the former-- former publisher at USA Today, founder of MarketWatch. Just a unique person that helped really found financial media. You know, I got to work with him at The Street and just learned just a ton from him on what he does and how he did it. And I was very lucky to work with someone like that.
Jim Cramer. I spent a couple of years working with Jim, a mentor, a friend. His mind is constantly at work. And the ability for him to just hold all that information on stocks and people has been-- and just to watch it up close and personal for so many years was absolutely tremendous.
And lastly, look, I'll look at Yahoo Finance. I mean, look at our very own Andy Serwer. I mean, here's someone that I got out of college and, you know, I would spend weekends at the library writing analyst notes, but also reading Andy's columns in Fortune magazine. And to work with these people that are in the financial media Mount Rushmore, I've just tried to take a lot of these things and just incorporate into my own repertoire and put my own spin to it.
JARED BLIKRE: So you were on Andy's radar, or I guess he was on your radar, maybe decades ago. He has an interesting and storied career, as well. And special props out to him for just keeping the lights on and this dream on over the pandemic, because everybody was facing lots of trials and tribulations.
BRIAN SOZZI: It's a hard job, Jared.
It's full-time. You know, it is a-- it is around the clock, especially with a platform like Yahoo Finance. And we're the biggest business site in the whole entire universe. I tell people all the time, people are waking up on our platform, building portfolios, watching us, checking us on our app, doing debt comparisons, doing Hindenburg Omen charts. Look, it's an amazing platform. It's incredibly unique. It's such a unique platform. It's so cool.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, and we're just gearing up. We're only going to get better from here as we finally emerge from the pandemic. We're back in the office. We returned to the office a few months ago. We got some live guests in. I was able to get Keith Bliss, who I used to get on as a producer for our "Midday Movers" show six and a half years ago. He was on every Wednesday, live from the New York Stock Exchange.
But what's it been like for you to get back to the office? There's an energy here, and I know you love it. But just give us some details about how it has really changed things for you this year.
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, I love it. I forgot that you were seven foot five, Jared, so it's good, good to see you go around the office and, you know, do what you do. But look, I love the office. I would say I'm an office dweller, but it's the environment I grew up in.
JARED BLIKRE: Well, you used to live there. Admittedly--
BRIAN SOZZI: I did.
JARED BLIKRE: --you used to spend the night there.
BRIAN SOZZI: That's no BS. Like, this really did happen. We're going to take this offline, though, because I don't want to give you actually all the stories because, you know--
JARED BLIKRE: Sounds good.
BRIAN SOZZI: --it's a long journey to get here, my man. You know, you just don't get to do these interviews with you, Jared Blikre, for doing nothing. But look, I love the office. You know, the interaction with people is tremendous. It has unleashed the next wave of creativity for our teams here at Yahoo Finance.
The ability to go up to you, especially when the market is in absolute freefall and things are in turmoil, to tap your brain on a market move or to look at the Bloomberg Terminal with you or just help a colleague understand something, and not Slack them, no offense to Stewart Butterfield at Slack, but not Slack them and just go over to their desk I think has unlocked tremendous potential.
Now, I understand the work from home environment. We had to do it. I mean, the whole world shut down, essentially, after I got back from Davos in January 2020.
JARED BLIKRE: That was it.
BRIAN SOZZI: But there was a time and place for it. And a lot can be said for being in the office and getting back to doing things in a collaborative type of environment. Even getting coffee.
JARED BLIKRE: Yes.
BRIAN SOZZI: You know, I just got back-- before I got back from here, you know, within about an hour and a half, I went to the Starbucks down the block by our office. I met numerous sources, and not only got information that I'm going to use on the show tomorrow, but I established potentially three more interviews that hopefully I can lock down three months from now, all because we're in the office. I was able to meet a contact. I don't live near our office per se, but again, a lot could be said for being here.
JARED BLIKRE: I'm smelling at least four articles and lots of clicks out of that one--
BRIAN SOZZI: That's true.
JARED BLIKRE: --experience [INAUDIBLE]
BRIAN SOZZI: Believe me, they're coming. They're coming. I have articles posting, Jared, while I'm doing this interview. True story.
JARED BLIKRE: I'm sure you-- well, that's--
BRIAN SOZZI: The CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, Fran Horowitz. She just came on Yahoo Finance. We just put out the video. And we have a written story. I encourage everybody to check it out. It will live forever on Yahoo Finance.
JARED BLIKRE: I'd encourage it, too. So literally as I'm talking to you, as I'm writing questions, you're staring into the camera as a good guest here, but you're literally typing an article, is what I'm taking away from that just now.
BRIAN SOZZI: I can't-- I'm not going to give you all of my secrets, but I will say this. Knowing that I would be contained in this environment for an hour and how my mind works, I actually prewrote a story that I dropped into our editor's desk, Michael [? Kelley, ?] you know, a real game-changing--
JARED BLIKRE: Powerhouse.
BRIAN SOZZI: --editor. So he has edited that story, which has allowed me to be here with you and focus on this amazing production.
JARED BLIKRE: All right. And we've still got a few minutes left, so I wanted to get a little bit personal. You--
BRIAN SOZZI: Nope.
JARED BLIKRE: --you were on-- this is all good, by the way-- you were on with me and Robert Sinclair Jr., who is a AAA spokesman. I think he's the chief economist there. Anyway, we were talking about our first cars earlier in the show, and we asked him about his first car. Anyway, I pulled this picture from Twitter. And this is you with your 1991 Trans Am--
BRIAN SOZZI: Oh my god, where'd you get that?
JARED BLIKRE: --GTA. It was on Twitter.
BRIAN SOZZI: I tweeted that out? Oh, man.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. You know, I don't know if we could see the bottom, but I think it's from 2011, 2014. It's from a while ago. But just take-- you talk about your cars a lot, and I know you have a love for them. And just tell us about that.
BRIAN SOZZI: I do. I do love my cars. It's probably like two-- multiple things. One, it was just the environment I-- I just loved cars. Like, I would always play with Hot Wheels cars, which I find funny now--
JARED BLIKRE: I had them, too.
BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, I find it interesting now that Mattel's CEO, Ynon Kreiz, who's completely turned the company around is now coming on our show. Of course, Mattel owns Hot Wheel. And then secondarily, part of the reason why I like cars, too, and I still have that white Trans Am, I view it as a couple of things. One, where I started. You know, I bought that car in cash because I was a golf caddie for 10 plus years. And I saved up a lot of money to buy that car. It was a couple thousand at the time. That's a lot of money.
JARED BLIKRE: I know.
BRIAN SOZZI: So it reminds me, like, how hard I have had to work, seemingly since I was the age of 13, to catch-- really to gain any ground in my life. Nothing was given to me. Nothing continues to be given to me. It has been blood, sweat, and tears for going on, wow, three decades of my life. And one, and then lastly, two, I just like the car. There's nothing cooler than now being a middle-aged male going around in a Trans Am from 1991. I mean, let's just be honest. I mean, come on. It's tops down, baby. Let's do it.
JARED BLIKRE: There is a certain-- there is a certain nicety to it. What are your plans for the future here? I know you're happy at Yahoo Finance, and let's assume that you're going to stay in your current role for a while, but maybe you're thinking bigger picture. Do you want to get into the C-suite anywhere? You've got the knowledge. Do you want to get operational in some of these companies?
BRIAN SOZZI: Oh, wow. Wow. I just want to let everybody know, Jared did not give me any of these questions beforehand. I had no idea any of this was coming. This is not some staged Yahoo Finance [INAUDIBLE]
JARED BLIKRE: I staged part of it. That's why we have pictures of your first car.
BRIAN SOZZI: OK, well I'm not going to give it away, like, what I really want to do. You know, it is what it is. But I will say this. I view being at Yahoo Finance as a dream job. I remember when Yahoo Finance launched, in terms of videos, back in maybe 2007, 2008, something like that. And videos in financial media were just-- were just starting to take form, and Yahoo Finance was a platform that I visited when I started doing a stock game in, I believe, 11th grade in high school.
So this has been a dream job for me, and something that I always tried to achieve. I didn't realize, you know, I'd be here, hosting a live television show for two hours and doing all these interviews. But I always saw myself here. And it's been incredible. I'm not too sure what's next, but what I'm doing right now gives me tremendous pleasure because a couple things.
One, I just love doing this stuff. I love writing. I love being in the mix with these executives. I love learning from them. You don't get to be the CEO of a publicly traded company if you're not a smart person. And the ability to learn from these people when you talk to them is just awesome. But this a dream gig. I enjoy it every day.
And the helping aspect is something I take very seriously, as well. You know, throughout the pandemic, Jared, we've seen I think the next generation of investor created. We see it on our platform. They've gone out there. They've bought GameStop. They've bought AMC. They've ridden those stocks up. And chances are, they're down 60, 70%, and they have no idea what to do. And they're scared. And their wealth has been impacted.
And even if they haven't bought those stocks, even if they were veteran investors, they might still be holding GE from the top 10 years ago. All these folks need help. And I really, truly believe we are here to help them in whatever form, whether it's a written story, whether it's using or logging onto the webinars, which you do, what, every month? I mean, I think they're awesome.
Anybody-- anytime somebody sees a banner on YahooFinance.com for a webinar hosted by Jared Blikre, click it. Make a date. Make a date saved. Just do it. But we're here to help, and it's something I take very seriously.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, and I'll just add to that because I take it very seriously, too. A stat that I've been thinking about a lot lately and I've mentioned a couple of times in our live programs is the average Robinhood account was down to $240. That's average. And that's down from just about 1,000. So if you think about the average account, that's a 75% wipeout. And that's a couple-- as of a couple months ago. That's not even the current quarter. And we're going to get those figures in the future.
And not to dump on Robinhood. I've had issues with some of their customer service in the past. This is a problem that affects everybody. It's independent of the exchanges. Most people who got into trading over the pandemic have simply lost just about everything. And I approach things differently than you. I like the technical analysis side. I love to interview some of my heroes, who are the kings and queens and everybody else of technical analysis. So that's a great source of pride to me.
And then just thinking about the culture here in general, I do think we've had a number of events, Brian. And you've been to them. We have happy hours. And we had-- we started going to these things a year ago, when the world just kind of first opened up. We had the vaccines, and it became kind of safe. And one of the things that stood out to me is, at Yahoo Finance, we were all just waiting to get back together in the office because we all like each other, for the most part, and we recognize that it's better when we have a better-- when we have a collaborative environment like that.
And it gets back to culture-- corporate culture, which starts at the top. And I really believe, in the words of Peter Drucker, culture eats strategy for breakfast. And it comes from the top. It comes from Andy and some of our new senior leaders. And I see it trickle down. And that's what makes us special. And another thing I learned at these meetings-- I haven't really done a lot at other media places, but it's really not the same out there.
BRIAN SOZZI: It's not.
JARED BLIKRE: This place is unique. And maybe your thoughts on that.
BRIAN SOZZI: It's incredibly unique. I couldn't have it-- I couldn't have said it really-- really any better, actually, Jared. It is unique. I've worked at a couple media places, and traditionally there's a lot of, especially in the TV business, a lot of infighting, a lot of competition between shows. Not everybody's friends. And this is a very unique, special culture. And I think one tie that binds it all together is no jerks. And--
JARED BLIKRE: You remember that?
BRIAN SOZZI: I do. I do remember that. And you know, that was important to me when I joined here because, look, I was editor in chief, or an executive editor at another publicly-- a publicly traded company. I loved that job. You know, the ability to wake up in the morning and help people grow in the field of journalism, and then, at the same time, do interviews and build products, like, all that stuff was very exciting to me.
So when I was approached to join here, you know, culture was-- I was at a point in my career where I actually start to think about these things. You know, what type of stock do I put in culture? What do I want to be doing? Where do I want to be in the next five years? And the culture here has just been tremendous. Everybody-- and this is no BS. Like, to everyone on the other side of the camera--
--actually-- this exists. This is a true-- this is true stuff. When you, one, when you see our product on air, when you are watching us from 9:00 to 5:00 every day, you can sense there is a personal touch in every single thing we do. That goes from, you know, a written story or watching Jared on the Y-Fi Interactive going through everything.
There's a certain amount of caring. And a lot of that comes from each individual inside of this office, but also, too, a lot of collaboration. A lot of, you know, Slack messages. Now we're back in the office, too, a lot of going up to other people's desks. What do you like? What don't you like? How can we make it better? And it's not like that at a lot of other places.
And you know, going back to what you mentioned, you mentioned, like, Robinhood, Jared. That's what makes, I think, Yahoo Finance unique. We're a platform, but you know what? You can watch us live on your app, and you're going to get things to help you become a better investor, to save your wealth, to build your wealth over time.
You know, you go to these other platforms, it's just, you go there, they have a section on their site, Investor Education. You open it up, there's like 35 different definitions. Well, what the hell does that do to me? Man, I've lost 70% in my Bitcoin. What does a definition plastered on a website do for me? Absolutely nothing. And that really is how we set ourselves apart from everybody else.
JARED BLIKRE: No jerks. I don't know if you were at that meeting, in particular. That was-- we had that-- Jen Rogers was leading that meeting at the time, and we were just kind of coming up with a catchphrase because we were a very small team. We were about 40 people at the time.
We were about to ramp up to 140. And we wanted to set a direction. And so we were brainstorming. Jen is writing things down on a whiteboard. And eventually, she just said no jerks, and everybody nodded their heads. Obviously, that's the best catchphrase that we could have for our organization. So that's kind of how that came about.
BRIAN SOZZI: And I hear at other-- I hear it at these big publicly traded companies, Jared, too, as well. You know, they are incredibly-- right now, I know we've seen the economy slow down, but there's still a war for talent out there. Not, you know, crappy talent. Good talent. You know, these CEOs, they want the best people in the game. They are publicly traded companies. They have numbers to make.
And chances are you're only going to get those numbers if you have the top talent. And we're at a point in time, you know, in the world where you have to have good people. And good people is not just the people that can code something. It's people with a good attitude and the ability to walk-- work across teams, the ability to go the extra mile. And it's hard to find those folks, but I assure you they do exist. And they definitely exist at Yahoo Finance.
JARED BLIKRE: Definitely. And I'm just going to go ahead and say this is going to be-- this is taped. This is going to be replayed for a couple of weeks. But we're having an all hands meeting for all of our staff who are spread throughout the country. And I'm really looking forward to meeting some people who I've never met before. We have-- it's incredible that there are people who have worked with us for over a year who I've never met once in person. And we're going to solve that as we get back together.
Sozzi, we have a clip here of you doing something really interesting. You went over to Goodyear, OK, and you interviewed the CEO. But guess what? You were also featured in the infamous Goodyear blimp. Not that one right there, but a different one.
BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah.
JARED BLIKRE: No question. Just talk.
BRIAN SOZZI: Look, that's one of those things that I never thought I would ever do in my life. Again, I go back to thinking, I remember my mom-- and I'm sorry, Mom, I've just got to bring this up, I know you watch every single thing I do-- I grew up eating boiled dogs and creamed corn. And every penny was watched, and there were no luxuries.
And that's-- I don't know, I still have that mentality in my mind. So when somebody tells you, hey, Brian, we're going to take you up in the Goodyear blimp, sure, sign me up. Now obviously, you know, this helped-- I'm not doing this for the sake of just doing it, and this helped tell our story of the company that is Goodyear.
And we spent the whole day with the Goodyear executive team out there, trying to understand what they're working on, why they're working on, what does the future of tires look like, which are incredibly important because we all are still driving. And it's an incredibly important thing to think about as we all start to go into electric vehicles. It's going to require a different type of tire to support all of this growth in electric vehicles that we are seeing.
So it was just cool to get up on the blimp, film it for a little bit, understand Goodyear's heritage a little bit more, which, in turn, we took it all back and we poured it into a great package that aired on Yahoo Finance, and ultimately--
JARED BLIKRE: Right here.
BRIAN SOZZI: [INAUDIBLE]
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, and it's great. And it just kind of exemplifies one of the things that I like about you, is that you bring such intensity to your analysis. I'm learning things here just interviewing you casually. I never thought about that you would need different tires for electric vehicles. Of course, they have hub motors that are in the wheels.
Maybe they are a little bit more weighty. But interesting. So tell me some of the other insights you might have had recently or you just kind of came across that speak as to the future that we're now entering in the digital age. A lot of companies still playing catchup with their digital and e-commerce sales, but what kind of trends are you seeing that people might not have thought about?
BRIAN SOZZI: Oh, that is-- that's very good. You're saving the tough ones are for last.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, well, you're going to cry after this.
BRIAN SOZZI: I think I'm going to go with Intel, actually. You know, here's another company--
JARED BLIKRE: Pat?
BRIAN SOZZI: --that, under new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, that's trying to change their-- or just rewrite their future. So he's out there opening up large new facilities all over the country. And they're not open yet, but he's made very big announcements to open very large chip manufacturing plants overseas and in the United States.
Part of that reflects, one, Intel trying to get more business, but two, look, the pandemic has caused a tremendous shortage in chips, or semiconductors. We're going to need more chips, where computer sales, they're slowing, but they still remain pretty strong. Printers are being sold. You need chips in cars. Essentially, cars are now essentially rolling computers. So he's trying to position his company for that future.
And it's just been interesting to follow that company's journey as it positions itself to build more chips, not only for itself, but for other companies, as well. You know, it's something I think we've all taken for granted, semiconductors. But we need this stuff, and we need a big way. We needed more yesterday. So hopefully, they'll be able to achieve their mission.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, what's really interesting, we talk about the supply chain shortages now, but you dial back to a few years ago, guess what? There was a trade war. And that was a big deal that we were talking about with China. And that's still on the back burner. It's not as though there is an incredible love between the East and the West, in certain ways, right now. Alliances are shifting. We've got the Ukraine-Russian war.
How do you think-- and you can use Intel as an example because they were already doubling-- starting to think about doubling down on fab because of other reasons, and now they-- well, everybody has to anyway. But how do you see this situation with the East and the West playing out? Because at the end of the, day, we're not-- we're going to get past the supply chain problems and we're going to get back to our fundamental problems, is that sometimes we don't always see eye to eye on everything.
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, I'll tell you, look, they're certainly not going back to Russia. We saw a tremendous-- we saw a tremendous and fast, a response that I haven't necessarily seen from very large companies in terms of speed, but as soon as this war happened, companies stepped up, and they stepped in a big way. McDonald's, a lot of the fast food companies, Levi's, I believe, a lot of tech companies, they pulled out of Russia.
And you ask every single executive, and I have, what are your longer-term plans for a country like that, they really don't have any, Jared. And by that, I mean they have no intentions to get back in there anytime soon. And that is very, very interesting.
Now, secondarily, you know, the byproduct of the war is just higher costs of doing everything. You know, I can look where I live on Long Island, and you see diesel prices darn near $7 a gallon. So that war, in many respects, is triggering, you know, this next push higher in energy prices, which is forcing a lot of companies to rethink their operations.
Do they need to go out and open that next plant? Do they need to go out and hire the next worker? You know, how are they-- do they have to shrink their business if gas prices stay over $5 a gallon for the next six months? These conversations are starting to happen.
And that's why you're starting to see a lot of companies announce layoffs or hiring freezes. You know, and that is, I think, in large part, a byproduct of what's happening overseas. But of course, the byproduct, too, with the pandemic. You know, the pandemic is still very much with us. And when you have supply chain clogged up, of course energy prices are going to go higher.
JARED BLIKRE: And that's one of the things that you hammer on every morning. One of my favorite things to do is tune in 9:00 AM to Yahoo Finance Live, where--
BRIAN SOZZI: I thank you for viewership.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, you, Julie and Brad, and you lay out what's most important. And you do a fantastic job of revealing that. One of the things you hit on are these high prices. You talk about the price at the pump, but also things that you're seeing for everyday-- prices you see for everyday items that you're buying in the grocery store. Why do you-- why do you hammer this point so much?
BRIAN SOZZI: I think it just goes back to, like, me really on a personal level. First of all, I do not live in an Ivory tower. I am in Target every weekend--
JARED BLIKRE: I know this.
BRIAN SOZZI: --looking for deodorant. Well, not every weekend for deodorant, but you know what I mean. I'm doing my own shopping. I'm out there. I still view myself as the average person, because I am. And when I go into a Target or a Walmart, yeah, Jared, I'm paying $10 or $11 for deodorant. That is insane. I'm paying $6 or $7 for a dozen eggs. You know, a slice of somewhat decent steak, $16, $17.
It's crazy. It really is. But there's a story to be told there, as well, that I try to bring back when we are on the show. Food prices high. Now we're starting to see a pullback in consumer spending. Inventories are starting to build at major retailers. How are these stocks going to do? How are their earnings going to look for the second quarter?
Are they going to have good back-to-school shopping seasons? Is their holiday season going to suck if we're going to start to go into a recession? All these things tie together. A lot can be said from a container of deodorant costing $11 a pop. You'd be surprised what economic message and stock message that sends, at least to folks like me.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, it's all about gathering the anecdotal data here, and kind of-- it's proof by induction. So--
BRIAN SOZZI: But it's important, too.
JARED BLIKRE: It is.
BRIAN SOZZI: Jared, we-- the average investor is on the Yahoo Finance platform. Sure, we have institutions that watch Yahoo Finance, that are on Yahoo Finance. I had grabbed drinks the other night with one publicly traded CFO, he's like, Brian, I use Yahoo Finance all the time. I'm checking our stock price all the time. I'm checking my debt levels on Yahoo Finance. I'm looking at my competitors' debt levels.
But you know, there's still that strong retail component, retail investor component to Yahoo Finance. These are the people that are at home, that are retired. They're wondering, you know, what does this market downturn mean to me. And you know, it's our job to help them understand all this stuff. They're out there shopping at Target, too. They see $11 deodorant, and if I could just be relatable to them, you know, maybe they'll just understand their investing that much more.
JARED BLIKRE: We've got a couple of minutes left here. We began with the markets, we're going to end with the markets. Given your background, what are you looking for in terms of a turnaround? What do you want to see happen with certain economic numbers, with analyst revisions? What does it look like when we have a recovery?
BRIAN SOZZI: Ooh, that's good. I do miss the days where I had access to a lot of large spreadsheets and I was able to track gross profit margins and free cash flow and look at risk-free rates. But I don't have that per se now anymore, and I have to use different tools.
Anecdotally, I think this is one of the most challenging periods for investors because of inflation, because we're going into a rate hiking cycle, but also because I don't see much positive. And that's not me being-- you know, trying to drive scary headlines. I-- I'm looking at the markets. I'm looking at the S&P 500 down, what, 22% year to date?
What is that positive that will set a bottom and then ultimately drive sustainable upside? Not a bear market rally, where one week we're up 3% or 4%, and the next week we're down 2%. I'm talking about going back to what it was a couple of years ago, where, by and large, stocks are up every single month.
And I'm finding it hard to find that positive. You know, go back to the Great Recession. You know, there was a couple of moments there, I think, what, the market bottomed in March, late March 2009?
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah.
BRIAN SOZZI: They called it the devil's bottom? Whatever it was.
JARED BLIKRE: 666, S&P 500.
BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, you saw that big washout in markets. You saw-- I believe it was executives hop on TV saying, you know what, we might be near the bottom here. I'm not seeing that right now. And I don't see it in the financials of companies. I still see margins, profit margins still decelerating. I'm seeing more companies announce layoffs. I'm seeing inventories rise at an increasing pace versus the first quarter.
And then you mentioned analyst estimates. I don't see them coming down. So when I think about earnings season coming up in a couple of weeks, I think you're going to have a very disappointing second quarter earnings season, which usually kicks off with banks in mid-- in really the second to third week of July.
And then maybe analysts will start to really understand that things have started to slow and they shouldn't be keeping estimates this high. And maybe they mark them down, and then we could start to get that true-- that true reset. But you know, to hear folks come-- come on with us and put out notes saying I think this-- a slowdown is priced in, no, it's not. Now you still see the S&P 500 trading, what, 16 and 1/2, 17 times forward earnings? None of it's priced in. Let's get real.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, I go back to that 75 basis point hike by the Fed. They're reacting to new data, which is coming out worse than they expected. So everybody's just reacting here. And the clouds-- the water is very murky, and we're just trying to make sense of it all every single day. And Brian Sozzi, you are front and center in that effort. And thank you for joining us here today.
BRIAN SOZZI: You're the man, Jared. You're the man.