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A Q&A With Pierce Crosby, The New General Manager Of TradingView

A Q&A With Pierce Crosby, The New General Manager Of TradingView

Benzinga recently sat down with Pierce Crosby, Americas general manager of TradingView, the financial and social platform for traders and investors. Crosby commented on technology advancements, company plans and TradingView’s position in the changing fintech industry.

BZ: So how did you start a journalist and end up as the Americas GM for TradingView?

PC: It definitely wasn't the initial plan, but I've always been fascinated by media models and technology. I was a journalist for some time before I realized it was more the businesses behind the publications that fascinated me. I wanted to help work on the models that foster new content, new media, and less so on the daily writing. I was not a great writer, and I definitely realized that at some point.

BZ: TradingView is unique in that it’s a one-stop shop for charting and trading. Where does the company go from here? What advancements are on the horizon?

PC: Since inception, TradingView has been hyper-vigilant on providing institutional-grade technology to the average investor. Knowing the demands of institutional investors has definitely informed the products we've built, and knowing that we're helping the average Joe is the ultimate reward. We created a foothold in the trading technology ecosystem with this mindset, but charting and data is definitely just the beginning in terms of what we can build for traders. I know everyone wants to be "Bloomberg of x, y, z,'' but we want to build the technologies that will power the next generation of Bloomberg-like apps and platforms.

BZ: Who is your target demographic? What does the community breakdown look like in terms of age, experience, etc.?

PC: More than 70 percent of the users are between the ages of 25-44, which is incredible. Most big investing brands we know of have an average age of 55 plus.

Related Link: A Q&A With The Co-Founder Of Quantamize

BZ: Do you try to attract a certain type of investor?

PC: The platform today is really all about charts, so you can imagine, that's what most of our traders are interested in when they visit the site. But don't think there's a single investor type... we want everyone to find their niche and just go for it. The brand is the seventh largest investing website in the world, so we have to try to provide something for everyone. Our average investor is pretty sophisticated, and very, very active.

BZ: Has the influx of technological strides strengthened the landscape? How does TradingView maintain an edge?

PC: When I think of the larger financial ecosystem, we are a tiny piece of the bigger puzzle. Financial technology today has lightyears to go before my Vanguard, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD) accounts have responsive, modular web apps to do all my finances... We definitely think we can be part of that story, but there will always be a lot of competition for that market. At the end of the day, our edge is focusing on empowering the individual by having tools that help them make more informed investment decisions. It doesn't matter if those tools live on our site or any site or product. If we can make individuals smarter, it's better for everyone in the ecosystem. A rising tide lifts all boats.

BZ: What tips or advice would you recommend yourself if you were just entering the investing and trading space today?

PC: Ah, now this is a question that I wish my past self could ask my future self! I would say the information is out there (on the web and in books), you just have to be hungry enough to look for it. One of the big issues I see with financial education today isn't much different than what we see with the education system in the U.S.

Education isn't (and shouldn't be) a for-profit business, and so as a startup, it's hard to focus on education. As a result, the financial scales unfairly favor those who prey on ignorance, and that sucks. I remember opening up a brokerage account my sophomore year in college, having no idea what I was doing, and within three months I had to shut it down because I'd more or less blown it up completely. If people slowed down and took time to learn, they wouldn't be throwing their money away.

BZ: What compels users to share personal trading ideas?

PC: Across the social web, there are tons of different hooks to get people to share things. Reddit karma is the best example I can think of. TradingView's model awards top contributors but also works to make every member feel that once they've built a reputation, their voice can be heard more broadly across the platform.

BZ: What has been the company’s biggest challenge since its inception?

PC: When I joined, I talked to the founders about this a lot. How can we be more competitive? What's the biggest hurdle? It's really been one of user education... TradingView has global scale, yeah? If you wanted to know what the largest airline stocks in Turkey are trading at right now, or Japanese bonds prices, would you know where to look for that data? Same with Indian tech stocks or Brazilian industrials. We have more than 50 exchanges around the world providing us with real-time data, and we surface that to users of the platform - for free. It's an asset people don't realize that the team has worked years to make possible. The more people know that, the better.

BZ: How quickly are charting features and capabilities changing?

PC: We're always redesigning things, that's the benefit of global team! At any given time, someone's improving something. There will be some more announcements coming out soon about this but we think we can opensource a lot of our charting capabilities to the wider world. We're hoping that the quality of the libraries really speak for themselves. Our current widgets are awesome and easy to use, but allowing users to customize and build their own apps and charts really enables the next generation of technologists to create cutting edge, lightweight products.

BZ: In terms of social finance, what areas do you consider lacking in the fintech industry?

PC: Do people chat about lending? Corporate finance maybe? I don't know, but I hope someone launches products for them. I think AngelList could be doing a lot more around social + fundraising. Quantopian & Kaggle are doing some amazing things for social + data science too. I really do think there's a model to be built around the education vertical, it's just hard to make the economics work.

StockTwits is definitely tackling some of that with their Rooms product. One of my favorites is the Wealth Builders Room, super simple approach; educating people on the basics of financial literacy. Additionally, I'd say we need a "Yelp for Finance." The more I learn about fintech and the finance world, the more you bump into predatory products or things that are just scams. It's pretty amazing because some of these things have been around for decades and yet somehow continue to exist? Someone's gotta tackle that.

BZ: Are you building Yelp for Finance?

PC: Haha, definitely not, TradingView has plenty on the roadmap already, but if you know someone that is, definitely keep me posted.

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