Matt Kohrs had just come off his seven-hour Friday YouTube livestream titled “AMC & GameStop: MASSIVE GAINS,” which totaled 377,000 views among a fellowship of like-minded “apes” – the simian name given to retail investors who upended the Wall Street elite earlier this year by putting GameStop GME into an unexpected ascension.
And why are these investors called “apes”? Kohrs noted the term is an example of reverse psychology that uses the financial elite’s barely-disguised indifference (or worse) of retail investors as a badge of honor.
“Wall Street refers to retail investors as dumb money – we’re just dumb 'apes' that don’t know what we’re doing,” he explained.
In an interview with Benzinga, Kohrs discussed the rise of the "apes" and how they are leveling the investing playing field, whether the elite likes it or not.
BZ: Today’s retail investors bring an unprecedented level of enthusiasm to the table. What is the fuel that powers this enthusiasm?
MK: I've been trading now for maybe the better part of the decade, and I haven't seen it either. It's just something resonating with so many different people across so many different backgrounds, and all of these people are coming together.
I think it's becoming more like a social and cultural movement.
I look at my demographics of my analytics, and a lot of the people either directly experienced 2008 and 2009, or they had a parent that did.
But starting in late January, I think they saw that like the narrative of David and Goliath, you can actually fight back.
And then, I think there's maybe some other psychological phenomena going on in the group.
We've all been in our house and apartment for a year, and people were looking to do something connected to a community – and that had to be through the internet.
Then, other people went through a huge amount of financial hardship throughout the year and saw this as a money-making opportunity.
I'm happy where I'm at on YouTube and Twitter, but in the world of social media, I'm very small.
Today, though, there's a good chance I may have been the number one live streamer today – people were telling me that I had more concurrent viewership than people with millions of subscribers, which shows you the insatiable amount of passion for this group.
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Isn’t it fascinating that these changes have occurred so quickly, catching the elite off-guard?
It wasn't until recently that you could even get connected to a broker so easily – years ago, you had to call someone to make trades.
Technology has helped with that, especially within this past year, with so many people just sitting inside, getting on apps, and trying to figure out more ways to make money. I think that played a big part in it.
But the psychology of it is very much that of the 99 versus the one, where the one thinks they're better. They think they know how to control money, and they think they know the best for everyone.
That is the outlook that people in this group are trying to battle.
One of the biggest ones is [Lightshed Partners analyst] Rich Greenfield. A month ago, he came out with a price target on AMC AMC of one cent.
And now he's been doing his rounds on CNBC talking about how it has to go down and blah, blah, blah.
That guy never even acknowledged the fact that there's a high short interest, and there's a huge community behind it trying to play it the other way.
That's dangerous investment advice, and I don't know how you could reasonably give that to someone.
Many mainstream media outlets were aghast when GameStop and AMC took off because of the "apes." What can these media outlets do to be more in touch with what today's retail investors are looking for?
I think it's just more of that classic status quo – they know how things run. But the world is so rapidly changing because of technology that you can't just do with the status quo.
Because things like this happened, people like me who absolutely had no platform can have a voice. I had the most minuscule platform at the start of this, and now, within this domain, I’ve become a known person.
The old-school media would call up the CEOs of companies and investment bankers from a shortlist of people to contact, but the internet has given access to a new community, and this wasn’t even a thing a couple of months ago.
After AMC and GameStop, what is the next investment going to the moon?
I have no prediction of the next one going up to the moon because you don't know where the social support is going to fall.
A lot of people were talking about Dogecoin DOGE/USD, and then that kind of got weird with Elon, but there's still a giant Doge community.
That's another one that traditional financial media like it pulls its hair out. They're like, ‘How could this happen? Why is it going up so much?’ I remember watching CNBC commentators, and they just didn't get it.
Where do the "apes" see AMC and GameStop heading?
I don't like putting out price predictions.
But with AMC, in the chat today, there were 40,000 to 45,000 people watching who said they were going to go see a movie this weekend.
It's anecdotal, and it's not the best research, but to me, that tells you something – there's a renewed interest in seeing movies in the theaters, which is in contrast to what some of these traditional analysts are calling.
With GameStop, now with Ryan Cohen on board from Chewy CHWY, there is more pivoting become e-commerce for eSports
I’m very bullish on the future of eSports, and it's a natural fit for GameStop.
Photo courtesy Matt Kohrs' Instagram page.
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