I hardly even know where to begin this post. I’ve certainly been thinking about it a long time, but I don’t think I can do the subject matter justice. Perhaps I’m overestimating its importance, but it matters a lot to me: today marks, to the day, the 10th anniversary of the Slope of Hope.
Perhaps I’ll start the way some books do: with acknowledgements. I have worked long and hard over the past decade to create everything that Slope is, but there are some people (among the tens of thousands who have frequented here) that I must call out with special gratitude. In no particular order:
- Springheel Jack – I live on the Pacific coast of the U.S., and the market opens at 6:30 in the morning. I get up at 5:30 in the morning to get ready for the day, and with my many family responsibilities, I don’t really have time to do a quality morning post. This is where Springheel Jack has ridden to the rescue, day after day, week after week, year after year. I cannot thank him enough for the mountain of excellent content he has provided or for the thousands of mornings he has liberated me. We are all grateful to you, sir!
- BDI – Ah, yes, our beloved hero from Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. BDI has penned some of the most epic posts here on Slope and has entertained, surprised, and shocked Slopers all over the world. I’ve never met the man, or even spoken to him on the phone, but he has left a permanent mark on the blog. BDI has largely ventured off to other things these days, but he still makes his presence known, and I consider this man whose very existence I have to take on faith to be a true friend.
- Nathan – I firmly believe the Slope experience is far and away the best of any financial blog on the entire Internet, and that is thanks to a brilliant young man I had the good fortune to find some years ago – Nathan. I have been blessed over the years with finding a handful of geniuses to help me create the stuff that I can envision but cannot, on my own, develop myself. SocialTrade, the comments system, and the entire infrastructure that runs Slope and Slope+ are all thanks to him, and I deeply respect both his towering intellect and his development prowess. (As an aside, I have the pleasure right now of collaborating with another brilliant fellow who is working with me to develop the Next Big Thing, but we won’t go into that now!)
- Dutch – What would Slope be without Dutch? King of binary options, Queen of quote fests, and slave to no man. Dutch is an American original, and he’s even more amazing in person (such as at one of the many SlopeFests he has selflessly organized through the years).
- Strawberry Blonde – Yes, my friends, there are actual females here on Slope, and one of them in particular has provided some of the best charts and analysis ever presented in these digital halls. Many thanks, SB!
- Dollar – The main reason I don’t need to bother going to any news sites is thanks to the venerable Dollar. He keeps the hot information flowing in the comments section, and he tirelessly makes this blog your one-stop-shop for just about anything interesting happening in the world.
- Slope Plus subscribers – Let me tell you, blogging is not the path to untold riches, and it’s not easy to cobble together a living from writing something like this. A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea of a “premium” experience here on Slope, and enough people (bless them all) have signed up for Slope Plus as to make the many hours I spend here worthwhile. Honestly, this effort simply wouldn’t be economically rational without them, and I am deeply grateful for their support, their willingness to contribute, and their interest in my ideas. (Incidentally, if you don’t want to subscribe to Slope Plus but do want to kick a few dollars my way as a thank-you, I’m not too proud to refuse – here’s the Donate link!)
- Iggy – Iguanadon is sort of the Scarecrow from one of the final scenes of Wizard of Oz (‘I’m going to miss you most of all“). Iggy has been one of the mainstays of Slope for years, and he has been an ardent supporter and consistent presence on the site. Never has bacon had a more steadfast spokesman. And he’s been a real friend to me personally.
I was curious to see what other bloggers had to say about their own ten years of blogging, because it’s awfully unusual to go this far. Most of what I found were marketing sites with cheap come-ons to sell business services. I gather the vast majority of blogs that have been around more than a decade are simply those who sell services to other bloggers. (Big Picture is a notable exception, and bless Barry for sticking with it so many years!)
One fellow I found in the 10-year club actually is a legitimate blogger, and he proudly pointed out he had written 867 posts. Well, I can’t claim to have written everything on Slope – – as shown above, there are many fine contributors to the site – – but we certainly have beat 867. I’ve easily written more than twelve thousand posts, and counting others, we’re probably not that far away from twenty thousand. Suffice it to say that Slope has cranked out a staggering amount of content over the years. If it were printed in book form, it would take up a very large shelf.
And what a long ten years they have been! Just think about how much has changed since that pleasant early Spring morning in Cancun in 2005 when I typed my very first post. The financial crisis was three years off. Hardly anyone in the world had heard of Barack Obama. The national debt was less than $8 trillion, far less than half what it is today. Facebook was a relatively small social network available on a few college campuses. And ZeroHedge was years away from springing to life. It was a very, very different universe back then.
A Change for the Better
Over the past few days, I have been thinking quite a bit about what, if anything, I’d like to change about the blog. After quite a bit of soul-searching, I’ve finally decided to change one thing, starting now: I’m taking the “mean” out of Slope.
The past six years out of Slope’s ten have been very hard on the bears, a group in which I consider myself a card-carrying member. These challenges, brewed in a stew of all the disturbing things going around us that I sincerely believe will lead to a darker future, have caused me, on occasion, to express myself in a tone so angry that it delved into ugly.
I’ve seen the other side of ugly, though, and it has given me some perspective. Destruction is much easier than creation, and at my core, I am repelled by destruction and hate. Angry lashings and venom are the crude, blunt objects of an unsophisticated mind. Puerile rantings aren’t helpful. They’re not good for you, and over the long haul, they’re not good for me. So they are history. I’m capable of far better things, as I think I’ve occasionally demonstrated, and you certainly deserve the best I am able to deliver, both professionally and personally.
Does this mean Slope loses its edginess? Not at all. One can be witty, wry, and even biting without being mean. Simply stated, I’d much rather emulate someone like a David Stockman, who uses his intellect to make erudite analysis that is far from lollipops and sunshine, as opposed to some other bloggers (and, occasionally, myself) who churn out bile. I’ve decided to stay on the high road from here on out, and if I ever stray, call me on it. This is a kinder, gentler Slope of Hope.
Slope In Perpetuity
One question I sometimes ask myself is: how long am I going to keep doing this? As much as I appreciate everyone else’s work, let’s face it – – if I stop, Slope stops. I don’t really have an answer to that question. I have no plans to stop this blog, and in spite of time pressures, I simply enjoy it too much (and feel too loyal to the many participants) to even consider it.
I’m not a very social sort, but in a way I feel like I’ve been hosting a party that’s been going on for 10 years, morning, noon, and night. There’s simply too much going on, and maybe I’ll still be cranking out posts from my deathbed. Time will tell.
In the meantime, Slope is precisely what I had always hoped: a haven. A place where people can safely gather to share, collaborate, commiserate, cogitate, or invigorate. Want to see the best visual representation I have of Slope? Look no further………please watch this to understand:
All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain
And all I can do is just pour some tea for two
and speak my point of view
But it’s not sane, It’s not sane
I just want some one to say to me
I’ll always be there when you wake
Ya know I’d like to keep my cheeks dry today
So stay with me and I’ll have it made
And I don’t understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there’s no rain
I am grateful and humbled by the presence all of you who come here. We have done great things over the past ten years together, you and I. And I genuinely believe that Slope’s best days are ahead of us.
So shines a good deed in a weary world. Welcome to year eleven.