The Waldorf=Astoria, Jim Cramer, a discussion of the future of financial media… why this sense of deja vu? In a keynote discussion with Money:Tech organizer Paul Kedrosky, TheStreet.com founder waxed giddily on the markets, the way investors consume data and the way things have changed since the launch of TheStreet.com (NSDQ: TSCM). The oddest, yet most predictable point of the discussion: about halfway through, Cramer segued into full-on Mad Money mode, giving his quickfire views on everything from tech stocks to forestry products, coal and bonds. In fact the discussion ended with his views on Google (NSDQ: GOOG) stock (FYI: Cramer likes it long term).
– Proto-blogger: Cramer started off talking about the early days of TheStreet.com, which Kedrosky likened to a proto-blog, because of the constant updates. Cramer agreed and conveyed the idea that nobody had any idea back then how the business would work. He regrets TheStreet.com’s early choice to go with the subscription model. They were taken by surprise by the big financial media companies that started offering free content: “It was inconceivable to me that Reuters (NSDQ: RTRSY) would give it (content) away.” Amusing anecdote: Disney (NYSE: DIS) had the change to take a big chunk of TheStreet.com shares pre-IPO that it could have flipped on the opening day of trading for a $100 million profit. But the company never got the paperwork in to take the stake.
– Data business: Bloomberg is constantly innovating: “Reuters-Thomson… they have to recognize that everyday Bloomberg comes up with a new function.” It will introduce new data products constantly based on what people are talking about. “Everything else is commoditized.” Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) could have done it, but didn’t. Instead, said Cramer, who clearly held a grudge at Dow Jones’ then-management, their arrogance took them down in “Shakespearian” fashion. “Other than Bloomberg, nobody has an edge.” Bloomberg is the Google of the data business.
– MSFT-YHOO: He believes the deal is likely to happen, but that without it, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) is finished. “We may actually have a competitor to Google if these two teams get together… Yahoo was going away rather remarkably fast.” He noted that both IAC (NSDQ: IACI) (Ask.com) and AOL (NYSE: TWX) via Time Warner initially jumped on the day the offer was announced, but ended up down: “The fact that those went down by the end of the day just shows their total and utter worthlessness.” More after the jump.
– Commodity models: The market gyrations of the summer, Cramer believes, have to do with the fact that everyone has the same data and the same models. Everyone gets the same sell signals on the same stocks, so everything is exacerbated.
– BankingMyWay: On BankingMyWay, which TheStreet.com recently acquired: “What I really in the end is to refinance… I put in my zip code and it has the seven banks around me.”
– Online real estate: Wants to see: sites that aggregate data on foreclosed properties and properties that have come down quickly in value. Obviously, that’s an ephemeral product, whose appeal is very much tied to this particular real estate market. But it gets back to the point on Bloomberg, that there’s a need to keep innovating in terms of data presentation.
– What he reads: Cramer reads various blogs as well as SeekingAlpha, and sees it as a farm team for future TheStreet.com columnists