T3 Reflection from Josh Brown of Ritholtz Wealth Management

Joel was one of the first established tastemakers to ever put me on a stage in front of the industry. In the early days, I had a platform, but it was my own platform. I had the blog, and I had a television platform that reached the retail investor, but no one in the industry was particularly excited about me being at their events or saying the things I was saying. To Joel’s credit, I think he saw past the idea that ‘these bloggers, they’re out of control, they’re saying things that no one’s policing … all these people do is they get a URL and they just say whatever they want to say.’ Joel was relatively early in terms of saying, ‘you are saying things that people are reacting to positively or negatively, I think you’d be a great presence at the event, and I’d love to have you come out.’ And this is way before I had really accomplished anything of note in the industry. So he saw past a lot of the things that others couldn’t, and he platformed me for better or for worse. Now you’re all stuck with me, but I want to give Joel credit for doing that. It was an important milestone for me. 

To me, content is not a luxury, its table stacks. There’s no reason to have an event if the content is not good. We’ve seen a bunch of events disappear in the last couple of years because they couldn’t even do the bare minimum in terms of putting something compelling on stage. I know it’s hard, so no disrespect, but the experiential part around the content is important; I think now everybody really gets that and everyone wants to lean into that. When I started to attend T3, they had that experiential part in place –  not in terms of it being a spectacle per se (that’s my department) but more in terms of the camaraderie and especially when somebody new shows up. 

I remember attending the first dinner the first year I went to T3. I didn’t know anybody. I ended up at a table for 24. Interestingly, Joel and his wife were at that table. How many financial advisor industry events do you attend where the chair of the event itself invites you to dinner, almost as though you are family, your first time there? That’s one of the things that sets T3 apart from some of the more buttoned up corporate, sterile events. 

This year, I really want to get a sense of how serious all this AI talk is. I’m very interested to hear if any of that AI stuff is truly translating into our space. We’ve got some dollars on the line with some people that have pitched us AI stuff. But I really hope that at T3 this year, there’s going to be some tangible evidence that AI is a factor in our space in 2024. I really don’t know, so I’m going with an open mind. 

So the main reason to go to any event, I think, is networking. How can you possibly get better at doing this if you’re not conversing with the people who are really good, if you’re not trying to better yourself by meeting people who are doing great? Why T3? I think the legacy of just how many important breakthroughs have been hosted at T3, also, the stature of the attendees. The last thing is Joel; it’s 20 years this guy has gone the distance. T3 has withstood the test of time. So if anything, come out to celebrate that; for our industry, that’s a big milestone. 

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