I leaked information last Friday that I was going to be in the audience for the live broadcast of CNBC's Fast Money from Silicon Valley. This was to be my first experience as part of a live audience. Living in Boston for most of my life, the opportunities for being part of something on TV were limited to Spenser For Hire and, well that's about all that I can remember, but I imagine other things were filmed there. This was a special event for me because it was the first time that I could do something fun while working at home.
For those unfamiliar with Fast Money, as I was, the show is similar to a post-game wrap-up of the day's markets. It's largely about trading stocks over the short term rather than buying and holding. They may talk about Microsoft hitting 32 by next Friday for example. There are 5 people in a discussion panel headed by Dylan Ratigan. He's one of the hardest working CNBC employees as he seems to be everywhere at once. The following four people each have specialties that combine to form a vast knowledge of the markets. Guy Adami has expertise in the commodities market. Jeff Macke built up a company from scratch and seems to zig when the market is zagging. Pete Najarin is the options guru and former linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Minnesota Vikings. Karen Finerman runs her own hedge fund and sexes up the panel (whether she likes it or not). If you are interested you can read more about the panel here
I thought of a few ways I relate the whole experience, but I settled on keeping a diary like my favorite sportswriter, Bill Simmons, would do. Here's how it all played out:
- Friday, October 12th - I hear about Fast Money coming to Silicon Valley. Free tickets clinch my interest. I quickly go to CNBC and sign up.
- Saturday, October 13th - I receive a response about the taping asking me for additional information about myself. It asks that I include a picture of myself or bring ID to the show for "security reasons." I opt for the later, since I carry ID everywhere I go. The show airs at 2PM local time, but the letter requests that I arrive by 12:30. Seems like a lot of downtime.
- Thursday, October 18th - I receive a reminder of my ticket reservation the show requiring my response if I'm still interested. I reply back that I am.
Day of Show:
- 10:00 AM - Time for me to prepare for the show. This means printing out the waiver form as well as the ticket reservation letter.
- 10:05 - Going through the waiver... no cameras, no cell phones, no communication devices of any kind to prevent trading before the end of the show. Did I mention that this is airing live and after trading hours? At most there's a 5 second delay before the panel says something and it is broadcast. Also note that these people have no inside information that they can talk about.
- 10:06 - Going through the ticket reservation letter... I notice that this is my "reservation for 1 FREE ticket" and that "Since tickets are free, we honor a first-come, first-serve policy. THIS IS NOT A TICKET." Seriously, look at this letter. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "You know how to take the reservation. You just don't know how to hold the reservation. And the hold is the most important part of the reservation! Anyone can just take reservations!"
- 10:07 - Hmmm, "dress code is business attire." I wonder if that's New York business attire or Silicon Valley business attire. There's a huge difference there. I'm going to assume New York, but this could be interesting
- 10:45 - I get my suit from the closet. I haven't needed it since I moved to Silicon Valley. Where is my white dress shirt? Oh there it is. Wait this doesn't fit! It's one of my wife's military shirts. Good fun, but I still can't find any of my dress shirts. After trying on 2 more shirts, I find something that can pass as long as I wear my coat the entire time.
- 10:46 - 12:20 - Everything with getting dressed and going to the Computer History Museum goes very uneventfully, but that's all about to change... in part 2.
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