Panic with Friends - Howard Lindzon

Hello, I’m Howard. I’ve been a financial industry entrepreneur and investor for over 20 years. I am a General Partner at Social Leverage - we invest in seed stage software companies. I was a co-founder of Stocktwits and a seed investor in Robinhood and Etoro. On this podcast, you will hear interviews with great entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, traders, and friends about their companies, their track records, and their new fave ideas and trends. This includes best ideas, worst investments, biggest failure, daily habits, and recommended reading. I know your time is precious, so I promise to keep it simple and on point.

Bobby Matson of on Navigating the C...
I’m excited to have Bobby Matson, founder and CEO of, back on the podcast. The last time he was on the show was in April of 2020, less than a month into the global COVID panic. Since then, 45 million plus Americans with student debt have kicked the can down the road. Until now.  Bobby is a self-taught coder. He and his wife had student loan debt to deal with, so they built a product called to help sort it out. Their API allows financial apps to empower borrowers with ways to assess and address their student debt while freeing up cash to invest or spend.  And while there’s been a “pause” in repayment, student debt did not go away. The problem was just brushed aside for a couple of years. During those few years, Bobby and his team went and built other debt API products. But as repayments are starting up again, the “phones have been ringing off the hook” as everybody tries to catch up. Bobby and his team stayed in the game, didn’t overspend their VC money, and kept things under control. Full disclosure – Social Leverage is an investor in
47 min
Dave Finocchio of The Cool Down on Building End...
I’m excited to have my new friend Dave Finocchio on the podcast. I met Dave on my golf trip to Ireland, and we hit it off on the long bus ride. He stands out because he’s focused and insanely smart. He’s the founder of the Bleacher Report, which was acquired for north of $200M, and is now working on The Cool Down – his attempt to build the world’s first mainstream climate brand. Dave’s taken everything he’s learned in sports and media over the years and is applying it to climate change.  We have a wide-ranging conversation on what it was like to start a media company back in the day, and what it takes now. We discuss new trends that are emerging in media, like TikTok, his investment in 5-Iron Golf, and a whole lot more. Enjoy!
55 min
Wall Street Legend Jim O'Shaughnessy - A Calm V...
My good friend Jim O’Shaughnessy is back for a third appearance on Panic with Friends. He was my very first guest on the show way back in March of 2020, right at the start of the Global Pandemic. He wasn’t panicking then, and he’s not panicking now. I wanted to check in with Jim to see how his spider tingly sense feels around the markets right now. He’s more of a systems guy and doesn’t time the market, but I wanted to get his calm assessment of what the world looks like.  One thing the 'yutes' need to keep in mind during this market turmoil is that they’re “time billionaires”. And you should use that to your advantage. You definitely want to exchange that time for risk.  I hope you enjoy our wide-ranging conversation on life, family, investing, and the markets.
65 min
Best of Panic: Jason Hirschhorn of REDEF (Part ...
In this episode, Jason covers the future of new media and streaming and the explosion of the creator economy. Looking back, I believe that YouTube created the first explosion in the creator economy and today it is a bunch of new media platforms combined with decentralization and tokens that will create an even bigger explosion which Jason predicts will be a ‘more equitable’ version of the creator economy.
48 min
Best of Panic: Jason Hirschhorn of REDEF (Part ...
As long time listeners know, I’ve taken a few weeks off from the podcast to go climb mountains on my bike. The bike phase is over, and it ended with a crescendo when I spent my 57th birthday climbing Stelvio. So far I’ve gone from San Diego to Toronto, to New York, to Italy, to Germany and I’m now in Tel Aviv – nearing the end of the third week of five weeks on the road. To fill the gap, I’m doing reruns of some of my favorite Panic with Friends episodes. This one with my pal Jason Hirschorn is from March of 2021. Best of Panic: I was excited about having Jason Hirschhorn on the ‘Panic’ podcast and he did not disappoint. This interview turned into a two part series so lean back for this first part which covers Jason’s long history at MTV, Slingbox, News Corp and MySpace. Jason has some great stories that were fun for me to listen to because I have met a lot of the same people in my short media stint at CBS. I have not met another person who is so passionate about movies, music and streaming.= In the second interview (rerunning next week), Jason covers the future of new media and streaming and the explosion of the creator economy. Looking back, I believe that YouTube created the first explosion in the creator economy and today it is a bunch of new media platforms combined with decentralization and tokens that will create an even bigger explosion which Jason predicts will be a ‘more equitable’ version of the creator economy.
58 min
Best of Panic: Ted Merz, Journalist Turned Prod...
Long time listeners know I’ve taken a few weeks off to go climb some mountains on my bike. I’ve just departed Lake Como, wrapping up this leg of my crazy cycling ‘adventurecation’. You can follow my rides on the Strava app. In the meantime, I’ve been doing reruns of some of my favorite Panic with Friends episodes. This episode from January of 2021 is with my good friend Ted Merz. He’s moved on from Bloomberg, but his insights on social media and data are spot on. Best of Panic: (January, 2021) My friend Ted Merz at Bloomberg has one of the most interesting jobs in the world. Ted has been at Bloomberg since 1991 and today heads Bloomberg’s Global News Product. That is a complicated job and this is a complicated era of news considering the 24/7/365 flow of information, misinformation and of course news. Ted makes it all look easy. I miss visiting with him at the Bloomberg HQ. I love talking to Ted about Twitter and the rest of social media and the deals he has had to cut and the way he thinks about data. One of the best compliments I have gotten is having Ted tell me he enjoys my writing style and reading my daily blog. That is not why I invited him on as a guest, but it is definitely one reason I am so happy I started to write in the first place and a motivating factor for me to keep writing!
52 min
Best of Panic: Frank Rotman of QED Investors - ...
I’m still off from the podcast circuit climbing mountains on my bike, but will be back in the studio soon. The reruns of some of my favorite podcasts continue for now. This one from December of ‘21 with Frank Rotman of QED Investors is one you’ll want to listen to a few times for sure. It’s great historical perspective for where we’re at now, and evergreen enough to inform any evolving investment strategy.   Best of Panic: My guest today is a fintech operator turned investor. Frank is the real deal. He spent almost 13 years at Capital One, is the co-founder of QED Investors, and made the Midas List of Top 100 Investors FOUR times. Everybody is a fanboy of somebody, and I’m a fanboy of Frank for sure – he has the amazing ability to spot leaders in the fintech space and has done it for a long period of time. In our business you get rewarded with a lot of money to manage and QED has just raised a fresh billion dollars. I learned a lot from this conversation and think every investor can do the same.
55 min
Best of Panic: Michelle Zatlyn of Cloudflare on...
Long time listeners know I've taken a few weeks off the podcast circuit to go climb some mountains on my bike. In the meantime, I'm doing reruns of some of my favorite Panic with Friends episodes. This one with Michelle Zatlyn aired back in November of ‘21. If you missed it when it came out, now is a good time to catch up. And don't worry, I'll be back in the podcast booth soon. I’m excited to have my friend and fellow Canadian, Michelle Zatlyn, on the show. We’re going to talk about the internet today. Podcasts wouldn’t exist without it, and you’d be unable to appreciate the banter between Knut and I. But this just feels like the right time in the right moment to talk about the internet. Michelle is just the right person to talk about it with. She’s the co-founder, President, and COO of Cloudflare – the company that helps the internet work. We discuss security, how things really work on the internet, where Cloudflare is headed, and how the hell you grow even faster during COVID.
60 min
Best of Panic: Nicholas Adler on Crypto, Collec...
Howard has taken a few weeks off the podcast circuit to go climb some mountains on his bike. In the meantime, we’re doing reruns of some of our favorite Panic with Friends episodes. This one with Nick Adler aired back in October of ‘21. If you missed it when it came out, now is a good time to catch up.  Today’s episode is with a new friend, Nick Adler. I’m not sure the best way to describe him – he’s a lawyer, entertainment wiz, and works with the one and only Snoop Dogg himself. They’ve gone on a massive run together, and we get into crypto and NFTs and collectibles and digital. Tons of people can talk about the technical side of it, Nick lays out the culture and community. There’s so much movement, there’s so much happening, and celebrity culture is at the center of it. They’re not passengers anymore. This crypto, digital NFT boom will have a million different use cases for a million different categories: from insurance to real estate, and more. And IP and creative and art and content, is all going to change radically due to these tools and technologies. It’s a blank canvas if you’re willing to be adventurous and take chances.
44 min
Best of Panic: Garry Tan of Initialized Capital...
I’m taking a few weeks off to go climb some mountains on my bike. In the meantime, I’ll be doing reruns of some of my Panic with Friends favorites, like this one with Garry Tan. This episode aired back in September of 21. If you missed it when it first came out, now is a good time to catch up. I think you’ll really enjoy it.  Garry is a unique individual I’ve only met a couple of times. He says he’s a fan of the show, so he knows how to sell. His resume is bananas – something we love on Panic with Friends; they may not be famous to everyone, but they’re famous to me! Garry is a Stanford Graduate, was at Y Combinator in the heyday, and was partners with Alexis Ohanian (founder of Reddit). If that weren’t enough, Garry was a seed investor in Coinbase. Oh, and Garry’s now part of my go-to list on the crypto space along with Fred Wilson and Chris Dixon.
55 min
Erik Groset of BetFully on Building a Legal Spo...
Today’s guest, Erik Groset - Co-founder of Fantasy Sports Company and CEO of BetFully, is a friend of mine from San Diego. He’s a cool founder – a grinder, and he’s in our fund too – Social Leverage Fund II. I met Erik while still living in Coronado, back in the dog days of legal battles with DraftKings when everybody was trying to get gambling approved. Erick stayed alive building a cash flow business around the edges with BetFully, which is why I wanted to talk with him about what it’s like being a successful founder.  In addition, I wanted him to give us the lay of the land on this inflation apocalypse he’s worried about as the summer of 2022 rages on. Founders everywhere are worried about layoffs, and there’s a lot of young money in the market over the last 10 years – Erik has been through a few cycles, so we catch up to share some wisdom for other founders out there. I really think you’ll enjoy this episode, so have a listen. One fun fact, Erik has also written a children’s book – Bruce the Lumberjack: Fun Interactive Bedtime Book for Toddlers
35 min
Will Ahmed of WHOOP is on a Mission to Unlock H...
Today’s guest is Will Ahmed, founder and CEO of WHOOP, a wearable technology/fitness company that fits smack in the middle of what I like to call ‘fashology’ – technology meets fashion. The device tracks and measures strain, recovery, and sleep. The brand is well received by pro athletes like LeBron James, Michael Phelps and over half of the PGA Tour; but can it help Howard? Those who have followed me for a while know I’m fascinated with sleep fitness and I have a WHOOP, but there are difficult customers, and then there’s me. We discuss what it would take to have Howie back on the WHOOP wagon.  Will started the company in Boston right after graduating from Harvard – his first company, and his first full time job. Ten years later the brand continues to unlock human performance and save lives. Some of the smartest people I look up to on things like fitness, brains, and style are super bullish on WHOOP; to include Arizona Cardinal Kelvin Beachum, Jr., Brad Feld, and Ryan Spoon.
49 min
Rob Petrozzo of Rally on a Panic with Friends D...
I’m excited to have my good friend Rob Petrozzo, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Rally on this special episode of Panic with Friends. It’s the first Panic with Friends dual podcast, so it won’t be a format you’re used to. A lot more of me as Rob dual tracks this episode for Rally’s new podcast, The Best Money I Ever Spent. Rob’s spent the last several years building Rally into an amazing platform that makes fractional investing safe, easy, and accessible. 
61 min
Back to the Future with Om Malik of True Ventur...
I’m excited to bring my good friend Om Malik back for a third round of Panic. Om is a partner at True Ventures, a $2B venture capital firm in San Francisco. They have made over 300 investments including WordPress, Peloton, Fitbit, and Blue Bottle Coffee. He’s a super smart guy to talk to. He worries about the future, invests in the future, and talks about the future. It’s important to talk about the future especially when the current situation is bleak – with a tech crash and valuations coming down. I don’t think there’s a panic, we’re just witnessing the end of an era. We could whine about it, or we could look past it and figure out where technology is going next; which is what I’m doing. I don’t think what’s worked for me over the last 12 years will work going forward. Om is here to help me sort it out.
43 min
Lewis Johnson of Capital Wealth Advisors on the...
I’m excited to have my fishing buddy, Lewis Johnson, back for another round of Panic. He runs a couple billion dollars as the CIO of Capital Wealth Advisors. Lewis was first on in November of 2020 when we realized we might not die from COVID and the Fed was printing money and we were in market Nirvana. Back then we talked value and growth and commodities because Lewis understands cycles. He’d seen the worst stretch of value stocks versus growth stocks in the last 200 years. In this episode we talk cycles and supply chains and commodities and a strong dollar and valuation and the deglobalization cycle we find ourselves in now. What Lewis has is expertise, which is why I enjoy talking to investors like him at different points in time to expand my knowledge.
44 min
Serge Kassardjian of StayTuned and 6th Man Vent...
Today’s guest, Serge Kassardjian, is the co-founder and CEO of StayTuned Digital, and a partner at 6th Man Ventures. He got his MBA from Harvard and Bachelors and Masters in Engineering from Stanford, where he was the President of his class. Serge is a fighter, an entrepreneur with irons in the fire of two incredibly volatile sectors – e-commerce and crypto, so he’s the perfect guest to come on Panic with Friends. As the pundits at CNBCq say ‘the markets are in turmoil’; and it’s not just crypto, but our beloved e-commerce stocks, including Amazon $AMZN and Shopify $SHOP, that are taking a beating. We discuss StayTuned Digital, which is a Shopify roll-up, but not in the classic sense of rolling up e-commerce stores – they’re rolling up software companies on the app side. We get into Serge’s love of STEPN – the crypto/web3 lifestyle app, and what the future crypto/web3 ecosystem might look like for us ‘normies’. (Full disclosure: StayTuned is a Social Leverage (Fund III) portfolio company.)
40 min
Matt Ober of Social Leverage on Embracing Data,...
Today’s guest, Matt Ober, is a really good friend of mine. We laugh about everything – but now we’re laughing on the same team, which is the best. Matt joined Social Leverage as a GP a few months ago – and he’s the upgrade we’ve needed to think about the future as the surface of tech continues to expand. Matt was most recently the Chief Data Scientist at Third Point. Prior to that he was head of Data Strategy at WorldQuant and part of the WorldQuant Ventures founding team focused on private investments. Matt is based out of New York City, which gives us boots on the ground there as the web evolves into the next web. He’s also started his own company, which we talk a little bit about; I’m always excited to have people on our team who have companies – it keeps the entrepreneurial juices flowing. Matt is wicked smart and knows the business. We overachieved by bringing him on board. He’s got all the gifts – he knows how to be social, and how to ask the right questions.
38 min
Abe Finkelstein of Vintage Investment Partners ...
I’m excited for today’s guest, Abe Finkelstein. For over five years I’ve been picking his and his partners' brains, which is why I love this job – I love being able to tap into the wealth of knowledge from people like Abe. He’s a GP at Vintage Investment Partners based out of Israel – a $3 billion fund of funds with an interesting model. We talk Israel, we talk growth, we talk about tech and how all this stuff works – all the parts of the system and how you get capital. Prior to joining Vintage in 2003, Abe was an equity analyst with Goldman Sachs covering Israeli technology companies. Before Goldman, Abe was Vice President at US Bancorp Piper Jafray, where he helped start and then headed their Israel technology shares institutional sales effort. Abe has a BS in Economics from the Wharton School, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.
41 min
The WSJ's own Spencer Jakab - Research Analyst ...
My special guest today is Spencer Jakab from the Wall Street Journal – I say special because I’m doing something I rarely do – talking about stuff that’s fascinating to me. Normally I’m fascinated by the people, but don’t understand half the stuff we talk about because I’m learning; whether it’s crypto or trading. This episode is near and dear to my heart because we’ve got a true journalist on the show, not because he went to journalism school, but because after spending a decade at Credit Suisse, Spencer went out and learned journalism on the job. He’s the editor of the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street column, and he recently published The Revolution That Wasn’t. And Spencer is one of the good guys. We’ve hung out quite a bit – he’s always been supportive of community and he understands what it’s like to build brand and how hard it is to survive in the financial world. It’s safe to say he’ll be a recurring guest here on Panic. Enjoy the episode.
50 min
Ross Mason of Dig Ventures on Going Down the Cr...
My buddy Ross is back for round two of Panic. He’s the open source guru who started Mulesoft – which was well covered in our previous interview (EP.103) – but today we’re going down the crypto/NFT rabbit hole. And if there’s anybody outside of Fred Wilson, Chris Dixon, and the people at Multicoin I’d trust on this topic, it’s Ross. That’s because he’s the king of open source. A crown I’ve bestowed on him, mostly because he’s the only one I know in open source. Not only is Ross a unicorn founder, he’s also a seed investor in a unicorn through his fund, Dig Ventures. He’s been on both sides of the table, which is why I brought him in as a board member for $SLAC the SPAC. Nowadays Ross splits his time between Switzerland and Amsterdam, one of my top five favorite cities in the world. I’ll be catching up with Ross in Amsterdam this week! Be sure to follow along on Twitter.
52 min
Market Technician Helene Meisler of RealMoney.c...
Today’s guest is a master of the markets. I’ve been following her work since the start of To say she’s a fan of the markets is an understatement. Helene got started in the markets in 1982 at Cowen and Co and then moved on to Goldman Sachs where she was their first ever technical analyst. And she learned early on that if you're going to work at Goldman you're going to put your money where your mouth is. Today she’s a mentor to thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people that like to think clearly about the markets and learn about technical analysis and price and sentiment – all the things that make markets work. The stories are fantastic – the weird dynamics you have to deal with when running people's money, being an analyst, and building stock charts by hand – she’s a legend with a great sense of humor. You can find her on FinTwit talking about all this stuff every day.
47 min
Mike Dudas of 6th Man Ventures on Crypto/NFTs, ...
Today’s guest is someone I’ve hung out with a few times, but mostly we’ve banged into each other on Twitter over the years. Mike Dudas is a fireball of creativity. He got the nickname ‘Foodas’ because his weight bounces around like Oprah. And I call him the White, Jewish Oprah. I’m an LP in his fund, 6th Man Ventures, which he started with his pal Serge Kassardjian. Before that Mike was the founder of The Block, where I was a small personal investor who tried to talk him out of doing that. He’s been on every side of the field, up and down and around; VC Investor, Founder, Trader, you name it. Mike was the co-founder of Button, a mobile marketing platform. He’s worked at Google, Braintree/Venmo, and PayPal. Mike started his career in corporate M&A at Disney. He’s got a BA from Stanford and an MBA from Kellogg. There’s a lot to learn here, and I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it.
43 min
Ryan Spoon of Sorare on the Intersection of Fan...
In this episode my good friend Ryan Spoon makes his Panic debut. We’ve known each other forever on the internet and met in person about seven years ago when Greg Bettinelli introduced us at the Upfront conference. Ryan is a great connector – a super connector; and a platinum Social Leverage investor in all of our funds. Ryan is an operator extraordinaire. He was a senior vice president of digital and social at ESPN for eight years. He’s seen growth, he knows sports, he knows mobile, he knows entertainment.  And now he’s the COO of Sorare – the intersection of fantasy sports, blockchain, and community. You’ve heard me say it often: the world needs operators. Everybody can start a company, everybody has an idea, and until a few months ago, everybody could raise money; put all this together and no one knows what the hell they’re doing and what we need are operators.
51 min
David Woo, former Wall Street Investment Strate...
Today’s guest is David Woo, a former Wall Street Investment Strategist and now the CEO of David Woo Unbound, where he’s leveling the playing field for Main Street. His blog, podcast, and YouTube are a global forum promoting fact-based debates about markets, politics, and economics. David was previously the Head of Global Rates, Foreign Exchange, and Emerging Market Fixed Income and Economics Research at Bank of America. He holds a Ph.D in Economics from Columbia. We’re just over two years from the last market panic, and I thought it was important to bring him on to talk global macro since we find ourselves smack in the middle of another panic – inflation, rising interest rates, markets melting, and the possibility of total war. He’s got some really strong opinions, ideas, and forecasts I thought I should share. Enjoy!
44 min
Former NBA Player Omri Casspi on Moving from th...
Today’s guest is former NBA player Omri Casspi. Notably, he’s the first Israeli drafted to play in the NBA, he’s the managing director of the Omri Casspi Foundation, he’s got a VC fund, he’s even got his own podcast. Omri is now part of this crossover group of athletes in the right place at the right time. Less than a year after retiring, he co-founded his fund Sheva (seven in Hebrew) with David Citron. Their $50 million fund is focused on pre-seed and seed stage high-tech startups. I had a chance to spend time one on one with Omri in Tel Aviv and am suitably impressed. (Full disclosure: I’m an investor in his fund.) And now he’s back for an in-depth discussion on moving from professional sports to investing. Enjoy. 
46 min