Disruption and discipline. Taken apart, they are ordinary. Fused and forged together, they are the fuel that has launched Brett Sifling's parabolic career in finance.
For years, investors have been hypnotized by the notion that the ideal Financial Advisor sports gray hair, taps out buy orders on his Blackberry and ducks out of the office for 1PM tee times. But if we've learned anything from over a decade of economic disruption, even "white shoe" Wall Street is vulnerable to a younger generation untethered to outdated ideas. Like many of his generation, technology quickly became Brett's weapon of choice to disrupt a financial service industry's reign of self-serving mediocrity.
As a youth, Brett lived on his computer. He played games, posted on social media, even did a little bit of coding. Then one day, a teacher showed him an online account invested in Apple stock. The die was cast. Brett soon started trading stocks. He quickly graduated to stock options: a complicated, highly labor-intensive method of investing. He quickly discovered he wasn't just good; he was great at it. Before he could even qualify for a driver's license, Brett made $15,000 on a single biotech trade. He used the funds to travel: New York, Vegas, Europe. Suddenly he had access to hedge fund managers, authors and celebrities.
Brett's reputation grew. First among his relatives who lassoed him to trade their stocks and later on Twitter where he was fast building a reputation as an investment wunderkind. While still in his prom years, Brett started an investing website focused on the biotech industry. The website amassed to a community of over 6,000 traders/investors looking to benefit from his insight. Business Insider magazine added him to their coveted 20 Under 20 list: Meet the Teen Traders Trying to Take Over the Finance World, a pantheon of superlative investing achievement.
While studying (what else?) Finance at Loyola Marymount University, Brett was handed a piece of the school's endowment portfolio to invest and manage. Post-graduate doors were opening up for him. Goldman and other old school firms came sniffing around. But it was Ross Gerber, CEO and rising disruptive force in finance who won Brett's talent. Founded in response to the excesses of The Financial Crisis, Gerber Kawasaki was the perfect match for Brett's upstart skills.
But it was something else that stood out to Gerber. No one was going to find this Disruptor in the break room, honing ping pong skills between sips of Red Bull. Sifling possessed an iron work ethic. He had created a discipline that demanded he improve himself every day. Never played ukulele before? So what. Sit down and learn it. Too finance focused? He spent a month in Israel picking up an Archaeology minor for a liberal arts balance. Twitter starts percolating at 5AM? Brett has likely downed a cup of joe, meditated and completed a workout before answering investor questions in his feed, which has now grown to thousands of followers.